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Econ Essay: The Influence of Economics and Trade in Italy and South Korea on Human Rights

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For almost two centuries people have been thinking more and more about the economic aspect of the development of the state and the world as a whole, realizing that this is the main mission of each country. Previously, it was believed that the state should be developed in isolation, for example, the policy of the USSR towards other states, as a self-reliant socialist state. With the advent of globalization (the worldwide integration in economic, social and cultural aspects) the concept of foreign economic policy has changed dramatically. Nowadays, the borders no longer limit the economic actions of the state, cooperation is becoming the status quo in the world arena. The econ terms of cooperation are trade – is a set of economic relations based on regular exchange operations between producers of goods (services) and consumers.

In the 21st century, an inescapable part of economic relations between states plays trade. We cannot say that trade appeared a certain number of years ago. It has always existed, and day after day it continues to appear in many cities, countries, people, goods and services. Many parties create economic unions with each other to promote more efficient development of their economies, which is beneficial for both sides.

The modern market must also be a powerful engine of the scientific and technical progress, a mechanism for growth and development of production. The fast introduction of the market in the country makes it possible to put this mechanism at the service of our welfare and helps to reveal the abilities of each person. Undoubtedly, trade is a complex mechanism and has a complicated structure, including competition and obstruction as its integral parts.

With the advent of globalization and the development of economic factors in most countries, a large number of people in power, chasing the palm tree at the global economic level to forget about the social problems of society, which periodically leads to the violation of fundamental rights of the individual. But the main question is what are human rights? These are the opportunities for a person to live a decent life. Human rights are divided into two parts: freedom and rights. Freedom is the absence of restrictions on a person and their ability to act as they see fit. Realization of freedoms does not depend on the resources of the state, on the level of social and economic development of the country. And rights are such opportunities of a person that can be realized only if the state, organizations or individuals fulfill their duties. Our rights and freedoms have their own features: rights and freedoms are absolute; the state does not give them to people because they belong to a person from birth ; human rights belong to a person in general and regardless of time and space.

The International Declaration of Human Rights defines 4 subtypes of human rights:

Universal – rights that belong to human beings everywhere regardless of race, religion, gender and other differences that they cannot be removed;

Fundamental – ones that cannot be removed;

Indivisible – civic and political rights, economic, social and cultural rights are interrelated and co-equal in importance;

Absolute – rights belonging to a citizen (legal entity) regardless of anyone who should not be violated by anyone.

In any case, the culprit will be punished for violation of human rights in accordance with those prescribed by UDHR. On December 10, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted and the text of it is the first global definition of the rights of all human beings. It is an officially signed document that defines the fundamental rights of each individual (applies only to those countries that have officially signed) and defines who is the guarantor of the enjoyment and exercise of human rights.

The country’s economic situation and further development are closely linked to the rules and freedoms of each individual, and therefore make economic development impossible without respect for fundamental human rights. But on the other hand, this thesis does not necessarily apply to all countries, but when speaking of a politically developed country in our world, it should be mentioned that there is no democratic society without respect for any human rights and freedoms.

Economic development and human rights undoubtedly find a direct point of contact, specifically in the political system. The modern economic system, like the democratic system, is created not for itself, but for society. This means that not a human being exists for the state but a state for a human being.

The laws of the state are not for the purpose of restricting human freedoms, but for ensuring the observance of rights and freedoms of each person, for increasing happiness and wealth of each person. It means that it is not the GDP that is important, but the wealth of each individual person is significant…If we take as a starting point the human rights, the answers to many pressing questions of the modern econ will become obvious. And it will become clear in what direction they should be addressed, which vector should be the solution of these issues, in full accordance with the concern for GDP, economic freedoms, human happiness and ‘wealth of peoples’. And if human rights are fully respected, happiness and improved standards of living will arise, which will lead to the improvement of the social point of view of the state, which is one of the most important factors of development in the modern world. However, these concepts do not always positively cooperate with each other.

Modern econ development in the world has led to the fact that the state is only interested in producing goods that will benefit them in the future, neglecting the rights and freedoms of their citizens. With the advent of the market, this problem became even more acute and a pressing issue in modern society. Market relations have turned the countries into predators for profitable transactions, thus converting the free society of consumers into the ‘slave’ power of the system, when all efforts are aimed at achieving only economic goals without paying attention to social progress of nations. As mentioned previously, GDP is not the only factor determining social progress. The government often forgets about its main mission towards its people, namely to act as a guarantor of their rights and freedoms not only in the world arena, but also at the domestic level.

Generally speaking this essay shows how economics and trade in such well known countries on the world arena like Italy and South Korea cooperates and influence human rights.

One of the countries presented in essay is a state located in the south of Europe in the central part of the Mediterranean, Italy or officially named as the Italian Republic, is occupying the Apennine peninsula, including such islands as Sicily, Sardinia and a number of smaller ones. The Italian Republic consists of 301,230 km2 and borders France, Austria, Slovenia and Switzerland and is surrounded by water on three sides. The population of Italy is more than 60 million people and most of them speak Italian, which is the official language of the country. Moving to the governance the country is a parliamentary republic according to the Constitution adopted in 1947. The head of state is the president, who is elected for a term of seven years at a joint session of the parliament with the participation of representatives of the regions. He performs representative functions and is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. The supreme legislative body of the country is the parliament, which consists of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives, elected for a term of five years. The executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, headed by the President. Before joining the European Union, the national currency was a lira, and after that it was replaced by the euro in 2002.

On the contrary is The Republic of Korea or unofficially South Korea, country located in East Asia, in the south of the Korean peninsula, with Seoul as its capital. In the north there is a land border with North Korea, as well as sea borders with China in the west and Japan in the eastern part. Korea is a democratic state with strong central power, and the head of state is the president and the supreme state authority is the unicameral National Assembly. In total, there are about 46 million people living in South Korea and the population density in the country in general is one of the highest in the world. The official language is Korean and the national currency is Korean Won. The Republic of Korea is a member of 52 international organizations, 16 of which are members of the United Nations, as well as many international non-governmental bodies.

From an economic point of view, South Korea’s economic development is significantly higher than that of developing countries and many developed capitalist countries. In terms of the production of certain types of industrial products, including high-tech ones, it has taken a leading position in the capitalist economy. In fact, this fact has largely contributed to its unusually rapid growth. Exports from this country are growing even faster. The fact is that, possessing high competitiveness, the manufacturing industry of South Korea is taking more and more intensive positions in the world market. The country has become the largest exporter of footwear, clothing, textiles, and is rapidly increasing the export of household electronic equipment, personal computers, computers, cars and other high-tech goods. At the same time, South Korea managed not only to find its niche in the world market, but also to push its competitors from among the developed capitalist countries.

However, the Italian econ is not inferior to its Korean competitor in terms of development, ranking ninth in the world in terms of economic development as a whole and it is already ahead of The Korean Republic in some economic terms. Compared to other developed countries, Italy is characterized by somewhat higher rates of post-war economic development, delayed industrialization, a higher share of light industry and agriculture, and an exceptional role for tourism.

A special, distinctive feature of Italy is a much greater participation of the state in the regulation of the economy than in other countries of the developed group. REF With the advent of the European Union, Italy began to lag behind in the economic and social spheres. This has led to problems with the budget, unemployment and many other factors that have a negative impact on the lives of people in Italy. On the one hand, these are only economic problems of the state, but as mentioned earlier, the economy is an important factor in the assessment of the life of the population. In order to assess the standard of living, indicators such as HDI and SPI should be considered. The UNDP Human Development Index (HDI) embodies human progress by bringing together health, education and income information in a single indicator. Measuring social progress (SPI) gives us an idea of how to translate economic gains into social and environmental benefits.

As regards to the economic situation in Italy, a great effect on them was made by The European which Italy joins back in 1951. As an alliance of countries that have close trade relations, The European Union has fundamentally changed the economic performance of Italy, which should have affected the social aspects of Italian life. And despite the fact that they are lagging behind economically in the European arena, social factors show the opposite, refuting the general opinion about the capitalist system of state management, where economic execution is the first priority for development, the Republic of Italy as a European phenomenon of a sufficiently high standard of living. According to SPI Italy highly ranked on 21 place through all world countries which seem to be decent level of development and social paradigm.

Nevertheless, in Italy, gender stereotypes are still deeply rooted, but not as explicit as they used to be. After accession to the EU and the start of SDG’s (Sustainable Development goals) and MDG’s (Millenium Development Goals), Italy has taken up these issues of gender inequality. Over the next 5 years, Italy has committed itself to increasing the number of women in the workplace, thus reducing the overall percentage of gender inequality in the labour market. But today, men still earn more than women, creating an unknown income, which leads to violations of basic human rights, since the violation of human rights on any grounds of race or sex is a direct violation of the UDHR.

Talking about gender inequality, men in Italy earn an average of 30,676 euros per year, while women earn 27,228 euros, so the wage gap is about 6%. This percentage is one of the lowest in the European Union, with an average wage gap of 16% between women and men in the EU. Italy is thus one of the leading countries in terms of gender equality in the labour market, which makes the country more attractive to the female public.

Also one of the most pressing problems in the Italian labour market is the problem of unemployment. Despite the high level of social aspects, there is a progressive unemployment rate in Italy, which is more relevant to the economic component of development. According to statistics, in February 2018, the overall unemployment rate in Italy reached 10.7 percent, which is 0.2 percent higher than in December. Especially numbers are high among young people, reaching 32.6 per cent overall.

According to the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), the number of people looking for a job is 2 million 746 thousand. Through youth in the 15-24 age group, 17.5 per cent of young people are seeking employment. Especially the rate jumps according to the location of the jobs when in the southern part of the country the unemployment rate is three times higher than in the north.

In fact, the youth unemployment rate is a consequence of the long and active integration into the European space, where the Schengen area makes it easier for people to go abroad to look for high-paid jobs rather than to stay at home and get a less favorable rate. Another aspect of high unemployment in Italy is the irrational distribution of the state’s budget money to social benefits (unemployment benefits), where the average Italian salary is about 1,789 euros per month and unemployment benefits can reach 1,314 euros, thus negatively affecting the desire of people to work even at minimum rates, as the forces invested exceed the wages.

In today’s world, unemployment is a problem for every country and Italy including, according to the figures and information presented earlier in this essay. Even protests against the resolution of problems of this nature are aggressively prejudiced by the authorities. A vivid example of this is the incident of October 19, 2013, when tens of thousands of people took part in demonstrations against unemployment, cutting social spending in the streets of the capital, Rome. In the course of the protest, 15 people were detained by force, and the police used rubber truncheons to detain the demonstrators. On the eve of the demonstration, five more activists received an administrative order to leave the city for three years.

In the part 1 of article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December in 1948, everyone has the right to work and protection against unemployment. And according to the data, presented situation illustrates that the Republic of Italy is in direct violation of the basic human rights to protection against unemployment and employment security.

Moving to South Korea, the situation of women’s rights and gender inequality in the South Caucasus is similarly and even worse than in Italian Republic. The Korean woman’s mission is to support her husband, raise her children and take care of her family’s well-being so that she can devote herself to her work. Despite the fact that Christianity and Buddhism dominate among the beliefs, South Korean society is still strongly influenced by the commandments of Confucianism, that has been brought by China, including the social model of the country: respect for older generations, respect for parents, patriarchy.

It is not easy for a modern woman to find a place in this model. One of the problems it brings is omission of women’ self-development, for example, in a working place. Until recently, around the early 1980s, the question about women employment after marriage even did not exist in Korea. Everyone was sure that a married woman could not and should not work even the women themselves. If a Korean woman worked before her marriage (which became common in the post-war period), a wedding necessarily meant that she was fired, not always voluntarily: until recently, in most firms, a woman was fired automatically after marriage.

Willingness to work overtime and devotion to the employer are the qualities of South Koreans that are believed to have contributed to the extraordinary economic breakthrough of South Korea. Over the past 50 years, the country has grown from a developing to one of the largest and most stable economies in the world. Even this notorious economic success has been able to entangle gender inequality, as it was largely due to low wages for factory workers, who were mostly women, except as previously specified, that all household chores had been done by women, which allowed men to go to work and not to think about anything but it.

The situation began to change fifteen to twenty years ago, with women themselves, namely young Korean women with higher education, being the main initiators of the change and striving for their own careers, incomes and lives. While In 1966 33% of primary school leavers continued their studies at the secondary level, 20% of secondary school graduates went on to higher education, and only 4% of female students entered higher education, and 99.5% of female students had already graduated from higher education in the early 2000s and 61.5% end university education. According to reports, 69.5% of Korean women received their bachelor’s degree in 2008.

Although in modern South Korea the principles of education are the same for boys and girls, after marriage and the birth of children, women’s career opportunities run out and they are essentially forced to stop working, and there are demands for equality, but then it turns out that women should return to active employment and bear the full burden of supporting their families. Even the notorious economic success has been able to accommodate gender inequality, as it is largely due to low wages of factory workers and the fact that women were the main labour force, in addition to the fact that, as previously clarified, all household chores were on them, which allowed men to go to work and not think about anything except it.

Even with the advent of the economic boom and active development in Korea in recent decades, women still remain in low-paying positions, such as secretary or assistant, thus humiliating themselves and suppressing their inner potential, they have to work in these positions in order to have at least some income. This is a huge challenge in the labour market, as it increases unemployment, which is a direct violation of the human right to make any decision or choice regardless of race or gender. 

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