The North Korean Communist Economy
The North Korean economy has undergone a transformation in recent years. It is no longer a fully planned system, and instead operates through a mixed model based on party-state dominance, rent distribution, and commercially operated state firms. This transformation has allowed the regime to co-opt the expanding market to generate revenue and ensure special privileges for regime loyalists. Corruption has also become rampant, and plays a double role: supporting illegal commercial activities and redistributing profits to regime-friendly entities.
North Korea’s command (centralized) economy
The North Korean economy is a command economy, where the government controls the means of production and all economic decisions. The government also sets the priorities for economic development. Since 1954, the government has promulgated a series of national economic plans. Early plans placed a high priority on reconstruction and development of heavy industry. Later plans focused on resource exploitation and improving technology and infrastructure. In contrast, agricultural production was given very little attention until the 1970s and 1980s.
North Korea’s economy is divided equally between agriculture, industry, and services. Agriculture produces rice, corn, and soybeans, while industry produces electricity and iron and coal. Despite the economic crisis, North Korea has managed to operate businesses that cater to both the elite and the mass. In addition, the country has a 160-room hotel and an Internet service provider.
One of the biggest bottlenecks in North Korea’s economy is the energy sector. Historically, the country imported crude oil from the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries, but its supply of oil has steadily declined. By 1997, oil imports were down to less than four million barrels. Crude oil is used as a transportation fuel, so the sharp cutback has had critical consequences for the North Korean economy.
Despite this decline in production, North Korea is still producing record levels of energy. This can be attributed to its centralized planning and refusal to liberalize economic management. The recent announcement of the North Korean nuclear program triggered a major crisis in security. In response to the security crisis, the government has suspended all foreign fuel deliveries, making the conditions inside North Korea even worse. However, the North Korean regime still maintains its secrecy, resulting in a reclusive society.
The Juche ideology has a strange history in North Korea. It has often meant whatever the North Korean government wanted it to. In the 1950s, Pyongyang was a poor Marxist country, near the socialist superpowers of China and Russia. It did not want to alienate either of these two powerful states, and it could not fully embrace either Maoism or Stalinism.
The Juche ideology was based on a combination of Kim Il Sung’s personal experience and deep-rooted Korean cultural traditions. The Juche ideology promoted self-reliance and independence from Japan, China, and other neighbouring nations. In short, Juche was all-pervasive and all-powerful.
The Juche ideology was important to Kim Il Sung and the DPRK regime. The DPRK’s economic policy has always been closely linked to politics. In order to maintain the stability of the regime, economic concerns have been subordinated to political considerations. Economic liberalisation and reform would deprive the DPRK of its sovereignty and dominance over external factors.
A sound market economy requires a realistic policy alternative. The North Korean government has a very strong party and public control system. This system is not sustainable. Ultimately, it only exacerbates social disparities and political corruption. Moreover, it will also erode the credibility of the state in the eyes of the general public.
Economic hardships in North Korea have been increasing in recent years, as people in the country struggle to put food on the table. Corn prices are sky-high and there are concerns that a famine could occur in the country. Stalled trade with China and a coronavirus outbreak are also weighing on the economy. Pyongyang is likely to continue its hard line stance towards the West and will look to Beijing and Moscow for aid to address its current challenges.
Economic hardships in North Korea have been caused by a number of factors, including international sanctions, border closures, and a lack of food imports. The closure of the border with China, for example, has reduced agricultural exports to the country and reduced incomes there. Since the closure, demand for rice has shifted to corn, and supplies have decreased.
Another major economic bottleneck in North Korea has been the energy sector. Since 1990, the North Korean economy has struggled to meet its basic energy needs. The country’s supply of coal, oil, and electricity has decreased drastically. Once heavily dependent on crude oil imports from China and the former Soviet Union, the country is no longer able to import large quantities of the commodity. This has led to critical problems in agriculture and other industries.
As a result, the country has seen food insecurity and rising poverty. Although China has sent humanitarian aid to the country, it has not specified which people will receive it. Moreover, humanitarian aid is not a substitute for cross-border trade.
Military first policy
The Military First Policy in North Korea is a strategy that gives Kim Jong-il control over the different organs of the government, its defense forces, and other national issues. It has been criticized for granting the military too much power and influence, which has led to a number of misconceptions. Although the military’s power has increased under this strategy, the overall control of the regime has remained the same.
Although Pyongyang largely developed its nuclear program on its own, it did receive some external assistance over the years. In the late 1950s and 1960s, Moscow provided help in developing a nuclear research reactor. It also provided light-water reactors and some nuclear fuel. In the 1970s, China and North Korea cooperated on defense and ballistic missiles, and they exchanged scientific researchers with their North Korean counterparts.
The military’s role in North Korea’s political life has always been central to the Kim regime. Its role has grown steadily under the Kim dynasty. The military is a pillar of the state, and Pyongyang believes that it is the only way to guarantee its national survival.
The military has been elevated to the highest level in the country. The military is given priority in state affairs, and is given a high priority in allocation of resources. The military is also given a strong voice in government and informing foreign policy. That can lead to hostile rhetoric toward South Korea.
Elections in north korea
Polls were opened on time, and community groups ensured the voting process was smooth. Reserve forces surrounded polling places, and voters were allowed to vote in groups of two or three. The election results were tallied at a central location. In the communist country, elections are held every five years.
Elections in North Korea are not competitive, since the country’s government passes all major policies and proposals through its Supreme People’s Assembly without debate and without modification. However, it will be interesting to see the results of next year’s elections in North Korea and compare them to those of the past.
While the formal economy is still tightly controlled, Kim Jong-un is shifting toward a more market-oriented economy. The country has removed a number of restrictions on black markets, but restrictions still remain. There are agricultural collectives in North Korea that sell surplus crops privately. There are also personal connections in the economy, with children of high-level officials running foreign trading firms.
While elections in North Korea are non-competitive, there are also some democratic elements that exist. The North Korean government is essentially a dictatorship. While the Supreme People’s Assembly meets only once or twice a year, all decisions are unanimously approved. However, North Korea lacks transparency and accountability to the public. Information about the country’s state institutions is tightly controlled for both internal and external audiences.
Corruption in north korea
Corruption is an important feature of North Korea’s communist economy. In the absence of it, the country’s people would not have been able to survive, and this has led to a widespread culture of corruption. Corruption in the North Korean economy takes several forms, with bribery being the most common form. Corruption can also take the form of embezzlement, where officials use public funds for their own personal gain.
Even before Kim Jong-un took power, the number of moneyed elites was growing. These people, known as donju, facilitate trade in black markets. The government has eased restrictions on these black markets in recent years, allowing agricultural collectives to sell surplus crops privately. In addition, personal connections run deep across the economy. In some cases, children of high-ranking officials run foreign trading firms.
Corruption in the North Korean economy is one of the biggest problems facing the country. The country has failed to realize its juche ideology because of its inherent corruption. After it lost its strongest ally in the Soviet Union, corruption began to permeate every level of society. As a result, the official rationing system collapsed in 1994, leading to a breakdown of law and order. The failure of the rationing system also weakened the party’s ability to protect the people’s loyalty.
Corruption in the north korean communist economy affects every aspect of life in North Korea. The country relies on foreigners for investment and food assistance. As a result, it’s crucial to curb corruption in the North.