September 26, 2022

How Kim Il Sung tried to save North Korea’s troubled planned economy

In the years before the economic crisis, Pyongyang explored ways to mitigate rampant inefficiencies

From the 1970s, the North Korean government experimented with a new model of socialism. In almost every regard it was just like the existing model, except it tried to deal with one of the major problems of the Stalinist system of economic planning: coordination and cooperation between enterprises. Or rather, coordination and cooperation between enterprises under different ministries.

The solution that Kim Il Sung settled on was very simple: make enterprises so large that they would rarely have to trade with each other. But why did he do this?