Blurred lines: Inside North Korea’s messy business ecosystem
Both state power and market forces shape the DPRK economy in ways that are only now coming into focus
As North Korea’s economy continues to feel the effects of long-term international sanctions and the COVID-19 pandemic, Pyongyang has clawed back market reforms and reasserted centralized control.
But the DPRK’s business ecosystem is far from monolithic. Several types of firms exist, and market forces, state power and individual players all exert control to varying degrees.
An NK Pro analysis indicates:Until the 1980s, the economy was broken down into two distinct but largely undifferentiated sectors: state (primary goods extractors, factories, services, commerce) and collective, with two tiers of governance, central and local
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