|The UN global compact is an initiative that encompasses 15,000 companies across 160 countries. Its main goal is to advance human rights using the power of business. For the past 20 years, we have been witnessing a paradigm shift. Traditionally, the assumption was that what’s good for business is good for society. However, most companies I work with nowadays say that what’s good for society is good for business. This article looks at the Kaesong Industrial complex, a complex for business and companies set up in 2002, and asks the question of whether it can help foster human rights and peace between North and South Korea. The project has been halted since the use of nuclear weapons by North Korea, and the article grapples with what the best way forward is.|
|The main argument put forward is that, at its core, the conflict between North and South Korea is one over ideology and power. The leadership of North Korea sees itself as a revolutionary socialist state, and it is dedicated to keeping a tight grip over the country’s cultural life. However, North Korea also stands to benefit from the economic activity and stability provided by the Kaesong industrial complex. Therefore, it is important to develop the project and find a way to convince North Korean leadership of its value.|
The way forward outlined by the article rests upon an incremental denuclearization of North Korea. This process needs to happen one step at a time, without rush. The main benefit for North Korea’s leadership and Kin Jong Un would be that the country would be much more stable and easy to run if the leadership were to develop the life of its people, and provide them with decent employment and living conditions.
The article is based on three sources. First, it is a comprehensive literature review of writings about B4P and the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Second, documents published by international organizations like the UN, South Korean government agencies and the Kaesong Industrial complex foundation were reviewed. Third, interviews with South Korean business leaders and government officials were conducted.
The main limitation of this study is that it features no interviews from North Koreans. It creates a strong possibility of bias.
|Business as a potential peacemaker||This is a relatively new idea concerning the role of business in society, but it essentially means that businesses can have a positive role on fostering peace.|
|Seeking Peace is seeking Justice||he overarching theme of the article is that the goal is to create a more just society in North Korea, byt providing people with decen living conditions and jobs.|
Williams, F. O., Park, Y-S. S. (2019) “Business for Peace” (B4P): can this new governance paradigm of the United Nations Global Compact bring some peace and stability to the Korean peninsula? Asian Journal of Business Ethics, 8, 173-193.