The Rise of the State-Market Nexus in North Korea

Tuesday, April 10, 2018
2:30 pm - 4:00 pm, Young Research Library - Library Presentation Room 11348

Guest lecture by Kevin Gray

See below for additional information.

Admission

Free and open to the public.

Contact

Center for Korean Studies
(310) 825-3284
koreanstudies@international.ucla.edu

Website

http://www.international.ucla.edu/cks/event/13148

Additional Information

In recent years, much attention has been directed towards the process of marketisation in North Korea.

It is frequently argued that following the collapse of the centrally-planned economy in the 1990s, North Korean citizens turned to market activities as a means of survival.

Furthermore, the rise of the market is seen as challenging the state’s authority, as seen in the failed attempts by the Kim Jong Il in the late 2000s to roll back the market and dispossess the rising middle class of their new-found wealth.

In this talk, Kevin Gray challenges this view by arguing that marketisation has been a conscious objective of the North Korean state that dates back to before the 1990s crisis. While the expansion of the market following the crisis was in some respects a spontaneous reaction of the public to the economic hardship, the state has also played a key role in the promotion of marketisation.

Thus, rather than a zero-sum process, marketisation has brought new forms of mutually-dependent relations between market entrepreneurs and state officials. Furthermore, the state has been proactive in creating new markets in various sectors and in devising new ways in which market profits can be absorbed into the state’s public finances. By extension, this has important implications for thinking about the impact of international sanctions.

Kevin Gray is a lecturer in International Relations at the School of Global Studies, University of Sussex.

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