North Korea's Quiet Revolution

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In Asia Times, Andrei Lankov has a fascinating account of economic reform in the land of Kim Jong Il. By his telling, "What we have seen in North Korea over the past 10 years can be best described as collapse of what used to be rigid Stalinism from below. In the Soviet Union of the late 1950s and in China of the late 1970s, Stalinism-Maoism was dismantled from above, through a chain of deliberate reforms planned and implemented by the government. In North Korea the same thing happened, but the system disintegrated from below, despite weak and ineffectual attempts to keep it intact."

Needless to say, the process still has a long, long way to go.

[Via Lew Rockwell.]

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  1. This might explain in part the strange disappearance of “Dear Leader’s” picture in North Korea. Its also a pretty damn good defense of the notion that autoritarian or totalitarian regimes are generally better dealt with markets than guns.

  2. “Its also a pretty damn good defense of the notion that autoritarian or totalitarian regimes are generally better dealt with markets than guns.”

    Given that we don’t care if something happens in our lifetimes, I suppose. A lot of tyrants hang around for a looong time, and then another one takes their place.

  3. Jason Ligon,

    It would seem that most tyrants have been toppled by markets and “people power” movements than guns in the last hundred years.

  4. North Korea must be close to perfect in the eyes of someone like LoneWacko–I mean, they’ve gotta have close to zero illegal immigrants.

    …There’s the problem with people goin’ the other way , but, hey, at least when people leave, they don’t use any public services.

  5. “In The Asia Times, Andrei Lankov has a fascinating account of economic reform in the land of Kim Jong Il.”

    Umm, Jesse

    The word ‘reform’ is nowhere to be found in that account. You are way too Christian. It is time for the North Korean’s to kill ‘Dear Leader’, drag his corpse through street, and spit on it.

    A reformation and enlightenment may or may not follow. But first steps first.

  6. The word ‘reform’ is nowhere to be found in that account.

    The word “reform” is in the piece three times including:

    “The much-trumpeted reforms of 2002 by and large were hardly anything more than the admission of the situation that had been existing for a few years by then.”

    You seem to be suggesting that Walker in some way mischarachterized the piece, and I don’t see any evidence of that.

    However, if you’re suggesting that either the piece or Walker’s charachterization of it were in some way sympathetic to North Korea’s leadership, then I do see evidence suggesting that you’re delusional.

  7. Actually, they’ve had a couple of illegal immigrants, one of whom ended up with a pretty interesting story to tell:
    http://www.time.com/time/asia/magazine/article/0,13673,501041213-880313,00.html

  8. Ever since I read Asimov’s “Foundation” it seems clear to me that, in the end, tyrants and closed societies will crumble under market forces. He did get that right, and he wrote the first novel in the 1940’s.

  9. It would seem that most tyrants have been toppled by markets and “people power” movements than guns in the last hundred years.

    Interesting question. I suspect the ratio is closer to even, but it is often necessary to contain tyrants with guns so that markets can do their work.

  10. I like markets AND guns (not to mention markets for guns, but that is a different thread). Getting people to choose to fight for freedom can be an effect of market exposure. Getting people the ability to fight generally requires guns. Digging out an entrenched internal security apparatus requires many, many guns.

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