North Korea is an Industrialised and Urbanised Country

North Korea is an industrialised country. Even during the “arduous march” of the 90’s, it has stuck to industrialisation and modernisation. This is remarkable.

In order to analyse a country, one must first put it under an analytical framework. This is a blog entry, so it is no place for academic rigour. Nevertheless, the author hopes to sharpen the public’s thinking on North Korea. The author would be content if one person gains some understanding of North Korea from reading this article.

The framework here is borrowed from the New Urbanisation Plan published by the Chinese government in March 2014. The framework is as follows. Modernisation is the overall target of a country. Under the banner of modernisation, we have industrialisation, informationisation, urbanisation, and agricultural modernisation. Industrialisation is the driver of modernity. It is what propels a country from a pre-modern economy into a modern one. Informationisation is the new-comer. A country must embrace information technology in order to remain competitive in the 21st century. Urbanisation provides the pool of talent which funnels economic growth. Finally, agricultural modernisation provides the basis of man’s activity.

America has been trying to strangle the North Korean economy ever since the collapse of the USSR. North Korea has not backed down, it has grown. North Korea has made headway on all 4 fronts.

North Korea puts a huge emphasis on heavy industry. It has a relatively comprehensive set of heavy industries, and is therefore quite self-sufficient. North Korea has also embraced information technology. Even though widespread use of personal computers has not been achieved in North Korea, at least in its big cities such as Pyongyang, the government is eagerly training its young men to become proficient in information technology. North Korea is an urbanised country. Its population is concentrated in urban centres. It is not a rural country. Finally, North Korea has made noticeable progress in terms of agricultural development. Arable land is scarce in North Korea. Therefore the government has turned to the sea for food. This strategy has paid off. Although North Koreans do not eat as affluently as Westerners do, at the very minimum, the famines are over. North Korea is not a starving country anymore.

The experience of North Korea demonstrates the importance of persistence. Look at the big picture and decide on a development strategy, and stick to it. Sanctions are an annoyance at best. Do not be shaken by them.

The payoff of all this is that North Korea has entered the nuclear weapons club and satellite-launching club. It will soon enter the ICBM club.