Kim Jong Un pays ‘special incentive’ to entire North Korean people

Institute for Far Eastern Studies (IFES)

With the 70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party ahead, Kim Jong Un has decided to pay every North Korean soldier and civilian a ‘special incentive’ amounting to 100% of their salary. Unlike past major anniversaries, in which the government paid citizens goods like blankets or wall clocks, this time it is distributing cash. This is seen as a reflection of the deepening marketization in North Korea.

On September 25, 2015, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported, “As the Workers’ Party of Korea reaches its 70th anniversary, all workers, military personnel, and recipients of scholarships, subsidies or pensions will be granted special prize money amounting to 100% of their monthly living expenses.”

Thus, it appears a special incentive will be issued not just to soldiers and working citizens, but to college students, retirees with pensions, and people like the unemployed who receive a basic living subsidy. In short, it will be paid to every adult citizen, excluding those in high school and younger.

This is the first time since the establishment of the regime that North Korean authorities have paid such an incentive to all citizens and soldiers instead of an unspecified large number of individuals.

One similar instance in which North Korea distributed a special incentive to the people was the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students. In celebration of the results of the ‘200 Day Battle’ to prepare for the festival, the government presented a special incentive to laborers, technicians, college students with scholarships, and office workers such as clerks. However, the army was excluded from this benefit, as well as retirees and the unemployed.

The offering of special prize money to an unspecified large number of people is not unprecedented. However, the extension of this money to soldiers is seen as a new characteristic. While in the past the government has paid special incentives to individuals or entire farms or corporations that exceeded the regime’s economic plans, until now the government has never extended such incentives to all citizens and soldiers.

Kim Jong Un’s decision to distribute this money to every citizen and soldier ahead of the 70th anniversary of the Workers’ Party is viewed as an attempt to gain public support and strengthen internal unity.

Share

Comments are closed.


An affiliate of 38 North