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July 27, 2010


Tim Worstall

When I was working in Russia in the 90s we were affilitaed with an "International Scientific" centre....you've got to have some sort of "krisha" to be able to function there. One member of this institution was from North Korea. His wife, back home, died in the famine.

Being a sufficiently elite that you were the rep to an international institution certainly wasn't enough to protect....which seems to validate what you've got above.


Women also comprise a large majority of the 100,000 or so North Koreans who have succeeded in getting to China

Being cynical, there may be other reasons for that, to do with the economics of the human trafficking business and what work its passengers end up doing.


There's apparently a marriage trade for women going to China, amongst ethnic Koreans and Han, amongst whom Korean women have a good "wifely" type reputation. But I think it would be much easier to suborn women into prostitution within China than to smuggle them out of NK in large quantities for that purpose. As Demick describes it, people still get across in ones and twos and once they hit the PRC side of the Yalu they're usually on their own. China has a massive population and huge wealth inequalities, which tends to mean that demand and supply could largely be balanced internally.

Of course, that doesn't say what happens to women who get to China and find themselves stuck there.

Matt L

So the DPRK is an experiment in post-industrial Malthusian economics. With a little social-Darwinism thrown in for good measure.


And more! I don't think the Kims deliberately set out to starve a tenth of their population as such. It was more a kind of utterly depraved indifference to the consequences of not changing the system once Communism collapsed and they could no longer rely on having the whole juche edifice subsidised by the Eastern bloc.

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