Ready to Leave the Old Time: North Korea Wants to Follow China's Path. but Will George W Bush Let It Do So?

By Ford, Glyn | New Statesman (1996), October 27, 2003 | Go to article overview

Ready to Leave the Old Time: North Korea Wants to Follow China's Path. but Will George W Bush Let It Do So?


Ford, Glyn, New Statesman (1996)


In the middle of Pyongyang's high-rise apartments, the Tong-il market is buzzing. Thousands of North Koreans haggle and buy goods. On offer are fresh meat and dried fish, Spanish oranges and North African dates, suits, skirts, shoes, light bulbs, computer parts--and embroidered armbands that declare the wearer an engine driver, controller of machines or captain of guards.

This is a country where one in eight people (three million) died in a famine just a few years ago. The People's Distribution Centres, it was recognised, could no longer provide for the population's basic needs, particularly in the urban areas. As a result, there emerged farmers' markets, barely tolerated by the authorities and well off-limits to foreigners, where food was traded for cash or kind.

Since then the climate has changed. Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader, toured China in May 2000 and January 2001 to view the economic miracle. He has seen the future and its works. "We should transcend the old working style and fixed economic framework of other countries in old time," came the order--showing that North Korea is ready to break with Soviet-style state socialism and to learn from other countries.

North Korea wants to leap several stages of technology and move straight to IT. Elite institutions such as the Moranbong Secondary School No. 1 are training groups of outstanding students in computer skills. Small business is everywhere and the volume of consumer goods is increasing; the urban centres have a litter of new stalls on their streets and every mile or so, even on rural roads, they make a colourful appearance.

However, at least for a while, this will be a market without privatisation. As the vice-chairman of the state planning commission explained, the state will continue to own the means of production. But the people to whom it lends the factories, the co-operative farms and so on will have a responsibility to maximise profitability from the enterprises. How the profits are to be used is less clear. Spending in Tong-il suggests an emerging middle class.

North Korea has bought into reform but has not matched it with Chinese-style openness. One reason is that, with President Bush's "axis of evil" label tied around its neck, it cannot attract inward investment from any but the most buccaneering chancers, or South Korean "family". Too much money is chasing too few goods. Inflation runs at 30 per cent and rather than stimulating indigenous production North Korea is sucking in imports.

In July 2002, a monetary reform packaged devalued the won fortyfold and raised wages by a similar proportion. But wages were also more sharply differentiated to provide incentives. So North Korea is now in danger of creating an underclass of roughly three million people. This underclass will find it increasingly difficult to survive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Ready to Leave the Old Time: North Korea Wants to Follow China's Path. but Will George W Bush Let It Do So?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.