North Korea's (not so) secret economy


Despite decades of shutting down commerce, media and, free speech, the Kim family dynasty has opened their doors to one of the most western concepts of all: capitalism. 

The "donju," or the black market capitalists who have bartered and smuggled their way to a small middle class, have been imprisoned in the past. But more recently, they have not only been tolerated, but trained. 

Western professors, marketers and accounting professionals have been allowed into the Hermit Kingdom to improve business.

Listen to the full NPR Podcast here

North Korea's Dollarization

Among the many changes and outside views infiltrating North Korean's historically hermit-like society, a new study gives insight into a strong economic shift: the dollarization of the economy. 

Measured by what households in NK will save away, the dollar and yuan are the two dominant currencies represented in savings and the black market, even surpassing the North Korean won. 

While the indices used to benchmark the changes in Asset and Currency Substitution are far from perfect, the changes in North Koreans and recent refugees seem to indicate that transformation is taking hold. 

For the full report, click here

Defector Dances in Defiance

Some defectors in London's suburb of New Malden struggle to find a way to contact the family they left behind in North Korea.

However, the severe punishment for those caught with smuggled information or cellphones can often leave refugees to face the harrowing path of resettlement alone. 

For Hyunjoo Kim, she turns to dance. 

Twirling to a song called "By the Love of My Lord," Kim's dance of defiance, one that could have sent her to prison in North Korea, is a symbol of her newfound freedom.

Read the full story here.

Hyunjoo Kim dances at a New Malden restaurant.

Hyunjoo Kim dances at a New Malden restaurant.