A globalized and interdependent world is deep in a financial crisis. Responding to the new tough realities, individual states and regional communities adjust their production and consumption mechanisms. Flexibility and common sense help the economic systems survive and recover. Only North Korea — the last “orthodox” communist state — has no plans for change. Experts predicted North Korea’s imminent collapse in the early 1990s, but it remains defiant and ignorant to the obvious necessity of modernization. The country remains locked in a self-destructive cycle, where ideology controls the politics and faulty policies kill the economy. Self-imposed isolation and external sanctions keep North Korea poor but stable, providing the regime with unconventional opportunities for survival. Isolated and paranoid, it may well stay around for another century.
Paul French’s book “North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula. A Modern History” (first published in 2005) is now in its second edition, revised in 2007. It offers a profound and comprehensive analysis of the DPRK’s political and socio-economic peculiarities and examines the phenomenon of this country’s obstinate denial of reality. A director of Shanghai-based Access Asia, Mr. French boasts the first-hand knowledge of North Korea that positions him well to judge its business practices and domestic policies. Relying on open-source material and personal observations, the author provides a dispassionate analysis of what is known about the situation in this highly secretive state.
Paul French, North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula. A Modern History (2nd revised edition), Publisher: Zed Books, London, NY, 2007, 334 pages.