The Problems and Opportunities of Agricultural Practices in the DPRK

July 2nd, 2012

“In order to improve the lives of the people, Kim Il-sung visited the farmers and told them to grow more rice.” Exhausted and weathered from several weeks of propaganda training in the DPRK, I found myself unconsciously slipping into a state of complacence with the tour guide’s narration. North Korea’s Three Revolutions Exhibition follows suit

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Konrad Mathesius

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  • PW

    Konrad Mathesius tells us that:In 1946, 54% of cultivated land [in North Korea] was confiscated from private ownership in the Land Reform Act.What he doesn’t tell us is that this “private ownership” was of land that had been stolen by Japanese, most of whom had fled with Japan’s surrender in 1945.According to Scalapino and Lee (Communism in Korea), “At the close of World War II, almost 75% of all arable land in Korea was cultivated by tenants [i.e. Koreans forced off their traditional land and forced to work for Japanese landlords -- the Ireland syndrome again!]. Among the total number of farm families, approximately one half owned no land, and an additional one third rented [from Japanese -- and some Korean collaborator --landlords] some portion of the land they tilled.”Scalapino and Lee  also note, “More than 90% of all Korean industry had been owned by the Japanese. Nationalization, therefore, affected almost no Koreans directly.” Scalapino and Lee — no friends of the Pyongyang regime — paint a grudging picture of land reform and nationalization of industry actually benefitting the people of North Korea in the 1940s.

  • sd

    Thank you PW