Monday, February 05, 2007

Will Korea become a Brave New World?

Huxley envisaged a world where people made to fit their professions before they were born. Alphas given great pre- and post- natal care, specifically including nutrition and education, while Epsilons were deliberately deprived of oxygen and nutrients while still in the fetal stage. Alphas were tall, strong and intelligent and Epsilons were small, possibly stooped (I can't remember) and brain damaged.

From today's Joongang Daily, describing the North Korean situation:

“When pregnant women and infants are malnourished, the physical development of not only themselves but their children and grandchildren are influenced,” said Chang Nam-soo, professor of food and nutritional sciences at Ewha Womans University. “Their stunted physiques will be handed down through generations.”
Experts warned about the dangers faced by babies born to malnourished mothers. Such children are highly likely to suffer from a low immune capability, weakened physical, intellectual and scholastic abilities, a low labor productivity and a higher risk of geriatric diseases, they said.

The average height difference for North and South Korean men is 6.6 cm. In an interesting contrast, East Germans were two centimeters shorter than West Germans at reunification.

"Oh Brave New World,
That has such people in't!"

1 comment:

Joe in Korea said...

This is even more interesting when you factor in that in the three kingdom period, the people who lived in what is now North Korea were taller and generally bigger than the other two kingdoms. Not only are they now 6cm or so shorter than those in the south, but they started off being taller.