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Interesting times in North Korea

I am about to rush off to a dinner date, but there is still time for me to say that, if Instapundit and all his linkages, and all their linkages are anything to go by (look at the links in the first comment at roger l. simon), some really interesting things seem to be happening in North Korea.

If things are going as well as they just might be, then, good. Very good.

If this is all premature, not to say nonsense, then my apologies. It at least looks as if the North Koreans may soon get to eat a little better.

21 comments to Interesting times in North Korea

  • Snorre

    Ahh, NK. I found something once, a satellite photo of Korea taken by night, with the heading going something along the lines of “Communism: The only ideology visible from space.” Can’t seem to find it any more. :/

    And maybe now there’ll be fewer propaganda posters of rockets hitting the Senate and White House?

  • Pete (Detroit)

    the deal seems simple – trade food for uranium…
    What am I missing?

  • Snorre

    Yay! Thank you, mister Morrison!

  • D Anghelone

    Worldwide Per Capita GDP (expandable).

    SatBlog is a good site for aerials though there’s nothing recent for NK.

  • Verity

    I’m just about to stay in, not having been invited to a dinner party, but is this photo same old, same old? Didn’t we all pass this, or similar, round the net about four years ago?

  • Off topic for a sec, congrats to Samizdata for being among the top pics in the Deutsche Welle BestOfBlog contest. Any such acheivement for a non-leftist anti-sheep blog is a feat extraordinaire.

  • Wild Pegasus

    Neither North Korea nor Afghanistan need democracy. What they need is property.

    – Josh

  • Julian Morrison

    “Neither North Korea nor Afghanistan need democracy. What they need is property.”

    More like, they need non-interference with people’s everyday affairs. Property is something that will then happen by itself.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    What the north Koreans need is property and non-interference in everyday affairs. They are both intertwined. Fingers crossed.

  • Pete_London

    O/T (apologies)

    Some may be interested to know that the Civil Contingencies Bill, which was discussed on this site here is now the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

  • Sandy P

    I remember an American blogger posting the opinion of some professor(?) somewhere making the case the most important thing is not liberty, it is guaranteeing of private property rights.

    One really can’t have one w/o the other.

  • Sandy P

    Actually a SorK reporter asked Rummy why should we die for you?

    He told her that a lot of Americans probably asked themselves the same question back in the 50s and recommended she look at that satellite photo.

    I’ve seen it.

    NASA might have it on their site, you never know.

  • Tim Sturm


    Thank you very much for posting this. The thought that that nasty SOB might get his comeuppance has cheered me no end.

  • I see somebody posted the link to globalsecurity.org, but I went ahead and crunched the data a bit differently.
    Here is the DMSP data on North Korea. The difference between North Korea and its neighbor to the south is quite dramatic.

    But what scares me is the growth in China. The lights only tell part of the story – the industrial growth there has been phenomena.

  • Snorre

    Well, China has been progressing a bit towards an open society, hasn’t it? It’s not quite so closed as before, opening up a little by a little–and the economic growth following.

  • mike

    Snorre: have you been to China recently? I don’t see why economic growth per se should be taken as a sign that China is becoming an open society. The open society means institutions premised on guarding the liberty of individuals – such institutions as private property for example. Does China not rely still on a state command economy with property institutions oriented toward collective rather than individual ownership? Do you mean there are signs that this sort of thing is on the way in in China?

    There is an interesting discussion to be had here I think, and to observe etiquette and keep to the thread, anyone able to point to some of the differences between N.Korea and China which may explain the economic stagnation of the one, and the economic growth of the other would have their efforts appreciated.

  • Ed

    I have visited DPRK twice 93 and 95. The main problem was agricultural chemicals..pesticides, fertilisers bought from Ciba Geigy (Swiss and neutral( were not paid for. US and UK Gubmens plus Swedes etc knew this and they could have helped but chose not too.

    Many in Whitehall (UK) knew this.

    Result was food crop failures.

    There are certainly things afoot according to sources I have of visiting business, NGO’s. Looks a little like Libya deal.

    Note elsewheer in US Budget deal Congress have re-directed Iraqi reconstruction funds to Sudan. So they can re-diretc to DPRK if they want …and I guess will…on promises of good behaviour etc.,

    That’s my guess.

    But what do I know ?

  • In the spirit of Mike’s post, I think China studied carefully what happened in the Soviet Union, and learned several lessons – first and foremost, to engage the West economically before you engage it politically. Of course, it takes two to tango, and the West has gone along with this process in a way it never would have with the Soviet’s (we still hamstring trade with Russia in ways we don’t with China – and Russia is struggling to make the transition to democracy). Lenin actually said it best – that the capitalist will sell you the rope you are going to use to hang him with, but the Soviet Union never put that in to practice – China is even as we speak.

    China seems to be sucessfully managing something I thought was difficult to impossible: opening up the economy while keeping the lid on personal freedom and government control. I think this makes it a huge threat to the west in the coming decade.

  • D Anghelone

    China seems to be sucessfully managing something I thought was difficult to impossible: opening up the economy while keeping the lid on personal freedom and government control. I think this makes it a huge threat to the west in the coming decade.

    Have they their Albert Speer?

    A better question might be if they want to threaten the West.

  • mike

    D Anghelone: I don’t know about that. So long as the communist Chinese have the capacity as a potential threat we should keep an eye on them, regardless of whether they want to threaten us. Having said my doom-monger piece, I don’t think the Chinese have ever had imperial-expansionist ambitions in any sense. Their cultural history seems very strange.

    Chuck Watson: maybe opening up economic relations with the West through Nixon originally has simply been a means for the communist state to reinforce its’ power over its’ own people.

    Ed: the agricultural chemicals? I imagined the different economic performance of N.Korea and China to be traceable to the history of strategic decisions made by their respective leaderships. Your story might be an example..