Viewed from afar, North Korea may appear bizarre, or positively irrational. But as Nicholas Eberstadt demonstrates in this meticulously researched volume, there is a grim coherence to North Korea's political economy, and a ruthless logic undergirding it--one that unreservedly subordinates economic welfare to augmentation of political power. Thus, paradoxically, even as official policies and practices consign the DPRK economy to a perilous realm between crisis and catastrophe, the country's leadership maintains unchallenged domestic control and has actually managed to increase its international influence.Through painstaking collection of hard-to-uncover data and careful analysis, Eberstadt provides a quantitative tableau of North Korea's terrible failure in its economic race against South Korea; its stubborn adherence to policies all but guaranteed to stifle growth and undermine economic performance; and the longstanding official effort to ignore, or mitigate, pressures for economic reform.Eberstadt is skeptical of optimistic accounts from South Korea and elsewhere suggesting that the North Korean leadership is interested in resolving the current nuclear impasse, and getting on with the business of reform and development. So long as Pyongyang's rulers entertain the ambition of reunifying the Korean peninsula on its own terms, Eberstadt argues, economic reforms worthy of the name will be subversive of state authority--and vigilantly resisted by Pyongyang's rulers. This authoritative volume has received widespread attention from Asian specialists, well as those concerned with nuclear proliferation and world peace, and international relations professionals in general.
Nicholas Eberstadt holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute. He is also a senior adviser to the National Board of Asian Research, a member of the visiting committee at the Harvard School of Public Health, and a member of the Global Leadership Council at the World Economic Forum. His previous works on Korean affairs include The Population of North Korea(co-author), Korea Approaches Reunification, A New International Engagement Framework for North Korea?, Korea's Future and the Great Powers (co-editor), and The End of North Korea.
Catherine Cavanaugh graduated from Hunter College of the City University of New York and received her professional social work education at Columbia University. She has worked in several family agencies and child guidance clinics in the New York City area. Now engaged in private clinical practice in Westchester and Putnam counties, New York, she specializes in the treatment of family problems and alcoholism.