Korea: February 17, 2003


The North Korean economy has shrunk 32 percent since 1990. But for many northerners, the decline has been more severe. Those connected with the ruling Communist Party are doing well, most others face starvation and privation. The economic reforms last year, which raised salaries twenty-fold and allowed prices to be set by market forces, has been a disaster. Prices for necessities like rice and other food stuffs has increased by much more. The Communist Party and military are deadlocked on what to do about all this. Widespread rebellion is a growing possibility as more northerners find out about the outside world (and that the rest of the world is much better off than they are.)


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