A Depressed Mood

Jean Chung / World Picture News for TIME

Quiet town: The scene in downtown Seoul on Sunday, Nov. 9

In South Korea, golf-club memberships are the ultimate status symbol among the country's newly rich. Limited in number, memberships in the most prestigious clubs trade like prized stocks and often reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. A year ago, the golf membership belonging to Kim Joo Hyong, the chief executive of a small trading firm, was worth $350,000. But as the shockwaves from the U.S. financial meltdown slammed into South Korea in September, Kim nervously watched cash-starved golfers dump their memberships on an Internet site that tracks their value, sending prices plummeting. The country, he became convinced, was about...

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