Recently, I was invited to speak at a conference called the Europe-Korea Conference on Science & Technology. As the name suggests the conference comprised of discussions and debates on scientific and technological advancements and scientific collaborations between Europe and South Korea. Nonetheless, the most stimulating debate that I was privileged to be a part of was on the reasons behind South Korea’s advancements as an economic power. This intrigued me to ask myself a question as to what scenarios, challenges, opportunities made South Korea a successful country. But then if we need to learn from how others have achieved their success we need to analyze our situation and compare it with to their situation. While, there might be a lot of factors contributing to South Korea’s success, however, I believe there must be one leading cause. A cause that acts like the Achilles heel. Safeguarding which can make one invincible, whereas, compromising which makes one absolutely vulnerable. In order to investigate and find out the fundamental reason primarily responsible for South Korea’s success, I compared some key scenarios and indicators of South Korea with those of Pakistan. South Korea is as young as Pakistan, has a population density twice that of Pakistan’s and has 15 percent less fresh water resources. From that one could envisage that Pakistan has been in a much better locus or has had more growth opportunities than South Korea. As opposed to that Pakistan’s GDP per capita is 20 times less than that of South Korea. It has a literacy rate of 60 percent compared to South Korea’s 99 percent literacy rate. Pakistan imports 50 times less than South Korea, which might not have been as significant of an issue if it had comparable exports, however, its exports are 30 times less than that of South Korea’s. Numerically speaking Pakistan exports goods are equivalent to only $ 11 billion compared to South Korea’s $ 520.5 billion. Many may argue that the lack of literacy and skills as indicated numerically are the reasons that translate to poor performance in GDP per capita, imports and exports. However, I believe there is a more profound difference between South Korea and Pakistan apart from literacy and skills, which is taking South Korea so far ahead of Pakistan. I did not completely neglect the fact that literacy and skills may be contributing a lot to the performance disparity between the two countries, however, even before literacy and skills there must be more significant factors that are responsible for high or low literacy and skills levels. In short, I believe that the high literacy rate 99 percent is not the Achilles Heel for South Korea’s success for there ought to be a more fundamental and a broader reason, something that is lifting the human capital. One of the major contributors to a country’s economy is its actively contributing human capital. For example more than 90 percent of South Korea’s population uses Internet on a daily basis compared to only about 18 percent of Pakistan’s. Let alone the fact that among this 18 percent, a lot of them use the Internet for utterly unproductive stuff. Most of today’s businesses are done online, therefore, use of Internet directly reflects upon generating income. Therefore, the use of Internet indicates the contribution of people to their country’s growth. In the use of Internet, Pakistan is also doing poorly compared to the world average, which is about 46 percent. Countries with a low life expectancy tend to show a decrease in growth and economic prosperity than the ones with a higher life expectancy. The life expectancy of people of South Korea is 82 years, whereas, that of Pakistan is only 66, which is 6 years lower than the world average. In short a South Korean, besides being more educated and skilled than a Pakistani, contributes to its country’s economy for at least 16 years more than a Pakistani Nonetheless, even before the adaptability of a country’s population to modern tools of income generation, such as Internet, the life expectancy of people plays a major role in a country’s growth. Countries with a low life expectancy tend to show a decrease in growth and economic prosperity than the ones with a higher life expectancy. The life expectancy of people of South Korea is 82 years, whereas, that of Pakistan is only 66, which is 6 years lower than the world average. In short a South Korean, besides being more educated and skilled than a Pakistani, contributes to its country’s economy for at least 16 years more than a Pakistani. Therefore, healthy, well-educated, skilled and long-lived people bring prosperity. The well being of South Korea’s human capital to me has been its Achilles Heel, the most fundamental difference between South Korea and Pakistan, and it is the reason for the vast disparity in performance indicators of the two countries. If we take South Korea as an example then Pakistan’s progress is deeply rooted in the prosperity and well being of its people. We should learn from countries like South Korea that our first and foremost priority should be health, education and the social well being of the people. The author is a Scientist at the University of Cambridge. Prior to moving abroad he obtained his degree from GIK Institute in Pakistan where he was awarded two gold medals Published in Daily Times, October 21st 2018.