If you’ve read a spate of recent reports and op-eds in places like the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal recently, you might have acquired the impression that The Great Confiscation was a fiasco that caused panic, chaos, and an unprecedented swelling of discontent. The North Korean government wants you to know that all of this is all a brigandish, flunkeyist fabrication:
”In the early days immediately after the currency change, market prices were not fixed, so markets were closed for some days,” Ri Ki Song, a professor at the Institute of Economy at North Korea’s Academy of Social Sciences, told APTN. ”But now all markets are open, and people are buying daily necessities in the markets.” [….]
”Outside Korea, many people have been talking loudly about problems that occurred during the change of currency in our country, but there wasn’t any of the social disorder that they have been talking about,” Ri said. ”Now the situation is being stabilized overall, and the economy is functioning well, thanks to some of the measures that have been taken.” [AP, via NYT]
If you say so. And you can’t say they seem to have learned much from recent events:
Ri insisted the government’s objective is to phase out markets completely and rely on a state-controlled network of outlets to supply its citizens.
”Markets will be removed in the future, by reducing their numbers step-by-step, while continuously expanding the planned supply through state-run commercial networks,” Ri said. ”This is our official position on markets. Now, markets are used as a subsidiary means to offer convenience in peoples’ daily lives.”
Either way, I have to wonder exactly how Selig Harrison will manage to interpret this as a subtle signal of North Korea’s desire for economic reform and openness … if only Barack Obama would break the spell of his neocon puppetmasters and engage.