The Human Truth Foundation

Korea, North (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)

By Vexen Crabtree 2013


Comments:
FB, LJ

#climate_change #korea,_north #the_environment

North Korea
Democratic People's Republic of Korea
StatusIndependent State
CapitalPyongyang
Land Area 120 410km21
LocationAsia
Population24.6m (2011)2
Life Expectancy70.52yrs (2017)3
GNI
ISO3166-1 CodesKP, PRK, 4084
Internet Domain.kp5
CurrencyWon (KPW)6
Telephone+8507

1. Overview

An independent kingdom for much of its long history, Korea was occupied by Japan beginning in 1905 following the Russo-Japanese War. Five years later, Japan formally annexed the entire peninsula. Following World War II, Korea was split with the northern half coming under Soviet-sponsored Communist control. After failing in the Korean War (1950-53) to conquer the US-backed Republic of Korea (ROK) in the southern portion by force, North Korea (DPRK), under its founder President KIM Il Sung, adopted a policy of ostensible diplomatic and economic "self-reliance" as a check against outside influence. The DPRK demonized the US as the ultimate threat to its social system through state-funded propaganda, and molded political, economic, and military policies around the core ideological objective of eventual unification of Korea under Pyongyang's control. KIM Il Sung's son, KIM Jong Il, was officially designated as his father's successor in 1980, assuming a growing political and managerial role until the elder KIM's death in 1994. KIM Jong Un was publicly unveiled as his father's successor in September 2010. Following KIM Jong Il's death in December 2011, the regime began to take actions to transfer power to KIM Jong Un and KIM has now assumed many his father's former titles and duties. After decades of economic mismanagement and resource misallocation, the DPRK since the mid-1990s has relied heavily on international aid to feed its population. The DPRK began to ease restrictions to allow semi-private markets, starting in 2002, but then sought to roll back the scale of economic reforms in 2005 and 2009. North Korea's history of regional military provocations; proliferation of military-related items; long-range missile development; WMD programs including tests of nuclear devices in 2006, 2009, and 2013; and massive conventional armed forces are of major concern to the international community.

CIA's The World Factbook (2013)8

Book CoverMost people form their opinions of North Korea from news reports and James Bond movies, but there´s more to the Democratic People´s Republic than military parades and stand-offs with the UN. No country in the world provokes a similar reaction to North Korea. Now on its third hereditary ruler, this nominally communist state and by-product of the Cold War has defied all expectation and survived a quarter of a century since perestroika dismantled the rest of the once-vast Soviet empire.

Most people don´t even know that it´s possible to travel here, and indeed the compromises required to do so are significant. You´ll be accompanied by two government minders at all times and only hear a one-sided account of history. Those who can´t accept this might be better off staying away - but those who can will have a fascinating trip into another, unsettling world.

With your official minders, you can roam mountain resorts and ancient capitals, though the main attractions remain the bombastic iconography of the North Korean regime and the surreal existence of ordinary people in this troubled, autocratic state.

"The World" by Lonely Planet (2014)9

2. North Korea National and Social Development

#human_development

Social & Moral
Development Index
10
Pos.Higher is better
Points10
1Denmark83.6
2Finland83.1
3Sweden82.6
...
135Micronesia49.0
136Comoros49.0
137Kiribati49.0
138N. Korea48.9
139Solomon Islands48.7
140Palau48.7
141Laos48.4
142Togo48.3
World Avg55.4
q=198.

The Social and Moral Development Index concentrates on moral issues and human rights, violence, public health, equality, tolerance, freedom and effectiveness in climate change mitigation and environmentalism, and on some technological issues. A country scores higher for achieving well in those areas, and for sustaining that achievement in the long term. Those countries towards the top of this index can truly said to be setting good examples and leading humankind onwards into a bright, humane, and free future. See: What is the Best Country in the World? An Index of Morality, Conscience and Good Life.

3. Population and Demographics

#birth_control #demographics #health #immigration #life_expectancy #longevity #North_Korea #overpopulation #population

Old-Age Dependency Ratio (2016)11
Pos.Lower is better
Per 10011
1Uganda04.3
2Mali04.5
3Chad04.7
...
107Brunei16.2
108El Salvador17.3
109Panama17.7
110N. Korea17.8
111Turkey18.0
112Vietnam18.3
113Tunisia18.6
114Azerbaijan18.7
World Avg18.3
q=185.
Emigrants (2010)12
Pos.
%12
1Dominica104.8%
2Palestine68.4%
3Samoa67.3%
...
166Cameroon1.4%
167Malawi1.4%
168Congo, DR1.3%
169N. Korea1.3%
170Thailand1.2%
171UAE1.2%
172Mongolia1.2%
173Kenya1.1%
World Avg11.5%
q=192.

Fertility Rate (2013)13
Pos.2.0 is best13
1N. Korea2.00
2Brunei1.99
3St Vincent & Grenadines2.01
4France1.99
5Turkey2.04
6Australia1.96
7Uruguay2.05
8Norway1.95
9Myanmar (Burma)1.95
10Indonesia2.07
11Sweden1.93
12Tunisia1.93
World Avg2.81
q=180.

The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

Immigrants (2010)12
Pos.
%12
1Qatar86.5%
2Monaco71.6%
3UAE70.0%
...
183Colombia0.2%
184Madagascar0.2%
185Myanmar (Burma)0.2%
186N. Korea0.2%
187Morocco0.2%
188Cuba0.1%
189Peru0.1%
190Vietnam0.1%
World Avg9.2%
q=192.
Life Expectancy (2015)14
Pos.Higher is better
Years14
1Hong Kong84.16
2Japan83.68
3Italy83.34
...
111Ukraine71.13
112Azerbaijan70.90
113Kyrgyzstan70.79
114N. Korea70.52
115Trinidad & Tobago70.52
116Russia70.26
117Fiji70.15
118Belize70.08
World Avg71.27
q=190.
Population (2012)15
Pos.
Population15
1China1.4b
2India1.3b
3USA315.8m
...
46Uzbekistan28.1m
47Yemen25.6m
48Ghana25.5m
49N. Korea24.6m
50Mozambique24.5m
51Australia22.9m
52Madagascar21.9m
53Romania21.4m
World Avg36.0m
q=195.

North Korea's population is predicted to rise to 26.18 million by 2030. This rise is despite a low fertility rate, meaning, that this country is helping to alleviate problems with growing population in neighbouring countries by accepting immigrants, very likely as a requirement of maintaining an active workforce. This country has a fertility rate of 2.00. The fertility rate is, in simple terms, the average amount of children that each woman has. The higher the figure, the quicker the population is growing, although, to calculate the rate you also need to take into account morbidity, i.e., the rate at which people die. If people live healthy and long lives and morbidity is low, then, 2.0 approximates to the replacement rate, which would keep the population stable. If all countries had such a fertility rate, population growth would end. The actual replacement rate in most developed countries is around 2.1.

4. Human Rights, Equality and Freedom

#equality #freedom #human_rights #north_korea #politics #tolerance

This is a fully totalitarian dictatorship with no pretence to embrace any modern concept of human rights nor personal freedom16,17. N. Korea does better than average in terms of the year from which women could participate in democracy18. But unfortunately N. Korea gets most other things wrong. It does worse than average when it comes to LGBT equality19. It sits amongst the bottom 20 in commentary in Human Rights Watch reports20 (amongst the lowest in Asia), its Global Peace Index rating21 (amongst the highest in Asia) and in its nominal commitment to Human Rights22. It is second-from-the-bottom when it comes to fighting corruption23 and in supporting press freedom24. And finally, it is the worst in eliminating modern slavery25. Of the millions of North Koreans subject to slavery, the "clear majority" are being held in forced labour by the state itself26. The Lonely Planet guide for traveller says that visiting North Korea is "a fascinating trip into another, unsettling world... with your official minders, you can roam mountain resorts and ancient capitals, though the main attractions remain the bombastic iconography of the North Korean regime and the surreal existence of ordinary people in this troubled, autocratic state"9.

For tables, charts and commentary, see:

5. Peace Versus Instability

#human_development #North_Korea #peace #politics

Global Peace Index (2012)21
Pos.Lower is better21
1Iceland1.11
2New Zealand1.24
3Denmark1.24
...
148Pakistan2.83
149Israel2.84
150Central African Rep.2.87
151N. Korea2.93
152Russia2.94
153Congo, DR3.07
154Iraq3.19
155Sudan3.19
World Avg2.02
q=157.

"The 2012 Global Peace Index is the sixth edition of the world's leading study on global levels of peacefulness. The GPI ranks 158 nations using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly respected sources, which gauge three broad themes: the level of safety and security in society; the extent of domestic or international conflict; and the degree of militarisation. By generating new information on the state of peace at the national and global level, the Institute for Economics and Peace hopes to make a valuable contribution to better understanding how civil society, researchers, policymakers, and government can create a more peaceful society"21. The most peaceable countries in the world are Iceland, New Zealand and Denmark21 and the worst are Somalia, Afghanistan and Sudan21.

6. Religion and Beliefs

#buddhism #christianity #hinduism #islam #judaism

Data from the Pew Forum, a professional polling outfit, states that in 2010 the religious makeup of this country was as follows in the table below27:

Christian2%
Muslim0.1%
Hindu0.1%
Buddhist1.5%
Folk Religion12.3%
Jew0.1%
Unaffiliated71.3%

The CIA World Factbook has slightly different data, and states: traditionally Buddhist and Confucianist, some Christian and syncretic Chondogyo (Religion of the Heavenly Way). note: autonomous religious activities now almost nonexistent; government-sponsored religious groups exist to provide illusion of religious freedom28.

Links:

7. Public Health Issues

#alcohol #genetics #health #North_Korea #obesity #public_health #smoking #sociology #UK

North Korea does relatively well in encouraging good health, compared to many other countries. N. Korea performs the best in terms of its adolescent birth rate29. It does better than average for the prevalence of overweight adults30, its alcohol consumption rate31 (but high for Asia) and in its immunizations take-up32 (but bad for Asia). N. Korea does not succeed in everything, however. It does worse than average when it comes to its smoking rate33 (still low for Asia). The prevalence of overweight adults has increased by 14% during the last 40 years.

Alcohol Consumption (2016)31
Pos.Lower is better
Per Capita31
1Bangladesh0.0
2Kuwait0.0
3Libya0.0
...
65Gambia3.8
66Israel3.8
67UAE3.8
68N. Korea3.9
69Honduras4.0
70Jamaica4.2
71Sri Lanka4.3
72Bahamas4.4
World Avg6.2
q=189.

There is nothing wrong with drinking modest and sensible amounts of alcohol but fitness, physical health, mental health and long-term health all suffer as a result of medium- or heavy- drinking34 and the health risks to the baby when pregnant mothers drink35 are well-known. Aside from the effects on the individual, alcohol misuse impacts on entire economies36 via increased health service costs, policing costs and lost days' work. Worldwide, alcohol misuse is "among the top five risk factors for disease, disability and death" and is a "cause of more than 200 disease and injury conditions in individuals, most notably alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis, cancers and injuries"37. "In 2012... 5.9% of all global deaths, were attributable to alcohol consumption"38. Deaths from chronic alcohol misuse have been rising for decades, and so has violence, abuse, vandalism and crime all associated with alcohol over-use. The aggression and crime associated with alcohol in some Western countries infringes on the human rights of those who want nothing to do with such behaviour. Many of the social effects of alcohol are psychological and cultural; i.e., people don't have to behave criminally or destructively whilst drunk - it is a culturally learned behaviour. Experiments have shown that behaviour can be controlled: Those who do not wish to behave badly whilst drunk, will not do so.

Overweight Adults (2016)30
Pos.Lower is better
%30
1Vietnam18.3
2India19.7
3Bangladesh20.0
...
52Ghana32.0
53China32.3
54Mauritius32.3
55N. Korea32.4
56Thailand32.6
57Cameroon33.6
58Mauritania34.4
59Cape Verde34.8
World Avg49.0
q=191.

About one third of the global population is overweight or obese39. Most Western countries are facing an obesity epidemic. Our cultures are having to change to compensate for widespread ill-health. It is costing our health systems a massive amount of money, and is having negative effects on national economies. The situation has persisted for a suitable length of time for our very perceptions to change; opinions on "normal weights" for people and "average sizes" for clothes has shot up40. Over 2 in 3 adults in the UK are overweight40 and this costs the NHS £5.1 billion per year41 and "costs Britain's economy £47bn a year; more than war, terrorism or armed violence"42. We are forgetting how to be healthy.

The causes are not genetic. Most people who say obesity "runs in their family" are wrong. The rate of increase in obesity is many, many times too fast to be accounted for by a change in inherited genes43. Our culture and lifestyle choices are to blame. The causes of the modern obesity epidemic are processed foods, low levels of physical exercise, over-indulgence, poor choices in food products, poor knowledge of nutrition. Most of this is made much worse by well-funded advertising campaigns by food manufacturers selling cheaper mass-produced food. Even some so-called "health foods" contain well over recommended limits of fat, salt and sugar44.

Smoking Rates (2014)33
Pos.Lower is better33
1Guinea 15
2Solomon Islands 26
3Kiribati 28
...
94Malaysia 584
95Seychelles 590
96Jamaica 593
97N. Korea 610
98Fiji 618
99Cambodia 645
100Equatorial Guinea 649
101Singapore 652
World Avg 819
q=182.

8. Children's Health

#health #North_Korea #parenting #population #vaccines

Adolescent Birth Rate (2015)29
Pos.Lower is better
Per 100029
1N. Korea0.5
2S. Korea1.6
3Switzerland2.9
4Hong Kong3.2
5Slovenia3.8
6Singapore3.8
7Netherlands4.0
8Denmark4.0
9Japan4.1
10Cyprus5.0
11Sweden5.7
12Norway5.9
World Avg47.9
q=185.
Infant Immunizations 2011-2015 (2015)32
Pos.Higher is better
Avg %32
1Hungary99.0
2China99.0
3Uzbekistan98.9
...
82Germany94.0
83Lithuania93.9
84Estonia93.9
85N. Korea93.8
86Italy93.8
87Austria93.8
88Argentina93.7
89Bulgaria93.7
World Avg88.3
q=194.

9. More Charts and Comparisons to Other Countries

There isn't much information in the database for North Korea, most likely because it is either a part of another country (i.e., a territory or posession) and therefore most international statistics are counted for the country as a whole, or, this is such an exotic place that little data exists about it.