May 29, 2024

North Korea rails against markets. But its policies show it can live with them.

DPRK authorities did little to curtail flourishing seafood trade for years, only to reverse course during the pandemic

The North Korean government has grappled for years with how to address the de facto privatization across many sectors of its economy. 

The spread of private ownership in the “socialist paradise” is ideologically unwelcome, generating potential instability for the Kim leadership. But Pyongyang also recognizes that private entrepreneurs generate much-need hard currency and other resources that the state cannot.

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