Origins of the Great North Korean Famine: Its Dynamics and Normative Implications
North Korean Review, Vol. 5, p. 105, 2009
18 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2010
Date Written: May 29, 2009
No one knows for sure how many North Koreans died as a result of the food shortages and related diseases in the 1990s, but estimates of premature deaths range from 220,000 to 3,500,000. The purpose of this paper is to study the political economy of North Korea with two goals in mind: the first is to explicate how and why the regime survived such a devastating famine; the second is to observe the normative implications that can be derived from understanding the regime, from an economic and ethical standpoint. Emphasis is not placed on building a generic model that attempts to identify the main causes of famine, but rather on drawing important insights from one of the greatest humanitarian tragedies of our time.
Keywords: famine, food availability decline theory, entitlement theory, political survival, rational deterrence model
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