Henry Em based his claim on the theory of indigenous development, which was based on capitalism, arguing that it failed to take care of the interest of the individual nation (‘minjok’). The nation is the center of his focus because the people are severely affected by bad political ideologies, which impede development growth. Moreover, Em argued that the nation should as the modern construction. In addition, he emphasized the nation should be viewed as an imaginary entity that is formed by nationalists. He was against the capitalism ideology that had been witnessed in England, and argued that the same was finding roots at the time of the Choson Dynasty. As a result, Em made a proposal for post-nationalist history to be enhanced among the nations (Em 2).
Henry Em would consider the arguments, which the proponents of post-nationalist history consider as a stronger explanation and a better approach. In addition, he would establish whether the strategies in this school of thought are workable or not sustainable so that his findings do not contravene the nationalist and development concepts. Therefore, the approach used in determining the development playground for the nations have to consider the most appropriate political ideology. In this case, the researcher would ascertain whether the approaches used in discussing nationalism present the issues relevant to political development. In essence, the manner in which such issues are addressed determines the strengths of the argument. The researcher would consider the extent to which nationalism integration is addressed because it contributes to the strength of the nation through creating competitive economic leverage.
It seems that Henry Em was advancing his argument towards communism ideology since he was strongly against the capitalist development agenda. However, he failed to realize that limitations of the communism ideology. For example, the risk of persistent violent conflict on issues related to resource allocation and utilization because in communism, the compressive ownership lacks practical meaning. Perhaps, it is the persistency of the conflicts during communism that led to the cold war. Besides, when the cold war ended during the onset of liberal democracy, it marked the beginning of a better future for the people.
Henry Em thought that nationalism through communism was the only way for the country to achieve coherency. Therefore, he believed mainly in the post-nationalist history as the means of promoting liberal democracy to the majority. In this view, it seemed that capitalism had lost its meaning and relevance in the country as it could not propel the practicing nation to economic and political advancement. Em seemed to have a mixed perception about the conceptual framework that the government perceives as the contingents and essentials of post-nationalist history.
He addressed the presumptive end of nationalism, which could be termed as the last option to end the claims on the theory of indigenous development. This was attributed to the success of Western political and economic liberalism thus prompted other countries, such as Korea to emulate the systems of government (Chan-Seung 12).
Strength and Weaknesses of Em’s Proposal
Even though, Henry Em’s critique on the theory of indigenous development, which found its roots in the capitalism ideology, there are several economic issues that were not fully explored. One issue with Em's on the theory of indigenous development theory is that the results may not applicable to specific nations or events. In addition, although Em's results are categorized by country, often there is more than one cultural group within that country. In these cases there may be significant deviations from the study's results. An example is Canada, where the majority of English speaking population and the minority French speaking population in Quebec have moderate cultural differences and development ideologies.
Moreover, Em's theory is not the only way to build the most viable and modern development agenda that can facilitate competitive advantage for an international trade. Besides, his critique has failed to focus on the importance of acquiring and using knowledge, which enhance development among the nations. For instance, this can be attained by highlighting the significance of watching for trends in the market in order to become aware of any regional changes before its competitors do. As a result, this would require a proposal that multi-nationals shift production to countries of low economic development, especially the exchange-rates as well as using lessons learnt in one country to their advantage.
Nevertheless, Em’s theory provides a useful tool to help control the negotiating results, facilitates the ease of successful relationships, which is one of the three main sources of successful development and nationalism. It would be able to realize the development ideological and cultural differences between nations. Arguably, in analyzing the nationalism versus the development of a nation, the realization of human potential and ideology cannot be ignored, but it is rather unfortunate that Henry Em failed to incorporate these essential elements in his study.
There are strong connections between the realization of human potential and ideology, since the realization of human potential and the decision of an individual to adapt to the economic, social, and political roles are all guided by ideologies. Societies exert an enormous pressure on their nations towards conformation to different guidelines and social roles. One of the significant areas where restrictions exercised in the two societies involves ideology. In essence, society allows for some room for self expression for its nations. Nevertheless, the scope of self expression in the country is limited to individual levels. As such, the political decisions and actions are considered to be above the scope of the common nations.
Ideology in the two counties is so internalized that it is difficult for the common nations or individuals to be aware of it. The nation is raised to the levels of some supreme system that is guided by unique ethical principles and is very difficult for an individual to notice when the various ethical principles and values are imposed on him or her. The development ideology is often explicit, such that the nations are conditioned to behave in particular ways for the benefit of the whole country, and the political elites whose rules defined and dictated the benefits. Therefore, the difficulty for an individual to realize his or her full human potential is as a result of the social conditioning, which is so great that he/she does not view himself as an individual, but believes that he/she is always part of the country. However, the situation in countries is different and more favorable, though not apparently. Nevertheless, the ideology that guides people within a country is so strong that no individual is able to notice it, even if the room for questioning of the system may seem to be available.
Summing up, the limitations on the realization of human potential in Korea, for example, can be categorized into two: first, there is the limitation that is promoted by the influence or the power of the state, which tends to hinder any form of development or change that goes against the ideologies that are supported by the nations. The second limitation is linked to the notion of perfection that is imposed on individuals in a country. The state is so rigid that it is very difficult to assert individual potentiality when the state requirements, guidelines, and notions are at stake. The personal ideologies, goals, and meaning in life are never dependent on the development of individual human potentialities, but in the state policies.