How bad can it get for Russia if it is cut off from the global economy? We have a case study that suggests an answer. At the end of World War II the Korean peninsula was divided along the 38th parallel into two zones, and these eventually became North Korea and South Korea. Both started in poverty, with the same culture, with families divided by the arbitrary border. South Korea turned outward, plugged into the global economy, and grew to become one of the most prosperous countries on earth. North Korea turned inward and pursued a national ideology of self-sufficiency (Juche). Today, from space, we can see the results of their choices. This is North Korea at night:
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