Is the DPRK tightening its grip or reforming?

A writer with the Institute for Internaitonal Economics has published an oped in the Herald Tribune on December 22, 2005:

Here is the Summary:

  • Economy collapsed in 1990s with weather, end of Soviet aid, and bad policy
  • 1995, DPRK asks for help..WFP feeds b/n 1/4 and 1/3 of population
  • as the state was unable to feed the people, bottom-up marketization grew
  • Now there is a revival of the PDS and controls on travel (which were suspended during the famine)
  • Grains can no longer be sold at market, and supplies are being seized
  • This incentivises farmers to harvest early, hoarding and running secret plots
  • A revival of the failed socialist model would not only mark a U-turn in North Korea’s reforms, but would also set the stage for a recurrence of humanitarian problems in the future.

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