If you want to know more about North Korea I recommend reading the book The Impossible State
written by Victor Cha, he was George W Bush's top advisor on North Korea.http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006QBDKQS/ref ... 5sb08P9GZH
The Kindle version is on sale at Amazon for $1.99 for today only so if you want it cheap get it before Jan 27. You don't need a Kindle device to read a Kindle book, just download the free software Kindle for PC or Kindle for Mac.http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/r ... 1000426311
Here are some excerpts I found interesting.
South Korea went from an economy that USAID (United States Agency for International Development) specialists predicted would not amount to more than an agriculturally based and light-manufacturing economy to a global ranking as high as the eighth largest economy in the world (now ranked fifteenth), and one of the world’s most technologically sophisticated societies.
Cha, Victor (2012-04-03). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (p. 19). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
In politics, South Korea went from a Cold War anti-Communist military dictatorship to a full-fledged, vibrant democracy. During these early days, America had mixed views about South Korea. It was a bulwark against Communism and the front line of defense to protect Japan, but its authoritarian leaders were human rights abusers who trampled freedom of speech. In this regard, South Korea’s democratic transition and vibrant civil society today stands as one of the most successful cases of peaceful political transition in the history of the modern state system.
Cha, Victor (2012-04-03). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (p. 20). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Something nobody talks about because they're too busy gawking at North Korea.
THE NORMAL NARRATIVE for North Korea that we see used on CNN or in Time magazine goes like this: weak, desperate, and starving country. No money, no friends. An outlaw state. Kooky and isolated leader. But what we fail to understand is that this is largely a two-decades-old, post– Cold War narrative about North Korea that coincided with the first revelations of its pursuit of nuclear weapons in the late 1980s, early 1990s. The media then drew links between the country’s relative deprivation and the leadership’s gambit to shift all remaining resources to becoming a nuclear weapons state. But in North Korean minds, for ninety years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, North Korea was hardly a basket case. It was a well-endowed and well-supported country, which was a model example for communism in the developing world. Looking at the country today though, few people could imagine that North Korea was the most industrialized and urbanized Asian country to emerge from World War II. This was because Japan’s occupation of Korea from 1910 to 1945 left massive industries in northern Korea. Colonial authorities built mines and processing plants for deposits of coal, iron, magnesium, and zinc, which were more plentiful in the north than in the south. The Japanese constructed large nitrogen fertilizer plants, and scores of reservoirs and hundreds of pumping stations, which allowed the North to fully fertilize and irrigate its lands. By 1945, when Korea was liberated by Soviet and U.S. troops, the northern half possessed 76 percent of the peninsula’s mining production, 80 percent of its heavy industrial capacity, and 92 percent of its electricity-generation capabilities. The North Korean government found itself in 1945 inheriting and nationalizing state-of-the-art factories and technology. By contrast, in South Korea, which the Japanese treated as the “bread basket” of the Korean colony, there was no industry to nationalize and only scorched rice paddies.
Cha, Victor (2012-04-03). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (pp. 21-22). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
One can imagine a alternate reality where a Korea that doesn't become divided after WWII and relatively unscathed compared to the rest of the world becomes the leading economy in Asia. The heavy industry of the North meshing perfectly with the breadbasket of the South.
The Korean War from 1950 to 1953 leveled a lot of the North’s inherited advantages. Kim Il-sung’s mistaken calculation to invade the South led, among other things, to U.S. carpet-bombing of the country, which essentially wiped out all Japanese-built industries. (In defending the South, the United States dropped more bombs on the North than they had done in all air campaigns in World War II.)
Cha, Victor (2012-04-03). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (p. 23). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
A continuation of Logical Insanity from WWII.
Though difficult to imagine today, when buildings outside of Pyongyang have no windows or heating, the North was a well-heated and well-lit society during the Cold War. With Soviet help, the North rebuilt large hydroelectric power plants after the Korean War so that by 1963, the country had reached 71 percent electrification, and by 1970 all households and villages were covered, outpacing the South in metrics of both coverage and energy consumption. In 1971, energy consumption in the North (1,326 kW) was more than twice that of the South (521 kW) on a per capita basis. North Korea retained its dominance in energy use right up until 1988, but since then the South has pulled ahead rapidly.
Cha, Victor (2012-04-03). The Impossible State: North Korea, Past and Future (p. 24). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Many people have forgotten but until around 1970 it was South Korea that was the basketcase and North Korea looked the vastly more legitimate and stronger country.