June 06, 2023

Why Pyongyang’s top elites still cling to visions of a post-money society

Public distribution of food and consumer goods entrenches North Korea’s rigid caste system even further

North Korea's complicated system of rationing largely collapsed in the 1990s, but powerful factions dream about restoring the system to its former clockwork precision. It seems that now, in 2022, these pro-distribution voices are louder than ever.

The system is seen as fair – and it helps, of course, that the universal distribution greatly facilitated surveillance and control over the population. Thus, we can expect that now, backed with Chinese aid, the Kim Jong Un government might try to revive the old system.