A Black Hole

Today The Economist published a report on the political momentum of the North Korean human rights movement.  Although this web site does not keep up with the politics of the movement, the article points out how globalization is seemingly improving human rights in the DPRK…

A Black Hole
The Economist

When you learn that Chinese firms are teaching notions of corporate social responsibility to factories in North Korea, there are two possible reactions besides incredulity. One is despair. Scandals from China involving tainted products, abused workers or environmental degradation are legion: what could its companies possibly have to teach their backward, isolated and viciously repressive neighbour?The other is to celebrate the glorious rising tide of globalisation, which washes up little bits of good news on even its most remote and neglected shores.

Human rights, then, no longer seem so central to the West [politically]. So it is moderately encouraging to hear that Chinese garment-makers, subcontracting to North Korea to escape mounting costs at home, insist that their partners stop imposing seven-day working weeks. Just as China’s Western partners 15 years ago trapped them in misdemeanours by finding that sewing needles had broken on supposed rest days, so the Chinese are catching the North Koreans with the same tactics.

This might seem like a radical thought, but imagine how much better companies from OECD countries would be doing this. According to US Census data, the US has only imported $1.7 m from the DPRK since 1992 (including the famine).  Since isolation from western markets has been the DPRK’s policy essentially since its founding,  why try to maintain it?  Lets start investing and trading.  Agree or disagree in the comments.  I’d like to know your thoughts.


One Response to “A Black Hole”

  1. Baltimoron says:

    That’s anathema to organizations like Barrister Green’s LiNK that put human rights above all other considerations.

    I’m not too happy about the “Commies” teaching Pyongyang about business. It’s hardly like the Chinese can do much without FDI. And, how much longer will the Tumen River border exist?