May 28, 2023

The evolution of North Korea’s ‘inminban’

Neighborhood surveillance among many facets of life changed by markets

Very few people would argue against the fact that, under Kim Il Sung, North Korea was a society where the level of control and surveillance by the state reached the unthinkable heights. Such control is exercised both in workplaces and in the neighborhood.

Admittedly, things have changed a lot in the last two decades since the death of the Great Leader, Sun of the Nation and Ever-Victorious General Kim Il Sung. The once-perfect surveillance machine has rusted and most institutions do not work with the precision they once did. Nonetheless, the system remains formidable and omnipresent, enough to be the envy of nearly all authoritarian regimes across the world.