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#1 Edited by Alekss (327 posts) -

I've been working in Vietnam for 4 months and I noticed that at least in Ho Chi Minh it's very similar to a democratic nation in terms of liberties and capitalism (minus the not talking about the government thing) and I've been wondering why doesn't Kim Jong Un do the same in North Korea?

It seems he would stay in power while creating a better economy. it just seems dumb not to do it.

PS: I'm not saying that system is better than democracy because it's not (just look at all the stuff coming from more isolated parts of China) but it seems it would fit NK.

#2 Edited by Stonyman65 (2879 posts) -

Uhh... last time I checked Vietnam and China were quasi-Communist/Socialist states.

#3 Posted by joshwent (2353 posts) -

Uhh... last time I checked Vietnam and China were quasi-Communist/Socialist states.

"Quasi" being the key word. Although they're strictly Communist in name, in some ways because of the economic success of autonomous Hong Kong, China has become more focused on free markets than many countries in the west.

As far as North Korea goes, converting any part of their system to capitalism would be basically admitting defeat to the US, causing national humiliation which may result in some (gasp!) mistrust of their government. It's inevitable, but they're not gonna break easily.

#4 Posted by Stonyman65 (2879 posts) -

I think North Korea has a lot more problems than it's economic system. They'd need to pretty much gut their entire government as a whole before they could ever be stable.

#5 Edited by JouselDelka (966 posts) -

Because up yours, that's why.

No really, their motto in Korean translates to "up yours," meaning they don't need you or your capitalism. I think it's "choochy" or something.

I learned this from a documentary that I watched while eating fatty chips, and now I'm schooling you about it like I created it.

#6 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

Because crazy people, brainwashing, and propaganda. It's a part of the culture at this point. The NK Government clearly has no intention of acting in the best interest of it's people.

#7 Posted by Mirado (1057 posts) -

Vietnam and China aren't run by personality cults.

North Korea's only running because the leader is seen as God. Everything is done for the leader, anything good which happens was due to the leader, and there's no higher honor than to follow the leader. The idea of working for yourself would start to destabilise the personality cult. Can't have that!

There was a great documentary where a camera crew snuck into NK with a doctor who was there to perform cataract surgery (something which would more or less doom you to blindness in NK due to their poor medical system). He performed something like a thousand surgeries in just a few days, and every single patient had nothing but undying praise for...the leader, for giving them the gift of sight. Not the doctor, not the fact that they can now see their kids again, just the idea that the leader gave them their sight and now they can use it for him.

That's why capitalism won't work. It'd run contrary to everything the Kim regime has built up.

#8 Posted by alternate (2720 posts) -

NK isn't communist. It is a family of self proclaimed god-emperors and a nation of terrified slaves.

#9 Edited by posh (530 posts) -

@mordeaniischaos said:

Because crazy people, brainwashing, and propaganda. It's a part of the culture at this point. The NK Government clearly has no intention of acting in the best interest of it's people.

accusing north koreans of being "crazy people" and "brainwashed" sounds a lot like something somebody who might've been ingesting a lot of western media might say

also, capitalism isn't working so great for a whole bunch of countries right now

#10 Posted by Sinusoidal (1824 posts) -

The problem with North Korea is that it's just prosperous enough for its corrupt leaders to live in comfort. As long as they're comfortable, nothing will change. The people fall in line honestly because it's a big part of the culture. I live in South Korea, and - no disrespect intended - they're a pretty conformist bunch here. There's an awful lot of corrupt bureaucracy blatantly overlooked in the name of patriotism in the south as well.

#11 Posted by TheManWithNoPlan (6012 posts) -

Because it's North Korea.

#12 Posted by mlarrabee (3064 posts) -

"I won't speculate." Drew Scanlon

#13 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@posh: A) I didn't say "all people in NK are crazy and braindwashed," (though I do believe many are the latter) just that crazy people were in some way responsible for the direction that nation is headed. Which is not and has never been a good one. I don't mind Communism, or socialism. I do however mind when people call North Korea "communist." Communism is not even close to what they have, and socialism would be awfully kind as well. Real communism, not the shit we usually see, isn't supposed to have a ruling caste, and CERTAINLY isn't supposed to have a ruling family.

There are a select number of crazy people however that have contributed to North Korea's direction, and there's no fucking way a bunch of people believe that the current leader is a God without having been brainwashed.

Keep in mind, brainwashing can be as simple as what is taught in school. Some kids are brainwashed to believe gays are evil, some to believe Shorty McComeAtMeBro is a god. Which is bullshit. Obviously.

Also, you saying that I'm basing all of my opinions, which you took to a whole new level, is based on me ingesting a lot "western" media (what, you mean, non-North Korena media?) sounds a lot like a liberal hippy nut who thinks MSNBC is "too conservative."
Assumptions aren't terribly fair, are they? North Korea is a fucked up country. It's people are poor, and it's leader is currently putting the entire country's well being at risk because he wants to look like a badass.

Here's a tip: Go read some Marx and actually look at what OG Communist was supposed to be. Spoilers: It wasn't supposed to be a dictatorship. If NK is a communist nation, why is it that it has rich people? Many of whom are a part of the leadership in the country?

So tired of people not understanding what they are saying. I don't care if you had an "edgy" professor who said capitalism is for assholes and that places like North Korea have it right. Do some fucking research. North Korea is a MESS and is not some Utopian Communist state. It's neither Utopian nor Communist.

As for capitalism not working, that's just bullshit. The US is doing just fine. Are wallets thinner than usual? Sure! But it's fine. We still make enough money to be filthy rich compared to a lot of places in the world. The same is true of all the major capitalist nations. Things are bad for everyone, not just capitalism. Maybe there is some totally self reliant communist state out there, but they would live a very different life from us, so comparing the two would be silly. And the places where it's been the worst has been because of idiots in power, not the system.

Don't defend North Korea just because it makes you look like a better bleeding heart liberal. It just makes you look ignorant. North Korea is in a bad place and not getting any better. I'm sure there are worse places on the planet to live, with half of Africa being one big battlefield and the Middle East being even further in the past and in a deeper pile of shit than they are. But if Kim keeps up this bullshit, his people will end up with a big ol' invasion force of US Marines in their country. He's probably just playing chicken and he'll almost certainly be the one to bail, but that doesn't make his behavior any less fucking stupid and make him or his government any less terrible.

I am not spewing what I have been told. Do not accuse people of shit like that based on an incredibly brief statement. Especially if you're going to take the whole fucking thing wrong because you've set out on a quest to boo the capitalist.

#14 Posted by Jrinswand (1711 posts) -

How does one "do" capitalism?

#15 Edited by troll93 (388 posts) -

I reckon it's more likely that you will see a whole bunch of Chinese marines in there. China doesn't want to deal with North Korea's shit, but can't let South Korea take over North, as you then have a big US ally right there on your border, and they are still trying to make friends, so they can't let either the US or themselves just walk in to kick them out. What I predict will happen is that in 5-6 years, when North Korea has another famin, China might just send in some troops to "assist" the Koreans, and install a new government that is basically a lot like China, a little like the US was doing in centeral/south america during to cold war, just on a bigger scale. Then again, who really knows, maybe the Egyptians will invade.

#16 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6173 posts) -

Because they don't want the market to crash randomly and collapse the market? North Korea has problems to be sure; embracing a flawed trading system isn't going to fix them. Of course they also have clout and losing that clout would make them as irrelevant as any other third world country, so while it's a shame that they can't feed their own populace losing any kind of presence on the global stage isn't the answer either.

Better question: Why does Cuba have a better healthcare system than the United States without Capitalism and a miniscule percentage of our GDP?

#17 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@troll93: I would love it if china just decided to stop putting up with them and just set up like, Tibet part 2 or something. That way the north koreans could stop being fed that sort of harsh propaganda and actually start working towards a reunification at some point in hte future.

(not to say chinese rule would be perfect but hey, anything better than that dictator)

#18 Posted by captain_clayman (3328 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@stonyman65 said:

Uhh... last time I checked Vietnam and China were quasi-Communist/Socialist states.

"Quasi" being the key word. Although they're strictly Communist in name, in some ways because of the economic success of autonomous Hong Kong, China has become more focused on free markets than many countries in the west.

As far as North Korea goes, converting any part of their system to capitalism would be basically admitting defeat to the US, causing national humiliation which may result in some (gasp!) mistrust of their government. It's inevitable, but they're not gonna break easily.

From what I've gathered, Hong Kong is just a tiny pocket of pure free market. It's almost like a totally different country though, since the rest of china has almost no economic freedom. It's like a yin-yang thing haha (i'm actually not sure if that's chinese, but if not, oh well it's a good analogy)

#19 Edited by Fredchuckdave (6173 posts) -

@animasta: Uhm, Propaganda that's generally pretty accurate; the vast majority of Americans are spoonfed morons and large portions of the society are completely and utterly functionless (Celebrities, reality TV, etc.); look I'm not saying NK is some majestic scion of righteousness but this thread is highly amusing with it's blind acceptance of "rightness" on the American/Western side of the argument; nothing is so black and white.

#20 Posted by IcedWhale (53 posts) -

Because it would require those at the top to give up power they don't really care about the people they only care for wealth and power.

#21 Posted by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@animasta: Uhm, Propaganda that's generally pretty accurate; the vast majority of Americans are spoonfed morons and large portions of the society are completely and utterly functionless (Celebrities, reality TV, etc.); look I'm not saying NK is some majestic scion of righteousness but this thread is highly amusing with it's blind acceptance of "rightness" on the American/Western side of the argument; nothing is so black and white.

if I was some sort of black and white asshole I'd not be fine with China either.

That's also not necessarily the propaganda I'm referring to; I'm more referring to the internal propaganda, that the leaders are awesome at everything they do bullshit.

but hey, I'm just some dumb american so what do I know

#22 Posted by TruthTellah (9491 posts) -

@fredchuckdave: You know you don't have to be a jerk, right? Because your statements come off like a deluded jerk who has no real perspective on the world. And like someone who has never met a Korean person, gotten to know a real American, or studied history.

Maybe you're a decent person most of the time, but your statements here are so ignorant and backwards that I can hardly even imagine how you can justify to yourself to make such blatant misrepresentations of wide swaths of people. I hope you will one day realize how mistaken your view of the world is and see the real people around you as they actually are, not just as derisive stereotypes you've accepted to make yourself feel better about who you are.

#23 Edited by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@troll93: That's certainly possible as well. Regardless, keeping on this path would be very bad for their country, because someone will eventually have to kick down that door. That said, I'm not sure China is interested in getting that involved with something like disarmament of NK by force. The US on the other hand has shown more than a little willingness in other similar situations (Iraq, and for a recent example, potential use of Chemical agents by Syrian forces).

@animasta: Uhm, Propaganda that's generally pretty accurate; the vast majority of Americans are spoonfed morons and large portions of the society are completely and utterly functionless (Celebrities, reality TV, etc.); look I'm not saying NK is some majestic scion of righteousness but this thread is highly amusing with it's blind acceptance of "rightness" on the American/Western side of the argument; nothing is so black and white.

I've yet to actually see any "Western rightness" in this thread. Unless you mean talking shit about NK's horrible governing body that causes the people of the nation to suffer. North Korea is being run by lunatics and fools. That's all that anyone's really said here. There isn't a western side of this. NK's government sucks, that's not something with a western side to it. That's just a fact, and America being A or B doesn't change the fact that NK is pretty messed up in a few ways.

Also, no, the majority of Americans are not. You're just about the most ridiculous example of assholes from other countries making assumptions based on jack fucking shit. Do you also think most Americans are against gun control?

Most of America is moderate, in the middle, and they are not just buying into the bullshit on FOX/MSNBC. And the UK is sure as fuck not devoid of complete idiots in or out of public office. It's called humanity. You aren't in a better country than me just because you heard some silly stereotypes and believed the. You're just a fool.

Because they don't want the market to crash randomly and collapse the market? North Korea has problems to be sure; embracing a flawed trading system isn't going to fix them. Of course they also have clout and losing that clout would make them as irrelevant as any other third world country, so while it's a shame that they can't feed their own populace losing any kind of presence on the global stage isn't the answer either.

Better question: Why does Cuba have a better healthcare system than the United States without Capitalism and a miniscule percentage of our GDP?

That isn't a better question, because it has jack shit to do with the current conversation so keep it on topic or go start a "lets all move to Cuba because of one little thing we like better" thread elsewhere. A better question would be "why is this mother fucker trying to derail this thread into 'BOO AMERICA!' when it has nothing to do with America?"

You sir, are a moron for perpetuating LUDICROUS stereotypes and for blowing them so incredibly out of proportion. You're talking about a vocal minority that was hyperbolized by 'British humor.' You just didn't get the "humor" part of the message apparently. That, or you are crazy/stupid/lazy enough to just invent that image of America of your own volition.

I'm not going to respond to any more of your shit, and wouldn't even have in the first place if I didn't already have something on topic to reply to. So if you want to reply, don't expect anyone to give a damn.

#24 Edited by Alekss (327 posts) -

This derailed quicly...

#25 Posted by fox01313 (5089 posts) -

One would think that they'd objectively look at the success of other Commie countries like Cuba to figure out that it's severely limiting to stick with it.

#26 Edited by Godzilla_Sushi (1085 posts) -

North Korea is entirely based on the extreme communism that Russia and China taught Kim Il Sung. After the Korean War, North Korea was afforded the ability to saturate that entire country with busted communism. The only reason China and Russia don't have famines and international incidents is because they found a progressive route out through capitalism and culture. North Korea is taken advantage of from China and Russia. They use those people for evil things.

The North Korean people have been dragged through the ringer with the famines of the 80's and 90's. Labor camps supply wood for European companies. The Russians treat them better as slaves than the North Koreans treat their own prisoners. North Korea could benefit as efficiently as other Asian countries but North Korea is also fully committed to communism.

The benefit that all these other countries have is they haven't adhered to the most extreme ideological viewpoints like North Korea. Iran and Syria are aware of their place in the world and the people are fighting back against radical groups. China has population wide dissent, Russia's media finally holds individuals accountable. North Korea is so isolated that they can use an archaic and evil restriction on ideas and innovation without anyone being able of disagreeing. The entire nation is completely closed off and ignorant to the modern world. Leaving Pyongyang is a time machine because they are hand making tractors from the 50's.

North Korea is so heavily dedicated to Kim Il Sung that it will take generations for the people to transition. That's the only thing holding them back, the extreme dedication from birth, force, culture, and propaganda.

#27 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

@mirado said:

There was a great documentary where a camera crew snuck into NK with a doctor who was there to perform cataract surgery (something which would more or less doom you to blindness in NK due to their poor medical system). He performed something like a thousand surgeries in just a few days, and every single patient had nothing but undying praise for...the leader, for giving them the gift of sight. Not the doctor, not the fact that they can now see their kids again, just the idea that the leader gave them their sight and now they can use it for him.

It's what they say have to say when the cameras are rolling. Think about the shit storm if NK intelligence finds one of the fuckers praising the doctor on-camera. He'd be sent to years in harsh labor. I'd be a little more optimistic about this and give them the benefit of the doubt of what they really feel off camera. NK loves to portray its people as grovelling manservants, it supports their agenda and fits right in with their image of national unity. But I think most people would be surprised at how regular NK denizens think off-camera and in secrecy. If they can get a hold of ROK soap opera's, they're not completely cut-off from the rest of the World as the DPRK wants us to think.

#28 Posted by deathstriker666 (1337 posts) -

As for Cuba, much of it's development is still heavily aided by both Chinese and Russian support. The myth of self-sufficiency is just that, a myth. Everybody needs allies, autarkic rhetoric is just political image. This is the real Cuban medical system. They don't even have MRI scanners to detect cancerous tumors.

#29 Posted by SathingtonWaltz (2053 posts) -

Because they don't want the market to crash randomly and collapse the market? North Korea has problems to be sure; embracing a flawed trading system isn't going to fix them. Of course they also have clout and losing that clout would make them as irrelevant as any other third world country, so while it's a shame that they can't feed their own populace losing any kind of presence on the global stage isn't the answer either.

Better question: Why does Cuba have a better healthcare system than the United States without Capitalism and a miniscule percentage of our GDP?

You come across to me as somebody who just watched a Michael Moore film and gobbled it up without actually deciding to form a well researched viewpoint of your own.

#30 Edited by bushpusherr (853 posts) -

I'm more interested in why they still have a dead man as their president.

#31 Edited by AziMuttyo (82 posts) -

Vietnamese girls give me a hard one. Check Miu Le

#32 Posted by StarvingGamer (8560 posts) -

Man, we have a lot of great threads on the boards today.

#33 Edited by Korolev (1729 posts) -

The reason why is because the government is very scared and they are very poor. Transitioning to capitalism is tough, especially when you've been following a Soviet-Style Command economy for a long time. When the Russians did it, it was a disaster because they moved waaaaaaaaaaaay to fast. The Russians literally went from being a nation in which the butcher told the customer what was for sale and what to buy, to a nation in which the customer told the butcher what they wanted to buy, in about one year. As a result? The economy collapsed because virtually no one in Russia was equipped to deal with capitalism and trade.

The Chinese went slowly, and as a result, the government still stands. But China had some help - good US relations after Nixon, a very large population and they were willing to be pragmatic and adopt and experiment with different economy styles. North Korea has a dwindling population and they are not exactly pragmatic, and the leadership literally feels as if the rest of the world will eat them alive should they ever get the chance. They don't want to open up, because of their paranoia.

There is also the problem that the North has dug itself into a deep hole. There's a reason why the North Korean government has such oppressive laws - they know that the majority of the population hate them. They know that their people are starving and would overthrow them in a heartbeat if they ever felt they could. Transitioning to a capitalist economy requires opening up their borders and relaxing some of their more totalitarian laws - they feel that if they do this, they'll be killed in a heartbeat. They don't think they could successfully pull off what China did - open up slowly and gradually to allow trade but nothing else. They are scared that if they relax even a little bit, it'll set off a tidal wave of change that will result in them being destroyed. It is, afterall, what happened to the USSR.

The North Korean regime is also legendarily racist. They literally believe that the North Korean people are the "sacred" people of the world, who must find their own way. They're not even communist anymore - after the fall of the USSR, they changed their constitution to omit all mentions of Marx or Lenin or Communism. Instead, the North Korean regime preaches an ideology of "Juche" - "self reliance". This ideology holds that the North must be self-sufficient in every single way. Of course, their utter dependence on China makes a joke of their philosophy, but that's the official line. They don't want to be Capitalist because they see that as "foreign" and not "Korean", and so they believe it to be fundamentally flawed, because modern capitalism wasn't invented by a Korean person.

It's also because that's just the way things are and no one is brave enough/suicidal enough to risk asking for change. It's not just a matter of Kim Jung Un declaring "We're capitalist now, bitches!" Realize that the North Korean government actually has a number of powerful factions. When Kim Jong Il was still alive, he had to contend, for years, with his Uncle, his Aunt and other military leaders for control. Just because you're a dictator doesn't mean you get to stay dictator - people near you will try to overthrow you. This new guy, Kim Jong Un, is a young guy with barely any military experience whatsoever. The generals of the North Korean Army know this. They don't like his youth or his inexperience. It is entirely conceivable, that if he doesn't put on a good enough show of following in his father's footsteps that his Party may attempt to dispose of him.

The Current Leaders of the North have a good life. Their people are starving to death, but THEY aren't. They want to hold onto power, and change is always risky for those in power. Moving towards Capitalism is a big, big, big, big, big risk for them.

It's also probably a matter of stubborness and pride, as well as a mentality of "This is the way things are done!".

#34 Edited by troll93 (388 posts) -

@animasta: The thing that is amazing to me is that from my experience of growing up in Australia, having a lot of asian friends and then basically living between Australia, China and Singapore, the choices that an average person can make are actually rather similar. We get to chose what job we do, can go for further education, are more or less able to live our lives with relative independence from the government. Even being able to speak out about the government is not that hard to do in China, it is a tad more difficult because you have to run through a proxy on your internet and a few other minor things like that, but you can say, as a Chinese person, fuck the Chinese government and most likely not be punished.

Regardless, the population of North Korea would without a doubt be on the grand sum better of under a Chinese style government, and it will probably happen one day or another, be it via US invasion, Chinese Invasion or domestic uprising, everything that is coming out of the recent defectors is that things are really not good in North Korea. It's gotten so bad that even the government has changed its tune from we are living the best in the world to it's a hard time because of the US shitting on us. also, there is apparently a rather large open black market of South Korean movies, music, TV media in general. The biggest problem that all the defectors are saying is that it is so hard to be able to contact other dissenters, and it takes one hell of a brave person to stand up to a dictator on their own.

#35 Edited by AziMuttyo (82 posts) -

@troll93 said:

@animasta: Even being able to speak out about the government is not that hard to do in China, it is a tad more difficult because you have to run through a proxy on your internet and a few other minor things like that, but you can say, as a Chinese person, fuck the Chinese government and most likely not be punished.

It's kinda how it is in Vietnam from my experience. People aren't afraid to say if they don't like the government. If I didn't know it's called the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and that it has a communist party I could say that it's democrat.

#36 Edited by Brodehouse (10143 posts) -

@Mordeaniischaos Absolutely laying it down in this topic.

North Korea (and most 'failed' states) are the shame of the civilized world. When the West discovered the concentration camps, what was the hue and cry? 'Never again'. And yet NK operates death camps that we are all aware of but too self-interested to do anything about. Maybe it was just 'never again for whites and Jews'.

And please, if you're one of those who wants to apologize for tyranny or moralize against Enlightenment ideals like free speech, free inquiry, democracy, egalitarianism and universality, and human rights; what exact moral ground do you believe you have? That you dislike America does not in any way justify the support of totalitarianism in any corner of the world. I know the hip thing is 'hey you can't judge anyone else, you!' but in reality, you actually can. Free speech is the acme of human civilization, and that any nation who represses it for the gain or loss of any group is explicitly corrupt. When I think of everything that free speech, inquiry, reason, rationalism has given the world, and see people try to write it off or support the abolition of it, these same people who are able to express their desire for cultural regression only via the nature of free speech, it makes me so crazy.

It reminds me when I get into the usual gender arguments, the abuses suffered by women in the Middle East inevitably come up. The natural moral reaction is horror and desire to alleviate suffering, but do not dare suggest that we place Enlightenment standards for free society on these nations, or remove the structures that enslave these societies, no, no, that's cultural imperialism. I begin to wonder if these so-called progressives are not complicit in the abuses they refuse to stand against and exploit when it suits their own situation. Shameful, the state of it all.

#37 Edited by ohnobruno (85 posts) -

Okay, I'm just going to ignore large parts of this thread and point out there was the Kaesong Industrial Region and while I would never compare it to capitalism I do think it means that there are some in DPRK who recognize that a command economy is a terrible idea. I don't know the history of China and Vietnam's move to freeing up their markets and wonder if the first steps were just as tentative.

But alas, the whole thing was shut down during the latest tensions.

#38 Edited by Nivash (241 posts) -

The only thing holding together North Korea as we know it is the iron fist of the central government including extensive control of information. The ruling family and top military leaders are living a pretty sweet life all things considered and have no interest in giving this up for the betterment of the nation. Hence, If North Korea starts letting up economically they will still try (but ultimately fail) to hold on to political control and the end result won't be pretty: think more Ceaușescu, less Gorbachev.

North Korea is not a communist state ruled by an elected council, it's an absolute monarchy ruled by a dynasty. It is essentially feudal. It needs total control to function - without it, the people will demand increased political freedom in order to be able to use their increased economical freedom and eventually revolt.

Only a complete idiot would defend North Korea's current state of affairs - it's one of the worst, if not the worst, places in the world because it manages to combine a totalitarian, violent government that uses atrocities to punish its subjects with horrible living conditions that include widespread famine for a majority of the population: in the years between 1994 and 1998 between 0,2 million and 3,5 million North Koreans starved to death. That's between 1 % and 16 % of the population! As of right now, watch groups estimate that a horrifying 70 % of children under 6 years of age in North Korea are suffering from malnutrition. During the 90s, North Koreas fighter pilots - the one group that really needs to stay on top nutritionally - had rations of a mere 850 calories per day, 950 on flight days. The recommended daily intake is close to 2500 calories in the west.

North Korea is mountainous and has a poor climate for large scale agriculture. The communist tendency to prioritize education and heavy industry over farming made things even worse. The country simply isn't in a position to feed itself and has never really been: it was sustained by the USSR and China before the former fell and the latter reformed. Today, North Korean agriculture is crippled by poor management, lack of fertilizers and lack of fuel for machinery. If it had just been more moderate and open to trade its abundant mineral resources would have been more than enough to import food - South Korea is in a similar position but, as we all know, managed to develop into a prosperous, well fed nation through trade. But North Korea chose the way of Juche, an ideology of fanatical self reliance, and the way of aggressive posturing over diplomacy.

As for sanctions, North Korea has no-one to blame but itself: until the nuclear tests of 2006 China blocked any UN effort to impose sanctions. But even China has its limits, and a nuclear North Korea is evidently one.

#39 Edited by Nivash (241 posts) -

@ohnobruno: Kaesong doesn't really mirror anything in China or Vietnam. China and Vietnam underwent a series of large-scale reforms during the late 1970s and 1980s that largely mirrored similar developments in the USSR and had the effect of essentially re-hauling their existing command economies into pseudo-market economies which have grown freer over time. Vietnam still has five year plans, but they are more guiding than controlling and reflect the fact key industries are still government run. Had North Korea done something similar it's likely that they would have been much better off.

#40 Edited by Brodehouse (10143 posts) -

@Nivash Excellent contribution and thank you for it.

#41 Posted by themangalist (1750 posts) -

Capitalism, frankly, sucks. I'm glad to see North Korea as the very few "specimen" of the purest communism we could get in today's world, it really is interesting to study these countries. It gives us a better perspective as to how to make the world a more egalitarian place.

#42 Posted by Example1013 (4807 posts) -

To be involved in the global market, you need some sort of either raw materials production or higher-level manufacturing. North Korea has very little to offer a multinational corporation, as even their labor is inferior to other places since the people are all starved and stunted. The government still exists largely because it controls the flow of foreign aid. That's their "socialism".

#43 Posted by ohnobruno (85 posts) -

@nivash: Thanks for the info. I never really knew how Kaesong compared to the early changes in China and Vietnam. The more I've been reading about Kaesong the more ineffectual it seems.

#44 Posted by MordeaniisChaos (5730 posts) -

@brodehouse: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This is why I really despise the "cower in a corner" liberal camp. They insist that doing nothing is better than stepping in when women are beheaded for not dressing exactly as they are told to, families are torn apart, sons are forced to fight, or when some asshole hides behind an idealistic concept like "Communism" when in reality it doesn't even resemble communism. The idea that people like me dislike the way NK's administration behaves because "Uncle Sam told me to," is fucking stupid. I don't need the media to know that a guy threatening nuclear war when he doesn't have the military to protect his people from the repercussions of such actions is not fit to rule. Or to see through the bullshit that is the Communist label.

Capitalism, frankly, sucks. I'm glad to see North Korea as the very few "specimen" of the purest communism we could get in today's world, it really is interesting to study these countries. It gives us a better perspective as to how to make the world a more egalitarian place.

Are you fucking kidding me? You think that North Korea has jack shit to do with Communism? No, not even fucking close. Seriously, people like you tell ME that I just feed from the teet of the media while idiots like you are convinced that North Korea is a communist state. That is a farce. They may claim it, but they are socialist at best. They may not be capitalist, they may have socialist traits, but they also have traits that directly oppose 'pure' Communism. It's an Oligarchy, for one. For another, it has wealthy castes (many of which are a part of the leadership). It's essentially ruled by a Dynasty at this point. So yeah, it's not pure communism in the fucking slightest. There are communities in the states that are more communist than NK is. Communism is defined partially by the fact that it is stateless. NK has a state that governs it. There is a government. It also has classes, another thing that a real communist state does not have.

You are fucking talking about something you clearly have NO understanding of other than an idealist perspective. You think "oh, everyone sharing everything, that sounds great, flowers and butterflies!" And yet every major example in the world that we've seen has seen tragedy after tragedy fall upon it's people. Are you kidding me? Go read some USSR history. Read about the poverty and starvation that killed hundred of thousands. Or the psychotic lunatic that ran the nation.

We've not really seen a pure communist state in the world. Cuba is probably the one example that hasn't been a total shit show for the entirety of it's communist state. And even Cuba has had its troubles and certainly caused trouble.

Seriously, talking about Communism should require you to go do your research before hand. You either know nothing about North Korea or nothing about actual Communism, because you are simply and factually incorrect. To the point that I really hope you are kidding. Because come on. Pure communism? North Korea? That's fuckin' hilarious.

#45 Edited by mikey87144 (1807 posts) -

For the people attacking capitalism and saying North Korea's "Communism" is better:

1. Capitalism won. Remember the Cold War? The war of ideologies. Capitalism won and the Soviet Union went bankrupt.

2. Read up on North Korea. Read the stories from the people who escaped, not left, ESCAPED, from North Korea. Rampant starvation, lack of modern resources, brainwashing, and a whole host of other issues. North Korea had to sit and watch as their cousins to the south got rich thanks to... capitalism. They've even had to watch their only ally, China, change much of their policies so they could get rich.

3. If you hate the west so much move to North Korea. They'd be happy to take you.

#46 Posted by Jace (1096 posts) -

I'm more interested in why they still have a dead man as their president.

It's actually two dead men, now. Jong ill is still in power as well.

#47 Edited by Animasta (14731 posts) -

@jace said:

@bushpusherr said:

I'm more interested in why they still have a dead man as their president.

It's actually two dead men, now. Jong ill is still in power as well.

isn't he the prime minister or something though? or the eternal general or w/e

#48 Posted by Jace (1096 posts) -

@animasta said:

@jace said:

@bushpusherr said:

I'm more interested in why they still have a dead man as their president.

It's actually two dead men, now. Jong ill is still in power as well.

isn't he the prime minister or something though? or the eternal general or w/e

Well they consider them both ever-lasting gods, so I'm not sure how much the title matters in the grand scheme of things.

#49 Edited by TruthTellah (9491 posts) -

@azimuttyo: Unfortunately, as far as Vietnam has come, it is still a restrictive communist nation. Though, that can be said of China, as well, even with many of their advances. There's a lot to like about Vietnam, but there is still plenty of that old influence holding it back. They're trying to improve their image with expats, but my family is still not welcome thanks to their support of the South Vietnamese government. When you've had your possessions and land taken and friends and family kept out simply because of the history there, it's hard to appreciate many of their areas of progress. I have a friend living there now, and while she seems to be enjoying it quite a bit, she does complain at times about how the government seems to run things(or fails to effectively do so at times). I'd agree that it's not the monstrous regime it once was, but it's still not where it needs to be. A nice and beautiful place to visit if you can though.

@troll93: Regardless of how much better North Koreans' lives may be under Chinese rule vs North Korean rule, it is extremely unlikely. The Chinese government has no interest whatsoever in taking over North Korea or taking care of its millions of people. There is basically no positive for them in that scenario. They like North Korea as a buffer for South Korean and US influence, but if they took over North Korean territory, they'd both not have that buffer -and- have to take care of that population. China would rather have South Korea right on their border after South Korea had taken control of North Korean territory than South Korea right on their border after China had taken control of North Korean territory.

The biggest thing concerning China with any conflict in North Korea is refugees, and considering they already have so many to take care of, it's no wonder that they are more and more worried about the prospects of a conflict that they know will likely lead to many fleeing within their borders for protection.

@ohnobruno: Kaesong was also a primary source of hard currency for North Korea, allowing them to make more trades with foreign nations and companies. That was a major part of why they grasped to it for so long. And it's why they also clamor for hard currency from foreigners paying for their stays. Now, there isn't really an apparent, big source of such currency without them reaching some kind of appeasing support deal. Though, that's seeming unlikely at the moment, leading to an odd scenario where North Korea's economy really will be hindered if they don't do something.

#50 Edited by AziMuttyo (82 posts) -

@truthtellah: I know it's still restrictive, like the fact that while we can talk about the government, we can't write about it (not even good things).

I ment more that when I got here I expected to be political police at every corner watching us and propaganda everywhere but instead no one gives a damn what we do and instead of propaganda there's KFC and supermarkets.

I am aware about the risks of owning property here, but as of now I live with my gf and before that I payed rent, so I don't actually own anything (except my laptop, phone and clothes).

PS: I have to say, Ho Chi Minh looks fucking dope, although I could do without all the rice and noodles...