On your bike, Dongjie

bikes.jpgThere was a great picture in the New York Times today.  The article was about the politics of a UN trade embargo in response to the nuclear test.  I was disappointed that the article was not about the story of the bikes being exported from Japan.  Who is importing them into the DPRK?  How are the funds transferred?  Is there a title? How are they being distributed in the DPRK?  Who is insuring them?  Who is buying them and where did they get the money?  This would have been a far more interesting article.  

Although stories of counterfitting currency and cigarattes, or exporting missles and drugs dominate news headlines, one story that never gets covered in the media, probably because it is so mundane, is how thousands of traders, motivated by nothing but self-interest and survival, are undertaking significant risks which are easing the hardships of the poor citizens of North Korea.  Will stopping this sort of trade make anyone better off? 

Image caption: Bicycles being loaded Friday onto a North Korean ship in Maizuru, west of Tokyo. A proposed Security Council resolution would restrict cargo. 10/14/2006


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