Under the new leadership of Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been making gradual changes with new economic measures. Last year, task force was installed at a state level to configure new economic measures and details are being released one by one.
Details confirmed thus far include the authorities of the administrators of cooperative farms and enterprise are being expanded, which include surpluses can be disposed at the discretion of the administrators of individual organizations. This means voluntary incentives can be now paid to workers to increase production.
The North’s key industries of agricultural and industrial sectors were first to implement such change. The AP reported on April 1, the administrators of cooperative farms and factories were granted the discretionary rights for the promotion of production.
Specifically, the cooperative farms installed smaller work units and each unit of the organization are directly responsible for all the harvest. Whereas all the harvest were required to be sent to the state in the past, surpluses are now can be stored, sold, or exchanged with other goods.
In the case of factories and enterprises, worker’s wages were strictly controlled by the state but after the change, each factory and enterprise can now pay incentives to workers depending on the production results.
Professor Ri Ki Song at the North Korea’s Academy of Social Sciences stated, “individual workers are able to work more to earn more,” and “such policy decision was enforced from April 1 after a period of trial operation.”
New economic measures by the cooperative farms, factories and enterprises that granted each organizations the rights to freely dispose its surpluses is analyzed as an effort to increase production by granting incentives to workers. Increased production is expected to attract active participation of the people in the new economic measures, to achieve a ‘virtuous cycle’ in production.
The increase in goods exchanged between people is changing the existing distribution structure. North Korea is making efforts to ease the planned economy structure in commercial and distribution sectors. In other words, the number and variety of products distributed domestically is increasing and the state is intervening to amend the existing distribution system and strengthen the discretion rights of commercial and industrial institutions.
North Korea’s release of this information regarding the new economic measures to AP and other foreign media after it gained the confidence to properly manage the new economic measure from the successful pilot projects of the new economic measures. However, information released to the foreign media is still limited and changes in other areas including banking and finance sectors remain unknown.