In terms of rate and scope of change, South Korea remains one of the more fascinating economies in the world these days. Under their new President, Lee Myung-Bak, they have taken a very proactive approach to monetary and fiscal policy. This morning the Bank of Korea raised rates to an 8 year high of 5.25% in order to fight incipient inflation.
Lee was actually raised in Japan by his Christian mother. He was born in 1941, and didn't return to Korea until after the war in 1945. He attended Korea University, and was thrown in jail for demonstrating against the Korean President in 1964.
In 1965, Lee went on to a long successful business career at Hyundai, where he ultimately served as its Chairman, 27 years later.
After his corporate career, Lee entered political life and became the mayor of Seoul in 2002. Ultimately, he won the Presidential Election at the end of 2007, and is now running the country in as aggressive an economic style as we have seen from a legacy Asian economy in years.
He adheres to what he calls his "747" plan. The main aspirations within that plan are maintaining a +7% annual GDP growth rate until he reaches his goal to become the world's 7th largest economy.
What's most interesting to me about this man is his proactive management of the economy. Whether its firing his finance ministers, defending his currency, or moving aggressively to suppress domestic wage inflation, he is not sitting on his hands waiting for the economy to wag his tail.
Our Eyes are on Lee's South Korean embryonic test to expand capitalistically. The KOSPI Index has yet to flash a buy signal yet...
(dates, facts, etc cross referenced with www.wikipedia.com @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lee_Myung_Bak)