Tuesday, July 24, 2012

North Korea - moving towards capitalist restoration and its possible consequences

The reformers?
Stephen Morgan raises some points about North Korea's shift toward reform and its possible consequences. We post here here for discussion and encourage comments from  readers.

North Korea - moving towards capitalist restoration and its possible consequences

I have only been taking a cursory glance at the purges and shuffles taking place inside the North Korean bureaucracy and the moves Kim Jong-un is making towards major economic reforms and some loosening up of freedoms. They obviously fear revolt as "the baggage train of capitalist goods" pour illegally through the Chinese border. They know that the eyes of the North Korean people are being widened as to what real life is like in the advanced countries similar to what happened in East Europe.

So, it seems clear to me that the North Korean bureaucracy is moving towards the restoration of capitalism.

This raises a number of questions for perspectives and the stability of the region, and possibly the world.

Here are some of the factors I see in the equation, which we need to consider and discuss for our perspectives.

1) Kim Jong-un has surely had the go-ahead from China for restoration and is probably hoping to imitate what has happened there concerning the continued rule of the bureaucracy and its transition to a capitalist class with the maintenance of a parasitic state bureaucracy.

2) Is the North Korean bureaucracy hoping to maintain the North Korea as an independent state, in order to preserve their privileges, rather than reunify with the South and face competition from the Southern capitalist class for the best pickings under privatization? Most probably, even though they would essentially become a satellite of the Chinese economy.

3) Therefore, the North Korean bureaucracy is likely to maintain its warmongering rhetoric towards the South alongside some limited concessions to liberalization and democratic rights.

4) What are the dangers that these reforms will open the flood gates. Once a crack is seen in the monolith will a movement begin from below, which the North Korean bureaucracy cannot control?

5) What is the position of the South Korean bourgeoisie? Would they like re-unification or not? I'm unsure, because of the political and economic problems which could arise. We have to take into account that, despite being an Asian Tiger, South Korea is not the powerhouse of capitalism West Germany was in 1989. Re-unification could be a huge drain on the South Korean capitalist class, which it could not afford, creating economic problems and social unrest.

6) Is re-unification with South Korea still a possible perspective regardless of the wishes of the North Korean bureaucracy and maybe the Southern ruling class? Can a revival of re-unification moods grow amongst the people in the South alongside such a movement in the North - probably. A reunification movement in the North would probably lead to a violent crack by the North Korean bureaucracy with a great loss of blood - that would only intensify anger and calls for re-unification in the South and North.

7) This would especially be the case if a mass "East German" style movement evolved in the North from widening discontent with the bureaucracy (and possibly including nationalist issues towards Chinese domination) Could we see scenes of hundreds of people in the North storming border guards and attempting to cross the de-militarized zone? Maybe the North's border guards would crack as in East Germany? South Korean soldiers might advance, without orders, into the forbidden territory to help them. What if cracks opened in the North Korean Army as a whole? Would China send troops in to help the North Korean bureaucracy?

8) Could we then see the development of a"Great Power" crisis with a face-off between the US and China? In the event of severe tension could it cause global economic problems if tit for tat tariffs and the such like were used?

I would enjoy any comments comrades/readers have.

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