North Korea’s Flirtation With Socialism

One might even say this about China: socialism for thee but not for me. Unless there is serious political reform, a little more spending power for the masses means nothing:

Yesterday, I questioned the premises of economic engagement with Pyongyang — that Pyongyang is socialist, that trade is capitalism, that capitalism inexorably erodes socialism, and that capitalism (least of all, state capitalism) is inherently liberal and peaceful. I argued that Pyongyang adopted state capitalism decades ago, and that it has grown steadily more menacing and repressive ever since. It feigns socialism to feed our false hopes of reform and arguments against sanctions, to tempt investors, to recruit apologists who embrace its socialist pretenses, and to justify the economic totalitarianism it uses to starve and isolate the vast majority of its subjects. Pyongyang doesn’t practice socialism; it imposes it on the underclasses. The underclasses are the only ones who can change that. …
We now have evidence that regime-controlled trade funds the oppression that isolates North Koreans, retards change, and helps Pyongyang repress the people who would listen to the broadcasts Ha supports. If the world wants North Korea to change, it has to give free markets — North Korea’s only independent institutions, on which most North Koreans depend for their survival — a fighting chance to survive. As long as Pyongyang’s oligarchy has unrestricted access to our financial system, it will use it to isolate and repress its people. We should seek to shift North Korea’s internal balance of power away from the ones with the guns and food toward those without. That means giving North Korea’s people information and access to markets. That, in turn, means blocking the funds that pay for Pyongyang’s policy of isolation and oppression.

Read the whole thing.



  • Clausewitz

    North Korea has nothing to do with Socialism or communism, they are a pure Stalinist state. Way beyond the stupidity of the 2 previous systems.

    • And yet the world tolerates it.

      • Clausewitz

        Yeah, funny that. Obama undermines Egypt, gets Qaddafi killed in Libya, and yet can’t find anybody to take out the Boy King in North Korea who is responsible for the murdering and starvation of millions of his country men, mainly because he can. The World can be a funny old place at times.

        • To be fair, no one really has a solid plan for North Korea, not the South Koreans, not Obama (or Bush). China still needs it and Japan is worried about it.

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