Korea: March 15, 2005


Economic reforms in North Korea are backfiring. For three years, it has been legal to openly buy and sell many things at market rates. There had always been a black market in North Korea, but it was very dangerous. The death penalty was common for such "economic crimes." But now government bureaucrats, and military officers, are using their positions to steal state property and sell it in the legal markets. This has increased unrest in the north, where the sharp differences in living standards were previously kept hidden. The open trade in the legal markets has changed that, and revolution is in the air. 


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