December 07, 2023

How much has North Korea’s economy really changed?

A new book challenges the narrative that marketization in the DPRK is a "bottom-up" phenomena

This is a book review of Philip H. Park's Rebuilding North Korea’s Economy: Politics and Policy. 2016. Seoul: Institute for Far Eastern Studies at Kyungnam University.

North Korea’s economic system has changed under Kim Jong Un. Under the young leader's tenure, North Korean officials have openly touted systemic changes such as the “Our-style economic management method” (우리 식의 경제관리방법), under which enterprises (including agricultural ones) take independent responsibility for production planning, and, accordingly, receive a greater share of enterprise profits. Some have hoped that such changes spell out the beginning of liberalization by another name.