Prosperity Ex Nihilo

This little article on North Korea’s attempts to build wealth on rhetoric would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

North Korea must make “leaping progress” in 2004 in expanding exports, boosting output of food and other consumer goods and running firms profitably, the impoverished country’s prime minister has told parliament.
Premier Pak Pong-ju told the Supreme People’s Assembly on Thursday at a one-day annual session the communist state aimed to raise dietary and living standards, hike electricity output and absorb foreign technology, the official KCNA news agency said.
“All domains and units of the national economy should wage a mass movement to build their own strong export bases, expand and develop foreign trade in a multi-faceted manner and encourage equity and contractual joint ventures on an extensive scale,” KCNA quoted Pak as telling the assembly in a work report.

North Korea depends on foreign aid to feed about a quarter of its 23 million people. A famine in the late 1990s is estimated to have killed more than one million people and caused up to 300,000 North Koreans to seek refuge in neighboring China.

What’re they going to export, the grass and tree bark that their starving citizens haven’t eaten yet? Earth to Mr. Pak: you can’t just magically decree increased profitability. You need to start with basic stuff like private property rights and individual liberty.
But hey, maybe you guys will be the first bunch in history to make socialism work. Good luck, Canute.

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