The Political Force of Cereal: How Dependent are North Koreans on the State?
Silberstein, Benjamin Katzeff
Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service
GJAA covers topics pertinent to Central, Northeast, Southeast, and South Asia, combining policy prescriptions, academic research, and pedagogical insights on Asia.This paper uses yearly crop and food assessments of North Korea provided by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program to evaluate how dependent North Koreans are on the government for the provision of food, and to what extent private sources prevail. Based on a numerical analysis of harvests and caloric consumption, as well as a geographical analysis of food distribution, this paper advances an argument that sources other than the government are responsible for food supply in North Korea. Although the government remains an important source of food through the Public Distribution System, its crippled capacity to provide resources for survival is likely to have an impact on the strength of bonds between citizens and the state, and ultimately on the political legitimacy of the North Korean regime among the public.
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Georgetown University. School of Foreign Service. Asian Studies Program.
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