June 06, 2023

Why North Korea’s markets will survive state crackdowns on private commerce

Marketplaces have persisted in DPRK despite extreme suspicion from the state, which tolerates them as a necessary evil

In recent years, the role of markets in North Korea’s economy has been in flux, as the state rolls back tepid economic reforms and seeks to reassert control over the food distribution system. 

Yet while it’s possible that crackdowns will result in markets becoming somewhat less prominent, historical precedent strongly suggests that they are not going to disappear.