North Korean economy

Just Googled this thread title and read a lot of amazing stuff about North Korea.

Even with some help from South Korea, China and others with fertilizer and food, I’m still bewildered that the country can continue, with major expenditures going to military buildup all these years.

It does not appear as though the nation actually produces anything other than insufficient quantity of farm produce. How can a country continue to function under these circumstances?

Has their currency any value internally, or is most food raised by farmers bartered? Do they have the ability to purchase raw materials from other countries? If so, do they have any manufacturing other than military materiel?

It seems as though nobody really knows what is going on there, yet some North Koreans have been able to leave…have they provided any insight as to what is going on?

As in the Cold War days where there was an interesting contrast between East and West Germany’s economies, it is really sad to see the difference between the living standards in the two Koreas.

Don’t know about that, but they have plenty of superdollars available.

The country can keep going because there’s just enough income to keep the military fed (barely), and to keep the leaders in enough luxury that they’re willing to maintain the status quo.

The plight of the people themselves doesn’t enter into it. They have no power to change anything, and as long as the leadership doesn’t care how many starve to death, the incredibly poverty of the people is not a factor in the regime’s survival.

Go have a look at a lot of starving African nations, and you’ll see the same thing. Kleptocracies where people live in packing crates while the bigwigs drive around in Mercedes limos and take any resources they happen to find. The survival of these regimes is mostly dependent on whether or not the chain of bribery and payoffs can be sustained well enough to keep the people who actually have the power and guns from revolting. The plight of the average citizen is irrelevant.

North Korea has also been accused of being heavily involved in the manufacture, distribution and sale of drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine.

It is also worth noting that North Korea’s military Industry has provided some healthyincome that is convertible to hard currency and needed goods and commodities (including political commodities). (The link includes just what is publicly known.)