No Vox did not actually watch “The Interview” to get their facts, but it was almost as bad as they were citing a New York Times article. In the NYT article they seem paint a much rosier picture of the economy of North Korea than what know to be the established facts about that economy. In essence their argument for putting this bright shiny spin on the North Korean economic outlook… the economy used to really really suck, but now it sucks slightly less. In fact despite trying to put lipstick on this pig they are not even sure of what the actual GDP growth was for last year and are estimating that number somewhere between 1 and 5%, but seem perfectly happy to toss it in the North Korea win column simply because it is a positive number. And the cake topper on this entire article is that they attribute the increasing number of free markets and black market trade as the levels that are keeping this socialist cesspool from finally toppling off the edge. Quick someone call the editor of Vox… one of their reporters just praised capitalism and should be rounded up for reeducation.
Below are some of the highlights taken from the Vox article… and then me hilariously debunking and mocking them.
- Since 2010, government-approved markets like shopping centers have doubled. There are now 440, and they’re growing, according to satellite images. According to U.S. News the workers in North Korea “…earn $2 to $3 per month in pay from the government. Some work on the side or sell goods in local markets, earning an extra $10 per month or so.” So working full time for the government and starting your own business on the side will earn you $13 dollars a month… ah the joys of socialism.
- More than a million people have found employment as retailers or managers in these markets. Considering that it is a country of 25 million people, of which about half live in extreme poverty and a third of the children are stunted due to malnutrition I am going to say that they are a long way from hunky-dory still.
- At least 40 percent of the population is now involved in “some form of private enterprise” — comparable to the levels seen in Poland and Hungary after the fall of the Soviet bloc. Apples and oranges anyone? Seriously how can you compare the rates of participation between countries where the government had just completely collapsed and one that is still there.
- You can find Coca-Cola, once lambasted as a “cesspool water of capitalism” by state propaganda, in some grocery stores. Are we sure that Vox did not mean cocaine? According to The Borgen Project, “It is estimated that 80 percent of residents have used the drug while 40 percent are addicted” which is completely understandable considering they live in a socialist hellhole with soul crushing poverty and governed by a crazy person who uses anti-aircraft guns to execute dissidents.
- Smugglers routinely cross into North Korea to sell pirated copies of Hollywood movies and South Korean television dramas. This one I actually confirmed as true, but I say again it is completely understandable considering they live in a socialist hellhole with soul crushing poverty and governed by a crazy person who uses anti-aircraft guns to execute dissidents.
- More than 3 million people use cellphones, “…but service is spotty and no Internet is available. One popular use for mobile phones: as a “torch” to provide light when the power goes out at night.
- There’s been a boom in construction and cars in the capital of Pyongyang. Yes they also built a fake city on the DMZ to try to trick South Koreans into defecting to the north. The New York Post described it as “Sitting in the heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates North and South Korea, Kijong-dong is widely referred to as the “Propaganda Village” and is believed to be a decoy for luring South Korean defectors.” North Korea has built buildings that were never occupied and they have built fake cities. How do we know that what is being built isn’t more of the typical propaganda that we have seen from them in the past? While satellite images are good they do not show you unfinished spaces within buildings that are never finished or the toilets in high rises that do not actually have running water.
Oh Vox… you scoundrels almost had me convinced. Lucky for me I unlike a North Korean cell phone user have internet and I can simply look up and then debunk the propaganda that you are pushing on behalf of Dear Leader.