The Paradox of North Korean Economic Growth
Andrei Lankov reports that "in recent years, the economic situation of the population has improved markedly," and explains why "these changes do not necessarily bode well for the regime's future" — Why the Kim regime will falter. An excerpt:
- People seldom rebel when their lives are desperate: they are too busy looking for food and basic necessities. Most revolutions happen in times of relative prosperity and are initiated by people who have time and energy to discuss social issues and to organize resistance. Another condition for a successful revolution is a widespread belief in some alternative that is allegedly better than present-day life.
There is little doubt that the North Korean elite welcome signs of economic growth, but paradoxically, this growth makes their situation less, not more, stable. North Koreans are now less stressed and have some time to think and talk - more so since the once formidable surveillance and indoctrination system was damaged during the crisis of the 1990s, perhaps beyond repair.