Posts tagged North

Kim Jong-Ill’s Furtive $4bn ‘Emergency Fund’

Kim, Jong-Ill with his gang

The Daily Telegraph: Click Here

According to Telegraph, Kim Jong-il, the Supreme Leader of North Korea, has a $4 billion (£2.6 billion) “emergency fund” hidden in secret accounts in European banks that he will use to continue his lavish way of life if he is forced to flee the country.

South Korean intelligences announced that the most of the money was held in Swiss banks, however, Kim Jong-Ill started to transfer them to banks in Luxembourg.

Most of the money is gained from the selling its nuclear and missile technology, making narcotics, insurance swindle, the use of forced labour in its vast gulag system, and the counterfeiting of foreign currency.

I used to live in Kuwait located across the gulf of Middle East, and I remember lots of North Korean laborers working outside under 45~50° Celsius of heat building roads. At the time I thought that they were rightfully paid. However, I realized now that they were actually being exploited to satisfy the pocket of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Ill.

Let’s get the question of why these banks are ‘hiding’ this unlawful money for Kim Jong-Ill. Ken Kato, the director of Human Rights in Asia answers this well.

“Somewhere in the world, there are bankers who are earning a large sum of money by concealing and managing Kim Jong-il’s secret funds, and at the same time, almost nine million people in North Korea are suffering from food shortages,” he said. “I believe the secret bank accounts are now in Luxembourg, or have recently been transferred from Luxembourg to other tax havens.”

So what Ken Kato basically say is that these banks are making profit from hiding Kim Jong-Ill’s secret fund. They can invest, speculate, and profit by using this illicit money. This was the case for banks in Swiss also until they strengthened the regulations related to it. The so-called ‘black money’ from dictators around the world has made these banks’ pocket full of money.

Kim Jong-I’ll is surely the cruel traitor of the Korean people. He could have used 4 billion dollars to recover the economy and most importantly he could have used it for feeding 9 million North Koreans who are starving. It really doesn’t take that much of money (looking at Kim Jong-Ill’s pocket full of money) to buy the rice to feed the people.

Let’s look at the international rice price.

Rice Export Prices

(US $/tonne)

Thailand

Vietnam

California

Pakistan

Egypt

332

407

1102

380

760

<The FAO Rice Price Update – January 2010: Click Here>

As you see in the chart above, the cheapest rice you can get is for $332 per one ton of Thailand rice. Okay, lets calculate how much money is needed to feed the poor undernourished North Korean people. According to South Korean standard, people in average eat less than 10 kg of rice per month.  So we are going to assume that the normal nourishment required for North Korean people will be 10 kg per person. $332/1000kg = $3.32/10kg. So it requires 3.32 dollars to feed a person for a month. Multiply 3.32 by the North Korean population. 3.32 x 23,110,000 = 76,725,200.

So you only need about 77 million dollars to feed the starving people. Compare 77 million to 4 billion. It only costs 0.02% of the furtive emergency fund that Kim Jong-I’ll is hiding in those banks in Europe.

Using 0.02% of this ’emergency fund’ to buy food supply will not only save the people from starvation, but also helps them to recover economy significantly. How could this help the North Korea economy to recover? Simply by feeding the people, the factories could operate properly by having nourished labor force. It’ll will also be a great incentive for the laborers to work hard as their standard of living is obviously extremely low. They’d be smiling not with one of those ‘forced, unnatural smiles’ but with genuine smiles of happiness even with meager amounts of rice. (it is sad, however).

Or, he could just sell one of those cruises and he’ll be able to feed millions. He will be forever remembered as a traitor of his people if he keeps billions of dollars rotting in European banks. Also, the banks that are ‘hiding’ Kim Jong-Ill’s money will be difficult for them avoid criticism for letting 9 million people die from starvation. These banks should freeze his unrighteous money and should follow the UN’s economic sanctions on North Korea.

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Some Ideas for the Seminar

Seminar Question: : Is capitalism so deeply flawed that all attempts to ensure the public good are doomed to failure?

Definitions:

Capitalism: An economic system in which the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned and development is proportionate to the accumulation and reinvestment of profits gained in a free market.

Public Good: A good that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. A good or service that is provided without profit for society collectively.

Examples of Public Good:

  • Health Care System
  • Military
  • Police
  • High Road

Health Care System in North Korea

N Korea healthcare ‘near collapse’: Click Here

Main Point: North Korea’s healthcare system has failed. It does not have medicines in hospitals to cure its patients. Also, it lacks sufficient medical instruments.

North Korea’s health care system charges their people no fees. It is totally free. It is surely a great contrast from United States, which only started to debate whether they should have laws related to health care passed or not. However, there’s a big flaw in North Korea’s medical system. It simply does not have enough medicine and medical instruments to take care of the patients. Virtually, there is no point in going to the hospital because there simply are anything to cure with.

Health Care System in Cuba

Wikipedia: Click Here

Unlike North Korea, Cuba’s health care system is well-developed. It has advanced medical support for its people free of charge. Cuban hospitals are advanced as any other hospitals in United States or Europe. But, they provide medical surgeries with low fee compared to the hospitals in United States or Europe. So it attracted many health tourists for 20 years.

Sum: The example of North Korea’s medical system seems to imply that communist countries cannot provide medical service. However, looking at Cuba’s example, it contradicts to this idea that communism cannot support medical system.

<Pure Capitalism-Mixed System-Pure Communism>

There aren’t countries with pure capitalism or communism in the world. Even North Korea isn’t a pure communist country because it allows South Korean factories to do business in their ‘special economic district.’ Most countries are in the middle part where they mix a little bit of capitalism and little bits of communism.

US, which is the closest to pure capitalism, has failed to support medical services. Its citizens have to pay medical fee on their own. Pure capitalisms always fail to ensure public goods. Socialist (a capitalism but has some aspects of communism) countries such as France has successful medical system. It takes 40% tax on its citizens and use that tax on the public goods. Capitalist countries often have low taxation on its citizens to ensure their economic freedom. However, it makes it difficult for the country to establish a good medical system. As it has low taxation, it’ll be hard to provide government-owned hospitals. Instead, privatized hospitals dominate the medical market of the country and charge extremely high price for its medical service. Even though North Korea would have 100% tax on its people, as its economy is extremely feeble, it does not have any money to do anything. It’ll virtually have no money to establish hospitals and buy medicine even though it taxes its citizens 100%. So public goods can only be supplied when the economy has a firm foundation. However, even though the economy is strong, like US, the tax rate is so low that it cannot support medical services. So it is very important for countries to be communistic when it comes to public goods. However, not so communistic that you end up being like North Korea.

Capitalism is the best thing out there for growing markets ands economy. However, it does not ensure public good to be provided to the people. It is wise for countries to change their economic system to socialist system as soon as they achieved the goal of well found economy by capitalism.

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North Korea in for some currency chaos

North Korea has devalued its currency in a bid to curb runaway inflation. Photograph: Yonhap/EPA

BBC News: Click Here

The Independent: Click Here

Guardian: Click Here

According to BBC News, on 30 November 2009, a decree was issued announcing old North Korean banknotes would be swapped for new ones at a rate of 100 to one. North Korean officials announced that this redenomination was in order to “curb inflation and strengthen planned economy.”

However, this sudden redenomination did not quite work as North Korean government intended. In fact, it resulted in skyrocketing price of rice and inflation. According to a North Korean defector, the price of rice per 1kg rose from 20 Won to 600 Won over a month, which is about 3000% increase.

As a result, nearly all of the ‘markets’ in North Korea shutdown. There are black markets and government-approved markets in North Korea. These markets support approximately 30% of North Korean economy. Therefore, it could be said that 30% of North Korean economy is paralyzed.

Although many Chinese merchants trading with North Korea have food supply to sell, they are reluctant in selling because of the inflation. “For this reason, many North Koreans are dying because of starvation,” according to human rights organization. There was a case of few protests against the North Korean government for starvation.

In my opinion, North Korean economy is walking the same road as Zimbabwe, which suffered about 2200000% inflation. North Korea originally intended to “curb inflation and strengthen planned economy,” however it did not work. North Korea is left with two choice: either open up its economy to  South Korea, or let the economy collapse.

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