Losing Traction

Illustrations for TIME by Alex Nabaum

The developing world has had no shortage of dictators who made lofty promises to uplift the poor and build powerful nations. Few ever delivered. But then there is South Korea's Park Chung Hee. A general who took control of South Korea after a coup in 1961, he ruled, often with an iron fist, for 18 years. Yet he was also deeply moved by South Korea's destitution. In the early 1960s, the country's per capita national income was just over $100 and the economy depended on American aid. Park, a virulent nationalist, vowed to do something about this. "I had...

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