Why urbanized, well-educated North Korea remains paradoxically poor
While the DPRK compares favorably with wealthier countries on some metrics, political decisions still hobble the economy
Unlike many underdeveloped countries, North Korea is an outwardly modern society. It has high rates of urbanization, secondary educational attainment and even comparatively high life expectancy. Indeed, it compares favorably on these metrics to countries that produce far more and are far wealthier.
Moreover, the DPRK is not poor due to an ongoing civil war, a lack of social cohesion between groups or a lack of “social capabilities” — as is the case in many other countries around the world. Instead, North Korea’s current state can be largely chalked up to politics.
For one, while
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