[SEMU-YÉOL LECTURE] 2018 June / Why North Korea is not a “communist” country, or the unnoticed birth of North Korean capitalism작성일   2018-05-21


Why North Korea is not a “communist” country, or the unnoticed birth of North Korean capitalism

Lecturer: Andrei Lankov                                                         
Professor, Kookmin University

North Korea is commonly described as a ‘Stalinist country.’ This is not wrong, since North Korea was indeed once a near-perfect example of a Stalinist society. However, the last 25 years have seen the emergence and steady growth of the North Korean market economy. Unlike China, North Korea did not experience a top-down reform. Instead, its switch to a market economy was largely a result of a spontaneous grass-roots development which was grudgingly tolerated by the establishment elite. By the time Kim Jong Un inherited his father’s power, North Korea had a large private sector, often interacting with the old centrally-planned economy. Kim Jong Un has had a change in attitude towards market forces. Due to political reasons, he is still reluctant to embrace it openly, but he nevertheless quietly encourages a market economy in creating an institutional and legal framework for North Korean capitalism. This has led to a significant economic growth during the years 2012-2017. Meanwhile, his policy does not include political liberalization and openness, and the country remains highly repressive. So far, this two-pronged approach has worked, even though the tightening of sanctions against North Korea puts its future at risk.


Andrei Lankov is a graduate of Leningrad State University. In the 1980s, he studied at Kim Il-sung University in North Korea. He was also a professor at Australian National University and since the mid-2000s has been employed by Kookmin University in South Korea. He is a well-known scholar of North Korea.
Prof. Lankov has been in many places- from bars in Dandong to conference halls in Washington. His spectrum of interests is quite broad- from the history of old Seoul to modern South and North Korea. Prof. Lankov has written several books and is recently finishing a new book.
Education Room (1st floor), Seoul Museum of History
55 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Date and Time
June 4th, 2018 (Mon)
11:30 A.M. to 13:00 P.M
No Admission Fee.
Registration (required)
Text: 010.4692.6851 (Text Only)
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