Friday, June 18, 2010

Here To Stay?

clipped from

No foolin’. Sounds like the free market, while still officially verboten, is finally here to stay.

Bowing to reality, the North Korean government has lifted all restrictions on private markets — a last-resort option for a regime desperate to prevent its people from starving.

The fact that they’re now bowing to the same market they tried to starve six months ago speaks volumes. There’s surely no moral imperative within the leadership to prevent mass starvation, so I can only guess that Kim and company have concluded they’re so weak that another round of famine could actually topple the government.
Irony of ironies, the dreaded free market might now actually be the only way to preserve authoritarian rule in Pyongyang, a lesson learned long ago by Kim’s friends in Beijing. Speaking of which, your exit question via WaPo: Is the market-ization of North Korea evidence that China’s suddenly gotten stingy with aid?