Wavering into Capitalism: The Politics of Sustenance in North Korea
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In the 1990s, a catastrophic famine engrossed North Korea. The famine not only claimed thousands of innocent lives but also the social, economic and political principles which had governed the nation since its founding. This paper contends that the famine engendered the rise of a rights-consciousness among North Korean working class citizens. In particular, the famine compelled the rise of bottom-up markets among common North Koreans, as the state failed to uphold its end of caloric compact, which then radically shifted the moral frameworks of the people. The nature in which these frameworks shifted is the focus of my paper. Chronicling the market protests which transpired during the late 2000s, this paper unveils the emergence of a novel constellation of power between the private citizen and the state in consequence of the markets engendering a rights-consciousness.