The Pursuit of Well-Being
Coda
There is no singular unity to which the name “liberalism” refers:
rather, there are as many liberalisms as there are procedures for
identifying contexts in which the governmental promotion of free
interaction is to be preferred. . . . In practice, however, while they
differ, sometimes vehemently, over points of detail, it is not difficult
to group the many different liberalisms into a number of distinctive
streams which divide and recombine as they meander through the
infested marshlands of modern history. By far the most influential
of these streams have passed over the fertile soils of enlightenment
rationalism and remain coloured by the historicist and developmen-
tal view that the greater part of humanity remained in considerable
need of improvement. It is here that we find the laissez-faire liberal-
ism of the market; the new or social liberalism of the late nineteenth
century and its welfarist progeny; the various national liberalisms,
all of which favoured state intervention to control the effects of
market relations; and the imperial and anti-imperial liberalisms of
the colonial era.
Barry Hindess, “Liberalism: What’s in a Name?”
T
he historical particularity of the Asian Debt Crisis in conjunction with
the Kim Dae Jung presidency propelled an intensification of the liberal
ethos and a neoliberal political economy in various levels and domains
in South Korean society, from government policies to NGO activities to
individual decision making. While the crisis had a disastrous impact on
people’s lives due to loss of employment and income, the material im-
pact and discourse of the crisis also facilitated the introduction of the
neoliberal welfare principles of employability, rehabilitation capacity, and
flexibility as the optimal way to induce unemployed people to join in the
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