North Korea’s Capitalists   Leave a comment

This photo taken on July 28, 2013 shows customers shopping at a supermarket in Pyongyang. Chinese yuan, US dollars, euros and tea bags. Money can come in many forms in North Korea, but as a foreign visitor you'll probably never even see a local banknote, let alone use one. AFP PHOTO / Ed Jones (Photo credit should read Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images)Link: http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2017/10/13/557645729/episode-800-north-koreas-capitalists?utm_term=nprnews&utm_content=bufferffd48&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Summary: Learn about a little group in North Korea, called the ‘donju.’ The economic prosperity that they developed went on to support the country’s nuclear program and contributed to the growth of their economy. This was all made possible when Kim Jong Un began allowing consultants from overseas to educate  North Korean entrepreneurs on accounting, trade, and management. They did this without daring to actually call it a spread of capitalism, as North Korea still remains a strict socialist country.

Original Air Date: October 13, 2017

Length: 24 minutes 25 seconds

Discussion prompt (1): Having listened to this podcast, what type of economic system do you think North Korea has? What impact do you think this system has on people, businesses and the government. Use specific examples from the podcast to support your answer.

Discussion Prompt (2): The podcast points out that in N Korea’s economic system “the state technically owns everything.” How does this impact the ‘Donju’?  Think particularly how it impacts the incentives they face to start and grow a business (contributing to economic development).

Discussion Prompt (3): Why would entrepreneurship not be something typically observed in a Centrally Planned/Socialist country? How are the economic incentives of this system related to this lack of entrepreneurship? According to this podcast, how did the economic actions of the Donju contribute to economic growth in N. Korea?

 

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