The improbable state: the prospects for a developmental turn in North Korea
Fine, John D. B.
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This thesis examines the prospects of North Korean economic reform. It provides a comparative analysis of Chinese conditions that led to the economic reforms implemented by Deng Xiaoping and the conditions that are present in North Korea today. This thesis argues that reform is, in fact, possible in North Korea and that China provides it a viable model with which to do so; however, there are certain criteria that must be fulfilled. This argument takes place in two parts. First, it explores theoretical models of predatory and developmental states. Second, it applies these theories to China and North Korea in order to establish their parallels and determine the prospects for North Korea to become a developmental state. This thesis establishes that North Korea is not inherently doomed to failure, as many seem to claim. Rather, it is entirely possible for the state to survive and even prosper with the right inputs. Unfortunately, this is an improbable outcome because the leadership continually refuses to provide these inputs. This fact has important policy implications. For, if policymakers can negotiate in pursuit of the common benefit of the regime and the people, it provides greater incentive for cooperation.
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