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단행본
제 목 Rebuilding North Korea's Economy: Politics and Policy
분 류 북한연구
년 도 2016
저 자

Phillip H. Park 저

발행일 2016.12.01
ISBN 978-89-8421-383-8

간행물 소개




<< Preface >>

'North Korean Studies' as an academic discipline was established in South Korea more than three decades ago. However, North Korea still remains a difficult country to understand not only for the ordinary people but also for most experts. Moreover, North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK hereafter) as a subject of the cognition, especially its economy is the most challenging subject area to understand. Generally speaking, in order to understand a particular country's economy, one needs that country's quantitative as well as qualitative economic data; however, the DPRK stopped publishing official quantitative data since 1963. Even if the DPRK published any quantitative data on its economy, it could only be considered as the state propaganda. As a result, the North Korean economy has become the most unknown realm in North Korean Studies.

As the number of North Korean refugees increased, attempts to gauge North Korean economy through the testimonies of these refugees expanded. However, when one considers the fact that information does not flow freely and only limited information is shared by common people in the DPRK, and that the refugees are likely to reveal subjective information based on their own life experiences, these attempts have a clear limitation.

Recently, there are growing attempts to study the DPRK economy through North Korean texts. Kyongjeyon'gu (Journal of Economic Research) is the most acclaimed North Korean material for the study of North Korean economy in South Korea, and in addition to the Kyongjeyon'gu, Kimilsongdaehak'akpo: Chorhak, Kyongjehak (Kim Il Sung University Gazette: Philosophy, Economics) and Kunnoja (The Worker) also deal greatly with economics and issues that are pertinent to the DPRK. Since Kimilsongdaehak'akpo focuses on economic theory rather than economic reality, it is difficult to analyze the DPRK economy through the Kimilsongdaehak'akpo. Kunnoja is the official bulletin of the Korean Workers' Party (hereafter KWP or the Party). Since the KWP is the sole ruling party of North Korea and most authors of Kunnoja are high-ranking officials of the KWP and members of the Cabinet, these materials from Kunnoja are considered 'must-read' and 'must-analyze' texts in the study of the DPRK economy. Moreover, Kunnoja contains articles that euphemistically or indirectly discuss the KWP economic policies and should be studies prior to Kyongjeyon'gu. In this study, analysis of the DPRK economy from 1956 to 1986 is conducted mainly through the analysis of Kunnoja while Kyongjeyon'gu is utilized to analyze the DPRK economy from 1987 to 2014.

Many North Korean scholars conduct their economic research without depending too much on statistical data because 'economics' is defined in a way that emphasized a qualitative aspect rather than a quantitative aspect. According to the North Korean Dictionary of Economics Volume 1, published in 1985, economics is defined as, "the science of making generalizations about the formation, development, and change in the socio-economic system in each historical development state of people's material economic life and extracting general theories from the systematic analysis of various economic phenomenon." As such, the duty of North Korean scholars who study economics is to find economic order and to analyze economic phenomena from the historical approach stance, and to provide practical policy recommendations.

To find a rule that can be generalized in theory and to devise policies for production and other activities related to the economy are meaningless unless these efforts have their roots in objective reality. In this context, while most articles and essays published in Kunnoja and Kyongjeyon'gu are qualitative, one can find objective facts from the above sources because they have their roots in the reality of North Korean society. Furthermore, since contents of these articles and essays include 'practical policy recommendations,' one can discern changes and developments in the DPRK economy by comparing and analyzing these policy recommendations, which were given in each different time period.

This book is comprised of four parts. The first part of the book deals with the DPRK's particular view on the Socialist Transition. Generally speaking, 'Socialist Transition' refers to the period of transition from a non-communist society to a communist society. As North Koreans are trying to develop their economy according to their own interpretation of the Socialist Transition, it is essential to understand the North Korean perception and interpretation of 'Socialist Transition' before analyzing the details of the DPRK economy.

Chapter 2 covers the period from 1953 to 1986. In this period, the DPRK began to develop a self-reliant economy, but building a self-reliant economy in a small and resource-poor country was extremely difficult and nearly an impossible goal. The DPRK, through a trial and error process, finally came up with the Ryonhapkiopso (Industrial Combinated Complexes, or Complexes hereafter) system. This can be considered a watershed of the DPRK economic system since the Ryonhapkiopso system embodies the rationalization of planning and allows (through in the limited sense) market mechanisms to play a significant role in the DPRK economy.

Chapter 3 is devoted to elaborating and discussing three important findings from the Kyongjeyon'gu (Journal of Economic Research). First, an attempt is made to shed new light on the 'July 1st Economic Reform Measure'. It is generally known that North Korea's version of economic reform started on July 1, 2002, as the DPRK embraced and allowed market mechanisms to function in its economy. However, findings from analysis of Kyongjeyon'gu indicated that economic reform did not start in July 1, 2002, but started ever since the DPRK adopted the full-scale Ryonhapkiopso system in 1986. Second, through a trial and error process, the Ryonhapkopso system was institutionalized in the DPRK and, due to the institutionalization of the system, the DPRK was able to cope with the economic crisis that was triggered by the collapse of the Soviet Union and the socialist economic bloc. Utilization of market, one of the key features of the system, expanded and deepened during the crisis. Nonetheless, it is important to note that the marketization did not emerge spontaneously from the bottom but emanated from above as a controlled and guided marketization. Third, although it was controlled and guided marketization from above, economic means became more important that socialist ideology as markets played increasingly important roles in everyday lives of the North Korean people. In order to adjust to this type of ideological inclination toward the right, the DPRK authority implemented the 'Military First Politics (Son'gun)' while simultaneously emphasizing practical interests (Shilli).

In Chapter 4, North Korean documents (especially Chosonjungangyon'gam (DPRK's Central Yearbook)) are analyzed in an attempt to calculated the DPRK's national budget revenue and expenditure from 2000 to 2012. With these calculations, the DPRK's policy that prioritized investments in research and development of science and technology is analyzed and evaluated.

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<< Contents >>

* Preface/ 11

[Chapter 1] The Early Formation of North Korea's Economy/ 19
1. North Korean Understanding of the Transition Period and the Early Conditions of the North Korean Economy/ 21
2. The Two Axes for the Application of North Korea's Theory on the Transition Period: Ch'llimajagppanundong (Ch'llima Work-Team Movement) and Taeanuisaopchegye (Taean Work System)/ 29

[Chapter 2] Postwar Development and the Introduction of the Complex System (1954-1986)/ 39
1. The DPRK's Path to Postwar Economic Development and Self-Reliance/ 41
2. Ch'llimaundong (Ch'llima Movement) and the Vitalization of the Non-Planning Sector/ 46
3. The Background of the Full-Scale Adoption of Ryonhapkiopsoch'eje (the Complex System)/ 53

[Chapter 3] Solidifying the Complex System and Dealing with Economic Crisis (1987-2002)/ 99
1. Trials and Errors in the Full-Scale Introduction of the Ryonhapkiopso System/ 101
2. Solidifying the Ryonhapkiopso Regime and Economic Decentralization/ 108
3. The Economic Shock of the Early 1990s and Its Aftermath/ 113
4. The DPRK's Response to the Economic Crisis/ 117
5. The Consolidation of the Principle of (Transitional) Socialist Economic Management: The Coexistence of Military First Politics (Son'gun) and Practicalism (Shilli)/ 140

[Chapter 4] Economic Development in the Military and Technology Industries (2003-2010)/167
1. Policy of Valuing Science and Technology and Construction of a Socialist Prosperous Country/ 169
2. Estimation of the DPRK's Budger Revenue and Expenditure/ 184
3. Assessment of the DPRK's Choice and Focus in Its Economic Construction (2009-2012)/ 195

* In Closing: The Next Phase, 2011 and Beyond/ 221
* Bibliography/ 227
* Index/ 253

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