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North Korea is teetering

Via The Corner, I found this very informative pdf on current conditions in North Korea. It paints a very believable picture of a Stalinist state rotting from below. I think most people's perception of North Korea is that it is a perfect totalitarian state, ruthlessly efficient (in it's ruthlessness, not in actually producing anything) and in complete control of its dispirited population. But in reality, the machinery of state is now a sham, and most of the economy -- as well as the culture -- moves through unofficial channels. This transformation was underway for some time, but the famine in the late '90s accelerated it. People were forced to become illegal entrepeneurs -- just to survive. Those true believers who depended on the state to feed them... died.

In such a situation, the ability and willingness to engage in private business
became a major guarantee of one’s physical survival. As one local observer described the situation in post-famine North Korea: "Those who could not trade are long dead, and we are only left with survivors hanging around
Small 'garden plots' are seen all over North Korea now. I'm sure the food is organic and the methods used are very sustainable -- I wonder when David Suzuki will head over there to make a documentary about this 'revolution'.


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