Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Dec 2012 16:30 UTC
In the News "So sprawling is Samsung's modern-day empire that some South Koreans say it has become possible to live a Samsung-only life: You can use a Samsung credit card to buy a Samsung TV for the living room of your Samsung-made apartment on which you'll watch the Samsung-owned pro baseball team. Samsung is South Korea's greatest economic success, and, more recently, the subject of major controversy. Economists, owners of small- and medium-size businesses, and some politicians say Samsung no longer merely powers the country but overpowers it, wielding influence that nearly matches that of the government." Campaign contributions, moles in political offices and chambers, this Samsung stuff - this is what happens when companies are left unchecked. It's cute if you think this only happens in Korea. Much of it all is legal, but that doesn't make it right.
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Comment by neticspace
by neticspace on Mon 10th Dec 2012 16:55 UTC
neticspace
Member since:
2009-06-09

As a person living in South Korea, it's very sad to see Samsung's nasty rise. Lee Myung-bak (South Korea's corrupt president) is the main culprit of making Samsung into a mega-monster that literally disrupted the world market in electronics. For anyone interested, he also made policies that destroyed South Korea's software industry.

This is why I'm a devoted LG fan. Compare to the less controversial LG, Samsung is a very unethical company that is supported by the sketchiest South Korean conservative politicians and financial authorities.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Comment by neticspace
by Richard Dale on Tue 11th Dec 2012 14:58 UTC in reply to "Comment by neticspace"
Richard Dale Member since:
2005-07-22

For anyone interested, he also made policies that destroyed South Korea's software industry..


I'm interested in why you think Samsung destroyed South Korea's software industry. I'm working in Seoul at the moment, and when I've talked to Korean programmers you find Linux skills aren't as valued as they might be. And there doesn't seem much support from the government or universities for Free Software.

I think they need a 21st century King Sejong to get things moving. Sejong the Great wanted the people of Korea to be literate and so he invented their writing system 'Hangul' which is still in use today 500 years later. Free Software is the Hangul of today in that it allows ordinary people to be literate, not just the elite who can learn Chinese or afford expensive and closed programming environments such as those from Microsoft. The Korean people have a lot of potential - I mean they've just unleashed "Psy' and 'Gangnam Style' - if only they could do something similar in software..

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by neticspace
by zima on Mon 17th Dec 2012 15:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by neticspace"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Free Software is the Hangul of today in that it allows ordinary people to be literate, not just the elite who can learn Chinese or afford expensive and closed programming environments such as those from Microsoft.

Yeah, the horrors of gratis MS Visual Studio Express or XNA... or how the Wintel ecosystems brought powerful & inexpensive hardware, to be used in your *nix workstation.
(plus, people most likely pirate MS Windows more than they use open source operating systems ...people want Windows)

The Korean people have a lot of potential - I mean they've just unleashed "Psy' and 'Gangnam Style' - if only they could do something similar in software..

OK, now we know you joke...

Reply Score: 2

The Repulic of Samsung
by shotsman on Mon 10th Dec 2012 16:59 UTC
shotsman
Member since:
2005-07-22

I've been thinking for some time that Samsung are getting too big. They are into pretty well everything and for the Apple Haters, they are significant players in far more tech areas than Apple.

I have bought some Samsung products in the past but now, I actively shop for alternatives. If Samsung continues to grow and dominate more tech areas then there will be less choice and innovation for everyone.

We have had the Microsoft Monopoly for years but I get the distinct feeling the a Samsung Monopoly would be even worse. If they can control the SK (And possibly other) Governments then the 'Company State' will be a thing of the present rather than something in SF stories.

Reply Score: 4

RE: The Repulic of Samsung
by ronaldst on Mon 10th Dec 2012 17:11 UTC in reply to "The Repulic of Samsung"
ronaldst Member since:
2005-06-29

Success isn't the problem. It's the violence.

Reply Score: 3

We may draw a parallel here...
by drcoldfoot on Mon 10th Dec 2012 17:01 UTC
drcoldfoot
Member since:
2006-08-25

This is nothing new. They're merely following suit to how Apple, Microsoft, the RIAA, and MPAA operate in the U.S.

Reply Score: 2

earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Uh, no. By that logic, every small business whose owner sits on a chamber of commerce and hobnobs with local politicians is a corrupt kleptocrat.

Microsoft et al. never commanded 28.2% of US exports, nor have I ever heard anyone claim that "Microsoft owns the entire US government". A more appropriate analogy might be to Standard Oil, and even then I don't really know.

Scale matters.

Reply Score: 4

Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

It used to happen on a smaller scale in "company towns". Some towns are still like that where one company is largely responsible for the vast majority of the economic activity. When they shut down, the town pretty much dies.

Reply Score: 6

Adurbe Member since:
2005-07-06

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bournville

an example of just such a town in the uk. The worry is how much bigger Samsung are.

Reply Score: 4

Internal Matter
by sisora on Mon 10th Dec 2012 17:46 UTC
sisora
Member since:
2011-08-26

I still think its internal matter of South Korea and again Samsung overwhelming that country might not have significant impact on the overall tech industry. Samsung's recent surge can be attributed to smartphone and without Google's android on those smartphones they wouldn't have succeeded to this extent.

Reply Score: 2

now to big to fail?
by Adurbe on Mon 10th Dec 2012 18:05 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

If the company suffered an enron style collapse then it would not just have a knocks on effect on the IT industry (all their fabs and the like) but would probably bring Korea itself to its knees which would in turn hammer the whole regions economies...

and there was i thinking it was only banks that were "to big to fail"

Reply Score: 2

Growing like a cancer?
by orfanum on Mon 10th Dec 2012 21:43 UTC
orfanum
Member since:
2006-06-02

Samsung also seems to have an increasing reputation for bad health and safety practices in its component factories:

http://thethreewisemonkeys.com/2012/09/02/cancer-death-and-samsungs...

But before we turn this into another 'Let's bash Koreans' fest - this is going on worldwide: the computer I am typing on, your smartphone, all require these parts.

Frankenstein didn't create himself. No monster ever does, entirely.

Orf

Reply Score: 3

RE: Growing like a cancer?
by zima on Mon 17th Dec 2012 14:08 UTC in reply to "Growing like a cancer?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Frankenstein didn't create himself. No monster ever does, entirely.

Ultimately, a reflection of who we people of this planet are...

Reply Score: 2

complicit government?
by bnolsen on Mon 10th Dec 2012 23:04 UTC
bnolsen
Member since:
2006-01-06

Takes two to tango. If anything the government is worse than samsung allowing themselves to be run around and corrupted. Or politicians just get a free pass and blame it all on the evil capitalists? The buck stops at the politicians. If the government doesn't have very much power there's not as much to corrupt and it doesn't affect as many people.

Edited 2012-12-10 23:05 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: complicit government?
by zima on Fri 14th Dec 2012 21:01 UTC in reply to "complicit government?"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Ultimately, governments are also reflections of their populations (from where do you think people forming govs come?)

Reply Score: 2

Its not just tech...
by jerkofalltrades on Tue 11th Dec 2012 00:35 UTC
jerkofalltrades
Member since:
2012-12-11

Samsung is also a major contractor in construction in South East Asia. We seem to recognize them here mainly in electronics and appliances (which is mammoth on it's own). But they have there hands into all kinds of industries, they also build heavy construction equipment as well.

When taking into account that there products and services branch almost into every sector of life. They've been very successful cutting down major players as well as small fries in the industry.

Reply Score: 2

Yeah, you better watch out...
by Soulbender on Tue 11th Dec 2012 07:02 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

....for the Yellow Peril.

Reply Score: 5

Nationalize
by spiderman on Tue 11th Dec 2012 19:27 UTC
spiderman
Member since:
2008-10-23

Samsung is way too important in South Korean economy to let it fail. On the other hand, Samsung will abuse its position and demmand anything from the state that makes a positive change on its bottom line, regardless of the consequences.
There is one solution to fix this problem without any negative effect: nationalize it. This solution has only benefits. It will generate very confortable revenue that can be used to lower the taxes on everyone, it will make Samsung more responsible with regards to the long term effects of its decision on the population and it will give a free hand to the government to rescue it when it is in trouble.
Here is how this should happen:
1. Confiscate Samsung and declare it property of the state, without any compensation to the current owners.
2. Send the owners to jail, as they deserve.
3. Use Samsung's profits to improve the roads, schools, hostitals, etc... and a tiny bit of it to sustain the old owners in jail (like €500/month or something).
In my opinion, this is the best way to fix the current slippy slope that Samsung is creating.
I believe Nokia should also be nationalized BTW, but differently and for different reasons.
Of course, some people will cry communist but they don't have any argument to support their witch hunting, so they should just be ignored until they can put up a coherent argument for discussion.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Nationalize
by Soulbender on Wed 12th Dec 2012 03:07 UTC in reply to "Nationalize"
Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

There is one solution to fix this problem without any negative effect: nationalize it.

Because having corrupt government officials running Samsung would be an immense improvement...

It will generate very confortable revenue that can be used to lower the taxes on everyone,


Does South-Korea has unusually high tax pressure or something?

Of course, some people will cry communist

Communist!!
Seriously though, I think there are things that should be "nationalized" (healtcare, education etc) but electronics & phone manufacturing is not one of them.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nationalize
by zima on Wed 12th Dec 2012 17:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Nationalize"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Seriously though, I think there are things that should be "nationalized" (healtcare, education etc)

So you're saying that parts (I guess) of Samsung should be nationalised after all? ;p

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Nationalize
by spiderman on Wed 12th Dec 2012 18:51 UTC in reply to "RE: Nationalize"
spiderman Member since:
2008-10-23

"There is one solution to fix this problem without any negative effect: nationalize it.

Because having corrupt government officials running Samsung would be an immense improvement...
"
Yes, actually.
The government officials are indeed corrupt and I condemn that but corruption is measured against their mission. Their mission is to do their job of governing the state in the best interest of their citizens. They fail at their mission when they are corrupt and act in their own self interest but even when they fail they have to pretend it was the interest of the citizens. They always have to pretend to care about their mission.
On the other hand, the mission of the governors of Samsung as a private corporation is to maximize profits. It does not include the interests of the people. They can freely stomp on the people and they don't have to pretend anything.
So yes, I believe a corrupt government official is better than even an honest private governor.

"It will generate very confortable revenue that can be used to lower the taxes on everyone,


Does South-Korea has unusually high tax pressure or something?
"
Not unusual but less taxes is better than usual taxes. Lowering taxes is always a good thing, provided the state can afford it, which it could if it were getting Samsung dividends.

"Of course, some people will cry communist

Communist!!
Seriously though, I think there are things that should be "nationalized" (healtcare, education etc) but electronics & phone manufacturing is not one of them.
"
Agreed but look at what is Samsung. They could always sell the electronics division. Samsung is a behemoth. The rules of the free market do not apply to Samsung since long ago. It does not make sense anymore to keep it private. It is responsible for roughly 1 third of South Korea's exports and even more of its economy. The justifications for it to be private are no longer valid. It is now part of the government already, except it is ruled by a handful of people.

Edited 2012-12-12 18:55 UTC

Reply Score: 2