North Korea is experiencing a horrible famine brought on by the insane policies that the regions government has been forcing on its population for decades.
Like many, this government celebrates itself as a “democratic peoples republic”, and claims to have the poor and hungry as their top priority. Yet, despite there being a massive military budget and a rich ruling class, the peasants who are barely allowed to keep any of their own income are starving to the point of cannibalism.
It is important to add that even if this government were somehow benevolent, which would be a true anomaly, they would still not have the ability to efficiently calculate how much food needed to go each region.
One person, or one small group of people cannot possibly predict where resources will be needed or how much will be needed. Likewise, a voting collective cannot accomplish this feat either, because to do so would be an attempt at predicting the whims of millions of people in the future, taking into account personal preferences, births, deaths, changes in weather or environment, or anything else from the long list of things that can happen in life.
The only way that this problem can be solved is by allowing the people to produce and trade freely amongst themselves. The less that this process is restricted, the more wealthy the people of the country will become.
“A starving man in North Korea has been executed after murdering his two children for food, reports from inside the secretive state claim. A ‘hidden famine’ in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae is believed to have killed up to 10,000 people and there are fears that incidents of cannibalism have risen.
The grim story is just one to emerge as residents battle starvation after a drought hit farms and shortages were compounded by party officials confiscating food. Undercover reporters from Asia Press told the Sunday Times that one man dug up his grandchild’s corpse and ate it. Another, boiled his own child for food.
Despite reports of the widespread famine, Kim Jong Un, 30, has spent vast sums of money on two rocket launches in recent months. There are fears he is planning a nuclear test in protest at a UN Security Council punishment for the recent rocket launches and to counter what it sees as US hostility.
One informant was quoted as saying: ‘In my village in May a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.’”
This article suggests that the famine is simply the result of a drought, but the drought is just a recent event that has pushed a systematic problem over the edge.
For years the North Korean government has been notorious for poorly allocating the natural resources that they have put themselves in charge of, creating mass starvation among the general population.
Just a few months ago, it was reported that North Korean farmers are only allowed to keep half of what they produce. Even then, the government was only forced to give them that much because the prior rate of almost total taxation was exacerbating famine conditions.
“The move to liberalise agriculture under Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his father in December last year, would reverse a crackdown on private production that started in 2005. The claim by the Reuters news agency comes amid suggestions that Mr Kim is considering reforms to boost the impoverished state’s economy.
“Peasants will have incentive to grow more food. They can keep and sell in the market about 30-50 percent of their harvest depending on the region,” said the source. At present, most farm output is sold to the government at a state auction price that has diverged from the market rate.”
You don’t see this kind of problem in South Korea, where they don’t have a centrally planned economy, at least, it is not centrally planned to the extent that North Korea is.
The truth behind all of this is revealed a few more paragraphs down in that same article:
“North Korea wants to attract Chinese investment to help it overcome tough sanctions imposed in retaliation for its nuclear tests. Kim also aims to deliver on a promise to make the North a “prosperous” nation by 2012 and to banish memories of his father’s austere 17-year rule. But it is unclear how far Mr Kim can go in liberalising the economy without losing his family’s firm grip on power, most independent analysts say.”
Allowing the economy to become more free by removing restrictions on average citizens to trade and keep their own income would diminish the power of the central government. This is why governments love gaining as much control as they possibly can over the economy.
North Korea is going through a process that Russia, China and many other regimes of the communist variety have went through in the past. In many societies around the world where there are less restrictions, the people can get through a drought without eating one another.
While there is no place on the planet right now that allows human beings to be as free as they should, there are still varying degrees of control, and this is a perfect example that can be used to show the conditions that are created when a certain level of power is achieved by a central authority.
J.G. Vibes is the author of an 87 chapter counter-culture textbook called Alchemy of the Modern Renaissance, a staff writer and reporter for The Intel Hub and host of a show called Voluntary Hippie Radio.
You can keep up with his work, which includes free podcasts, free e-books & free audiobooks at his website www.aotmr.com