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North Korea’s official history emphasizes the indigenousness and autonomy of the North’s state formation process. Meanwhile, scholars from outside present the North as a satellite or a puppet. This article takes the middle ground and argues that the North’s regime formation is best understood as...
This article explains North Korea’s political framework as centered on suryŏng (supreme leader), in terms of domestic debates about the best developmental strategy to achieve the dual (and often contradictory) goals of building a “socialist utopia" and achieving economic development. In pursuit...
Scholars conventionally suggest one of three causes for North Korea’s agricultural collapse in the mid-1990s: overall economic decline, deficiencies in the socialist collective system, or environmental disaster. In contrast to these explanations, each of which characterizes the North Korean...
Despite increased agricultural output, famine was a growing problem in late Chosŏn Korea, in terms of both frequency and scale. The Chosŏn state developed an elaborate system of tax exemptions and relief aid to deal with crop failure and famine. It is often argued, however, that state...
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