It’s perfectly demonstrated in the latest actions of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il (who must surely be on death’s door by now).
Considering what the North needs most urgently at the moment is fertilizer, it would have been natural for Kim to visit the nearby Hungnam fertilizer plant. But instead he went to the vinalon plant, a symbol of the failed socialist planned economy. Vinalon, a synthetic fiber North Korea has developed using carbide extracted from anthracite, is a poor-quality and no longer economically viable. At the same cost, more, better-quality fabric can be imported from China, so no other country in the world produces vinalon for clothing. North Korean founder Kim Il-sung spent no less than US$10 billion on a vinalon plant in Pyongyan Province, which turned in the end into scrap metal. That was a decisive incident that led to the economy’s collapse. The February 8 Vinalon Complex was shut down a long time ago.
With the mass rally for its reopening, Kim evidently intended to demonstrate his pathetic determination that nothing will change in North Korea, ever. There will be no reform nor market opening, even if its economy collapses or it is driven into chaos, and although the prime minister apologized for the failed currency reform. It is a clear signal that Kim will go his own way against the current of history and regardless of what outsiders think. Under these circumstances, how likely is it that Kim will make a forward-looking choice in the nuclear issue?
*cross-posted at James Board
Sound extreme yet, eerily, a tad familiar? Socialism is dehumanising, heartbreaking stuff.