CPH-R
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Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:35 pm

Didn't see this elsewhere, but it looks like the people of North Korea are in for a rough patch. Basically the North Korean Won has been revalued, cutting off two zero's off its value and wiping out peoples savings in the process.

http://www.freekorea.us/2009/12/01/n...cy-wipes-away-savings-of-millions/
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2009/12/01/AR2009120101790.html

This guy is summing it up just about right

Quote:
Let me make it absolutely clear: This is some serious stuff. North Koreans under Kim Jong-il largely just do what they can just to survive in the Stalinist state, and for many that may mean engaging in black-market activity. Or even just relying on those who engage in black-market activity, like the private markets that sell food. If these things dry up or dissipate, so too do their odds of making it into next year diminish. This is a grave turn of events

http://kushibo.blogspot.com/2009/12/...h-koreas-currency-revaluation.html
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:39 pm

Sooner or later the state of North Korea the way it is known today will go down, and become more capitalized. With all the media we have today and the globalization going on it can only be a matter of time.
 
UAL747
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 7:56 pm



Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 1):
Sooner or later the state of North Korea the way it is known today will go down, and become more capitalized. With all the media we have today and the globalization going on it can only be a matter of time.

Global media doesn't reach the people of North Korea unfiltered, if it reaches them at all. That society is entirely cut off from the rest of the world. I seriously doubt the media we have today or globalization are going to cause a revolution in N. Korea. The N. Koreans are going to have to get fed up with everything in masses and overthrow the regime, or they will sit and someone will end up doing it for them. Either way, a lot of lives will be lost, sadly. Why this country seems so arrogant and cut off, I don't really know.
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DocLightning
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 9:48 pm

So I wonder what happens when they can't buy any more stuff for their military? Or for their leaders' lavish lifestyles?

Either way, while my heart goes out to the North Koreans, it is not the job of the U.S. to go in and topple the regime unless it directly threatens our security. End of story.
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CPH-R
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 10:39 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
Either way, while my heart goes out to the North Koreans, it is not the job of the U.S. to go in and topple the regime unless it directly threatens our security. End of story.

I don't think anyone is expecting that at all.

From what I've been reading around the web, this move could pose a serious threat to the North Korean regime. Take a look in your wallet. If you have more than $40 in cash, you're richer than every single North Korean is going to be after this. And unless there's some special channels set up, that is going to include members of the military, the political machinery and just about everyone that's holding the North Korean society in check.

Why should they continue supporting the regime?
 
PacNWjet
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:00 pm



Quoting UAL747 (Reply 2):
Why this country seems so arrogant

Countries are not people (the writings of some political scientists notwithstanding) and they don't have feelings (e.g., arrogance). Countries are made up of people, as are governments. In the case of North Korea, the government is comprised of a dynastic leader and his toadying sycophants who either agree with him ideologically about the necessity of absolute control of the country, benefit monetarily by being part of the regime, or merely follow him out of fear for their own lives if they defy him (or some combination thereof). It's called despotism, it's not new in the world, but is a form of government that is increasingly rare and therefore stands out in the world as a curiosity. In the past, when governance of this nature was more common, people just took it for granted.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:03 pm



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
So I wonder what happens when they can't buy any more stuff for their military? Or for their leaders' lavish lifestyles?

This is irrelevant, I'm afraid. North Korea's Won isn't used for the little international trade. As a matter of fact, no other country, not even China, recognizes the Won for exchange.

What I don't ger is: Are they "just" cutting off two zero's from the bills or from the price tags as well? If the latter is the case, people would not have to fear losses, at the same time, the re-issue would not spoil the unofficial economy as the article suggests, or am I completely wrong?
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LTU932
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:19 pm



Quoting UAL747 (Reply 2):
Global media doesn't reach the people of North Korea unfiltered, if it reaches them at all. That society is entirely cut off from the rest of the world. I seriously doubt the media we have today or globalization are going to cause a revolution in N. Korea. The N. Koreans are going to have to get fed up with everything in masses and overthrow the regime, or they will sit and someone will end up doing it for them. Either way, a lot of lives will be lost, sadly. Why this country seems so arrogant and cut off, I don't really know.

It's not that easy. Most North Koreans are brainwashed since they are children into believing that Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are almost gods. It's very difficult for any dissident (and there are only very few of them) to fight a system that established itself on personal worship, propaganda and brainwashing. Most are either summarily executed when found, and even if they manage to escape the DPRK, their lives will continue to be in danger because of DPRK operatives abroad. It seems to me that the only way for the regime to be deposed, is through civil war, or if they have the crazy idea of ending the armistice with the ROK (technically, North and South are still at war after all).

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
Either way, while my heart goes out to the North Koreans, it is not the job of the U.S. to go in and topple the regime unless it directly threatens our security. End of story.

Doesn't their nuclear programme indirectly threaten the security of the United States, as well as that of Japan and the ROK, two of their most important economic and military allies in Asia?
 
whappeh
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Thu Dec 03, 2009 11:47 pm

I'm more shocked that North Korean people had "savings".
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DocLightning
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:11 am



Quoting LTU932 (Reply 7):

Doesn't their nuclear programme indirectly threaten the security of the United States, as well as that of Japan and the ROK, two of their most important economic and military allies in Asia?

Yeah, that "indirectly" argument is what got us into Korea, Vietnam, Iraq (twice), etc. Look, the rise in the power of the Euro indirectly threatens the security of the United States by weakening the Dollar.

Should we invade Europe? I mean, we did it once before...  duck 
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ltbewr
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 2:06 am

It may be sorry to say, but it may take the deaths of maybe 20-25% of the NK population from starvation to bring any hint of change. Some NK citizens may have to kill thier children, an elderly or sick family member or themselves to have enough food. Some may sell their young daughters to men in the PRC desprite for marriagable women, something that has been happening for a while. (The PRC's 1-child polices has meant abortions of many females, so overall there are about 5 men for every 4 woman in much of the country).

Until there is enough mass suffering causing people to rebel, figuring they have nothing to lose except their terrible lives, nothing will happen.
 
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 1:51 pm



Quoting Whappeh (Reply 8):
'm more shocked that North Korean people had "savings".

you get "money" but there are no goods which you can buy for that money. That creates huge savings on tiny incomes, same situation in East Germany, except that they could change it to rreal money 1:1 in 1990. (and they had a better lifestyle then the North Koreans ever will have)

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 6):
hat I don't ger is: Are they "just" cutting off two zero's from the bills or from the price tags as well?

That will be announced on Monday, likely that prices will increase to prevent that savings can be "amassed" in the future.

Quoting DocLightning (Reply 3):
So I wonder what happens when they can't buy any more stuff for their military? Or for their leaders' lavish lifestyles?

They sell more slaves on the world market (no kidding, sweat shops with North korean workers have been discovered in Czekia), the sell weapons and nuclear technology to iran and Lybia or they simply blackmail the world with their own nuclear program and whetaver else criminal energy will produce..

There will always be enough money for Unlce Kims rare old Cognac, his porn collection and whatever else gets him through the night, there will always be enough for the top brass and the military will also not suffer from the re-valuation of the won.

Corrupt dictators make sure about that first thing.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:09 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 6):
Are they "just" cutting off two zero's from the bills or from the price tags as well? If the latter is the case, people would not have to fear losses, at the same time, the re-issue would not spoil the unofficial economy as the article suggests, or am I completely wrong?

The objective of this move is to get rid of "too much" money among the population and reduce its purchase power, which is unwelcome in the economy of shortege of everything and which creates too much demand which the state is not able to saturate.
The catch is that technically they "just" erase two zeros from the bill but in reality the prices in state-run shops may (or may not) be adjusted in a symmetrical manner, however prices on black and non-state run markets which is tolerated in NK after the famine in 2000 are governed by market forces (early reports say that the price of rice already went up 15x).

Another catch may be that there is usually different ratio used for converison of cash and different ratio used for money deposited on accounts and/or there is a certain ceiling set which will let people exchange only certain amount of their savings, the rest at less favorable rate or will not let them exchange at all, e.g. first xy thousand won converted at 1000:1 the rest e.g. at 100,000:1). Supposedly in NK the limit for exchange of old wons for new ones is 100,000 won per household - whether that means household as we understand it i.e. parents+kids or household in broader sense as it is understood in Korea it doesn't say.

BTW, this is what communists did in Czechoslovakia in 1953, which resulted in us being kicked out of the IMF and CS koruna being no longer convertible (the formula was for cash: 1-300 CSK exchanged at 5:1, anything above 300CSK at 50:1; deposited money: 1-5000 CSK 5:1, 5k-10k CSK at 6.25:1, 10k-20k CSK at 10:1, 20k-50k at 25:1, anything above 50k CSK converted at 30:1).
In North Korea this is already a fifth such state-organized robbery. First was in 1947 followed by 1959, 1979, 1992 and 2009.

Quoting PanHAM (Reply 11):
Czekia

By all means you are more than welcome to use spellcheck...  Wink
 
Flighty
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 3:45 pm

My heart goes out to the NKoreans.

The story of NK is one of the saddest tragedies of our time. It is such a waste. Korea is a fabulous country that was wounded by an accident of history.

Quoting LTBEWR (Reply 10):
It may be sorry to say, but it may take the deaths of maybe 20-25% of the NK population

That already happened. They did not rebel in the past. This is a deeper problem that may never solve itself organically. They might all die first. The more I learn about the Korean mindset, the more I understand the concept of loyalty and duty, and mind over matter. A revolution due to complaints is not something easily conceived.

My SK colleagues are not optimistic it will be solved in this lifetime.
 
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:15 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 13):
That already happened. They did not rebel in the past. This is a deeper problem that may never solve itself organically. They might all die first.

Put's into perspective all the mindless arguments we get into on this continent over who's rich and who's poor -- and how you define poverty. If ever a country was in dire need of regime change, this one must be at the top of the list. But they don't have anything anyone wants, I guess.
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 4:28 pm



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 12):
By all means you are more than welcome to use spellcheck...

accept my sincere apologies, I know I am awful on that , especially when in a hurry and since you split up I haven't "loaded" the new name properly. I will improve, promise.
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:14 pm



Quoting CPH-R (Thread starter):
for a rough patch

Uh ? ... that is the understatement of the day... Try a rough century patch and it would be more like it.
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kaitak
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 6:16 pm



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 11):
That will be announced on Monday, likely that prices will increase to prevent that savings can be "amassed" in the future.

Call me Mr. Thicky, but am I reading this correctly? Is that the only reason - to prevent savings being amassed? I thought that even NK was starting to recognise the virtues of free enterprise and allow private businesses.

I understand that economics "works" (or more accurately, doesn't work) in a totally different way in NK, but I'm trying to fathom whether there is any possible economic advantage to NK here, or whether it's really a move based on political ideology?
 
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LTU932
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 7:07 pm



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 17):
I thought that even NK was starting to recognise the virtues of free enterprise and allow private businesses.

They do not. At most, the government makes joint ventures with companies from the ROK, like in the industrial complex near the border. But as far as free enterprise and private businesses is concerned, Stalinism, as well as the idea of Juche is still alive and well.
 
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:13 pm

Perhaps this could be a very tiny boost to North Korea?
http://www.startribune.com/world/785...72.html?elr=KArksUUUoDEy3LGDiO7aiU

Probably wouldn't make its image not even close to better. And are the people that make these jeans treated fairly?
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PanHAM
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 9:30 pm



Quoting Kaitak (Reply 17):
Call me Mr. Thicky, but am I reading this correctly? Is that the only reason - to prevent savings being amassed? I thought that even NK was starting to recognise the virtues of free enterprise and allow private businesses.

Well, I said that even with the little money people make, they cannot spend all of oit because there are no goods available. That was a phenomena in eats Germany as well, with the exception that somnetime, fashion or pocket calculators were available at astronomical prices. That way, small fortunes of wothless money can be."amassed".

NK has a small private market where people sell agricultural goods., for instance, and these small vendors seem to be the hardest hit. Whatever they made, is null and void by the currency reform.

It is like it always is, socialism is theft and the small people always suffer.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Fri Dec 04, 2009 10:46 pm



Quoting Af773atmsp (Reply 19):
Perhaps this could be a very tiny boost to North Korea?

My guess would be that "Dear Leader" only wants a new fleet of S-Klasses...
I understand the (imhp rather cynical) reasoning behind expoliting the exotic "Made in North Korea" aspect of the product and attempt to appeal to the "responsible" crowd of foolish do-gooders, but forking 200+ USD for a pair of jeans will make as much difference in improving the life in North Korea as buying soap made in concentration camps did for those living in said "facilities"...
 
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:42 am



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 20):
these small vendors seem to be the hardest hit. Whatever they made, is null and void by the currency reform.

Depends if they can exchange them on the black market for Dollars or Yuan. If they can't, the bills pretty much only good for toilet paper or warming their homes, since they won't risk the official exchange.
 
PanHAM
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 6:38 am



Quoting CPH-R (Reply 22):
Depends if they can exchange them on the black market for Dollars or Yuan. If they can't, the bills pretty much only good for toilet paper or warming their homes, since they won't risk the official exchange.

Neither the old nor the new NK Won hs any outside value whatsoever. It is not even traded in China. No chance to exchange for US$ or any other currency.

If that regime ever falls, South Korea has a tremendous challenge, much harder than Germany had and we are still biting on the results 40 years of communism left us.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 1:29 pm



Quoting PanHAM (Reply 23):
If that regime ever falls, South Korea has a tremendous challenge, much harder than Germany had and we are still biting on the results 40 years of communism left us.

German reunification was a picnic compared to what Koreans will be up to one day.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 8:01 pm



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 24):
German reunification was a picnic compared to what Koreans will be up to one day.

Not necessarily. North Korea has large amounts of natural resources the GDR could have only dreamed of.
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 10:42 pm



Quoting NoUFO (Reply 25):
North Korea has large amounts of natural resources the GDR could have only dreamed of.

Do you really think the resources are such to make a difference? What matters is the gap between respective countries. GDR was lagging behind 40 years, North Korea is already lagging 56 and counting. Standard of living in North Korea of 2009 is still light years behind that of GDR in 1989.
E. Germans were in touch with the reality of the West Germany, the real degree of isolation of NK will be seen once the regime falls.
Despite its flaws GDR was not by any means a "failed state", DPRK is.
When Germany reunited, the western part did not have to deal:
- with imminent humanitarian crisis and a task how to feed 22+ million people to prevent yet another famine, South Korea most likely will especially if the regime change occurs before winter.
- with issue how to contain 4th largest standing army in the world incl. its nukes
etc.
 
NoUFO
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:20 pm

Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 26):


All true, and you have forgotten to mention those approximately 200,000 (mostly) political prisoners. But, after the unification, the world will be able to provide enough food to prevent a famine.
I agree that the Korean unification will be even harder to swallow than the German one, but the natural resources of North Korea could provide the funding in mid-term. "Make the German unification look like a picnic" is possibly to strong.

People are a lot poorer compared to East-Germans in 1988 and brainwashed in top of it, but basically North Korea is *not* really a poor country, thanks to its mining industry.
In 2008 NK's economy actually grew by 2.3 percent - despite the crisis. Only the people do not benefit from the growth.

Back to the topic:Perhaps the currency revaluation is going to put the grave situation of the people, as well as human rights back on the international agenda. I'd certainly welcome such move. Sometimes I feel Crazy Kim pushed his nuclear weapons program to distract the world from human rights issues, not only to scare off potential invaders (who wants to deal with NK's problems after all) and boost his political and military weight.

[Edited 2009-12-05 15:22:05]
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LTU932
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RE: Situation In North Korea: Grave

Sat Dec 05, 2009 11:51 pm



Quoting L410Turbolet (Reply 24):
German reunification was a picnic compared to what Koreans will be up to one day.

Agreed. Even with its natural resources, it will take far more as per my below post.

Quoting NoUFO (Reply 27):
All true, and you have forgotten to mention those approximately 200,000 (mostly) political prisoners. But, after the unification, the world will be able to provide enough food to prevent a famine.
I agree that the Korean unification will be even harder to swallow than the German one, but the natural resources of North Korea could provide the funding in mid-term. "Make the German unification look like a picnic" is possibly to strong.

Let's put it in this perspective: In the DDR, the re-unification process to become part of the democratic West concluded just 11 months after the fall of the Berlin wall. During that time, the DDR elected its first democratic government, the currency union was finally introduced on July 1st, and negotiations for re-unification advanced at an impressive rate, with all of the allies eventually giving their blessing.

In the case of North Korea, the process of becoming part of the democratic ROK will eventually take more than 20 or 30 years (at least until the first generation of North Koreans born after Kim's death become old enough to lead), if it occurs. For starters, you need to deal with the brainwashing, then international aid for the reconstruction of the country will be necessary, work has to be done to eliminate minefields and any other attack system on the border when it is being opened, plus it will be difficult to get rid of old and rigid communist structures as quickly as it was for the DDR to get rid of its own. That being said, if the re-unification process starts, then the DPRK will first be nothing more than an ROK protectorate at first, if not a joined ROK-UN protectorate until such time as re-unification can be concluded. But realistically, this ain't gonna happen, at least not in our lifetimes.

In fact, I had a dream recently about both Koreas. In that dream, Krazy Kim finally expired, only this time, unlike when Komrade Kim died, people didn't weep (and if they did, it was because of the uncertainty about the future). It was easy for me to convince them that Krazy Kim was nothing more than a nutjob, and within a short time, regular train service between Pyongyang and Seoul (and I mean genuinely regular, e.g. once every 2 hours with no border checks or travel papers between both regions). Hell, there were even subways running across the border, as if this was Berlin after the fall of the wall. But as I said, it ain't gonna happen in the short to midterm.

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