September 27, 2023

Donju taxes: N. Korea kills the goose that lay the golden eggs

A recent drive for hard cash in North Korea is hitting the middle class

North Korea needs hard currency to keep its isolated regime afloat, and there are indications that Pyongyang is feeling the pinch of sanctions. For one, increasing numbers of workers are being sent abroad to earn foreign cash that is returned to the North or hidden away for Kim Jong Un’s personal use.

More recently, however, come reports from Yonhap that the fingers of the government are digging deeper into the pockets of the donju, the newly emerging middle class and source of all entrepreneurial spirit in North Korea. Those that do not pay bribes to local officials face the risk of their property being confiscated.