North Korea is not the poorest country on earth, but it is undoubtedly the most miserable. Michael Malice has been there, and joins Jeff Deist to discuss the bizarre economics of life in a country with virtually no outside trade. China and Russia provide critical imports, especially oil and grain, without which the DPRK would truly grind to a halt. But this is foreign aid disguised as trade for worthless North Korean "currency." Beyond that a depressing form of autarky reigns, whereby the Central People's Committee creates economic plans that produce nothing but starvation and crumbling concrete. This is a fascinating conversation about "prison camp economics," and how concepts of exchange and calculation scarcely apply where market goods, technology, and price information are almost nonexistent. North Korea is a stark reminder of where omnipotent government leads.
Photo of Michael Malice in video graphic is by Matt Wyzykowski.