S. Korean Econoblogger Jailed for Getting it Right

by Bruce Webb
(UPDATE: this piece was not drawing any attention so I decided to move it under the fold and save some screen space. But the headline tells the story. He predicted the global slowdown and some specific events in S. Korea and got hauled away in handcuffs. Details below.)
Prescient Young Blogger Did What S. Korea Couldn’t — Foresee Global Financial Crisis

He had been a so-so student who studied communications at a so-so junior college in a backwater town south of Seoul. Thirty-one years old and single, he spent much of his time alone in his room. As his father noted, “He can’t even get a job.”

But he knew a global economic smack-down when he saw one.

Minerva saw it coming last fall, far earlier and with far more acuity than the South Korean government, which his blog has humiliated and angered.

Besides getting mad, the government got even. In a move widely perceived by the public as a chilling echo of the 1970s, when a military dictatorship ruled South Korea, the government detained Park this month, invoking a seldom-used telecommunications law that charges him with harming the public by spreading “false rumors.”

Yet Minerva (no one knew him as Park until police raided his house Jan. 7) made his reputation by spreading rumors that turned out to be all too true.

He predicted the collapse of Lehman Brothers five days before it happened. He predicted a sharp decline in the value of South Korea’s currency a few days before the won imploded against the dollar.

By the time he was taken away from his computer in handcuffs, he was a cyber-sensation. His blog had garnered more than 40 million page views (there are 48 million people in this well-wired country). He was lionized in the South Korean news media as the “online oracle” and the “Internet president of the economy.”

Well I doubt that any Angry Bear needs to fear being locked up. On the other hand for the paranoids among us I follow up on this with a blog post at my site. Because Sec 802 of the Patriot Act if read broadly enough can criminalize pretty much anything. Dean Baker needs to watch his back.

(Memo to Dan. Being widely read and piling up page views doesn’t always pay. At least not in ‘democratic’ S. Korea.)