chapter
10 Pages

Farm Boy

ByAl Cho

My father came to Illinois to study agriculture, but he never intended to put down roots. Like many Koreans in the 1970s, he arrived with a simple plan: to obtain a degree in the United States and return to the motherland, where a diploma from a middling state university would turn magically into a ticket to a prestigious and stable future. A hard-nosed, economical people, Koreans risked the precious currency of their lives en masse, buying cheap and selling dear as they exported themselves to the land of opportunity for a couple of years to bring home the valuable technological knowledge of the West. This, not the technocratic narratives of Harvard economists, is the real story of the East Asian miracle.