Sunday, January 3, 2010

Rumblings in North Korea, Possible Civil Uprising?

I am not holding my breath on a full fledged revolution any time soon, but even expressing displeasure with the government in North Korea is an impressive enough display of dissidents to keep an eye on. I have been looking out for an update to this but have not come across one yet. (via)

The immediate cause of the anger sweeping North Korea is a currency "reform" that amounts to the government stealing from its own deprived population. With its priorities on bankrolling the military and the production of missiles and nuclear weapons, while its people endure repression, cold and hunger, North Korea's government has produced runaway inflation. On Dec. 1, North Korean authorities imposed a surprise plan to revalue the country's currency, the won. The plan has entailed issuing new banknotes, lopping off two zeroes, so 1,000 won becomes 10. People were given just one week to swap old money for new, after which the old notes would become worthless. A limit was placed on the amount that could be officially exchanged, effectively confiscating all individual savings worth more than about $40 at informal exchange rates.

This caused so much outrage that the government then eased up slightly, raising the limits on how much old currency people could trade for new. But even with the adjustment, many North Koreans have been left with outright state theft of their money.

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