North Korea's Economic Failure

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 19 2011 10:31 AM

North Korea's Economic Failure

North and South Korea viewed by satellite, at night.
The image was made by the orbiting Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellite over regions of the world at night and annotated to indicate the countries shown.

The absolute tragedy of malgovernance and suffering that is North Korea that will probably continue for some time yet despite the death of Kim Jong Il does serve as probably the most convenient illustration imaginable of the importance of political and economic institutions in shaping human destiny. North Korea and South Korea have similar geography, similar culture, similar racial/demographic issues, and totally different economic output thanks overwhelmingly to completely different political systems.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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