Friday, July 24, 2015

In North Korea, "Private trade keeps the population afloat"

See ‘North Korea Confidential’ and ‘North Korea Undercover’ by JANE PERLEZ, in the book review section. Excerpt:
"Their first lesson is that “Communist” and “collectivized” are no longer relevant labels for North Korea’s economy. Farmers are now permitted to hold on to about one-third of their crops. Private trade keeps the population afloat, a way of life that emerged as a survival technique during the devastating famine of the 1990s and has blossomed since. Women are the dominant traders in society: They run kiosks, make and sell food, and operate small import-export businesses. Some rent their apartments by the hour to couples looking for some privacy. The preferred time is the afternoon, when the apartment owner’s kids are at school and her husband is at work, and she can go for a walk for an hour or so. The authors write: “The process is very simple, but it acts as a reasonable summary of the people’s adaptation to post-famine North Korea: It is illegal; it is informal; it corresponds to basic human needs; and it is 100 percent capitalist.”"

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