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War fear panic is good for bunker salesmen in South Korea

In South Korea’s war panic economy, sales thrive on nuclear angst, USA Today Patrick Winn, Global  Aug. 23, 2018 Seoul is renowned for its stoicism in the face of potential war. At least that’s what we’re often told, that the majority of people in this city of 25 million can wake up to North Korean threats about immolation in a nuclear “sea of fire,” shrug and just go to work.

Even when Pyongyang was detonating nukes last fall  —  and President Donald Trump spoke of bringing “fire and fury” to their peninsula  —  polls suggested that roughly six in 10 South Koreans believed there was “no possibility” of war. (Even Americans living an entire ocean away appear more panicky over North Korean nukes than that.)

But what about those in South Korea who can’t shake an impending sense of doom? For that anxious minority, there is a marketplace offering to aid in their survival should North Korea ever unsheathe its self-proclaimed “nuclear sword of justice.”

Call it the war panic economy: a small industry selling all the stuff you might want on doomsday. Think gas masks, hazmat suits and emergency rations. Or, for the upper classes, your own personal bunker………..

 priciest bunker runs about $37,000. That buys a roughly 600-square-foot sanctum, complete with four beds, a sink trickling out purified water, an electrical system powered by a hand crank and an air purification system that can filter out radiation.

Imagine a small studio apartment with rounded steel walls, as in a submarine, with an entrance hatch that’s heavy as a bank-vault door. To make the bunker fully nuke-proof, he says, it must be buried underground and encased in cement.

“My clientele tend to be people in their 60s or older who might have memories of the war,” he says. “Often they want to provide bunkers to their sons or daughters.”

Those old enough to recall the aftermath of the Korean War can be forgiven for shivering at any mention of a redux. Between 1950 to 1953, parts on the peninsula were turned to veritable seas of fire, largely thanks to more than half a million American bombs.

As Curtis LeMay, the U.S. Air Force general overseeing the aerial campaign, put it:

“Over a period of three years, we killed off — what? — 20 percent of the population of Korea as direct casualties of war or from starvation and exposure.”

That these horrors exist within living memory might explain why some elderly Koreans feel especially jumpy over Pyongyang’s bombast — or aggressive tweets sent from the White House. Go has noticed that calls have spiked when either side makes threats.

But there is a flip side to this war panic economy. When fear runs hot, it thrives. But when peaceful vibes pervade, it practically collapses……..

Lee sells hundreds of items, all of which might prove handy in a world turned anarchic by nuclear or chemical attacks. Among his inventory: flare guns, attack batons, radiation detectors, four types of gas masks and, for the discriminating survivalist, emergency rations that taste like French Basque-style chicken stew. ………https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/08/23/south-koreans-prepare-north-korean-nuclear-attack/1074765002/

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August 25, 2018 - Posted by | business and costs, South Korea, weapons and war

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