data, governance, human rights facts

Human Rights Facts (17): What Dictatorship Does to You, A Comparison of North and South Korea

Needless to say that North Korea and South Korea, since the division of the country in 1948, took very different roads. If we take a look at the two countries now, and see how differently they developed since 1948 – when they started off at roughly the same level – we can see what dictatorship does to a country.

The differences are startling, even if we put aside the horrible famine of 1995-1998 which killed 1 million people, or 4% of the population. (Almost uniquely in history, this famine was as much an urban as a rural famine. Still today, many farmers are forced to eat grass. Even more than usual, this famine was a “government sponsored famine”).

  • GDP per person is more than 17 times higher in the South than in the North
  • International trade is 140 times higher
  • Power generation is 16 times higher, whereas the population is only a bit more than double (see satellite image below)
  • Life expectancy is more than 10 years higher
  • etc.

(source)

North Korea and South Korea GDP per capita

(source)

Here are two satellite images showing North and South Korea’s Electricity usage in the evening:

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north and south korea satellite image

North and South Korea satellite image

Some more data on North Korea:

data on north korea

(source unknown)
Standard

11 thoughts on “Human Rights Facts (17): What Dictatorship Does to You, A Comparison of North and South Korea

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  11. civrev says:

    If North Korea could get rid of the great disservice to Korea that is its cult of personality the country would be considered fairly impressive. The fact that it has a GDP/c of $1,800 means that provided a full and (very) thorough education to nearly all its citizens is incredible! All the roads and buildings, amenities, cult pictures,murals, choreographed shows, stadiums, military parades, clothing, and bicycles just the shear amount of labor value that goes into that turned towards (hopefully food first) benefiting the people. Why it would be the greatest place on the earth without all that nonsensical propaganda! Sometimes I think that the cold shoulder (understatement) capitalist countries give communist ones make them turn out the way they do, but North Korea seems like it uses every resource it gets to just pummel its unfortunate population. I guess that’s how you know its not socialism. Maybe if communist of the time didn’t have old uncle Joe as their sole role model (Stalin systematically dissolved every real communist theory and idea during his rule either by distorting their work, like that of Marx, or simply discrediting their work altogether like that of Trotsky’s) they wouldn’t have been so crazy during their life and leave behind a legacy which nations are forced to honor just for national unity sake in light of the crushing bombardment of capitalist imperialism. Its like a viscous circle. Also I’d like to note that North Korea’s population gap with the South has actually decreasing proportionally and has been over the last 50 years consistently.

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