#rsrh North Korea flirts with the smallest possible market reforms EVER.

Disgustingly, that still makes this a pretty big deal:

It what could be the most drastic change to North Korea society since the nation’s founding, the government has announced new rules that would give farmers some small bit of ownership over the crops they grow. Under the new directives — which have not been publicly announced, but have been reported by some farm workers — farmers would be able to keep surplus crops, sell them at local markets, and keep the profits. Under the current central planning rules, farmers must turn over everything they harvest to the state, except for what they are allowed to keep for family use.

It’s a hell of a thing when the above represents a Great Leap Forward, as it were.  Then again, Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people, so I suppose that you have to grade the North Koreans on a curve. Or possibly the entire circle*.


Moe Lane

*No, I have no idea what that means, either.  It sounded kind of cool, though.


  • Rob Crawford says:

    A couple of years ago, a judge ruled in a Wisconsin case that Americans aren’t entitled to eat the produce of their own farms/herds. So the Norks may be ahead of us in this one.
    (Apparently the need to keep people from drinking unpasteurized milk from their own cattle trumps property rights.)

  • acat says:

    Rob – that’s very strange .. I am able to legally acquire raw milk in Illinois and I don’t own a cow.

    As for the North Koreans .. they’re *finally* to the point the Plymouth Colony eventually reached.


  • Spegen says:

    The NORKs are about to be surprised by the amount of food that can be grown on their land. Incentive is a wonderful thing.

  • Murgatroyd says:

    The proposed directive appears aimed at boosting productivity at collective farms that have struggled for decades to provide for the country’s 24 million people. By giving farmers such an incentive to grow more food, North Korea could be starting down the same path as China when it first began experimenting with a market-based economy. […]
    Farmers currently must turn everything over to the state beyond what they are allowed to keep for their families. Under the new rules, they would be able to keep any surplus after they have fulfilled state-mandated quotas — improving morale and giving farmers more of a chance to manage their plots and use the crops as a commodity.

    This could just be a cruel trick to make the peasants work harder. The gotcha here is that the North Korean government defines where surplus begins. The farmers might wind up with quotas so high that there’s never a surplus … Kind of like Hollywood Accounting, in which virtually no movies made since 1960 have ever made a net profit according to the studios.

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