Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform

Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform

by Stephan Haggard, Marcus Noland
     
 

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In the mid-1990s, as many as one million North Koreans died in one of the worst famines of the twentieth century. The socialist food distribution system collapsed primarily because of a misguided push for self-reliance, but was compounded by the regime's failure to formulate a quick response-including the blocking of desperately needed humanitarian relief.

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Overview

In the mid-1990s, as many as one million North Koreans died in one of the worst famines of the twentieth century. The socialist food distribution system collapsed primarily because of a misguided push for self-reliance, but was compounded by the regime's failure to formulate a quick response-including the blocking of desperately needed humanitarian relief.

As households, enterprises, local party organs, and military units tried to cope with the economic collapse, a grassroots process of marketization took root. However, rather than embracing these changes, the North Korean regime opted for tentative economic reforms with ambiguous benefits and a self-destructive foreign policy. As a result, a chronic food shortage continues to plague North Korea today.

In their carefully researched book, Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland present the most comprehensive and penetrating account of the famine to date, examining not only the origins and aftermath of the crisis but also the regime's response to outside aid and the effect of its current policies on the country's economic future. Their study begins by considering the root causes of the famine, weighing the effects of the decline in the availability of food against its poor distribution. Then it takes a close look at the aid effort, addressing the difficulty of monitoring assistance within the country, and concludes with an analysis of current economic reforms and strategies of engagement.

North Korea's famine exemplified the depredations that can arise from tyrannical rule and the dilemmas such regimes pose for the humanitarian community, as well as the obstacles inherent in achieving economic and political reform. To reveal the state's culpability in this tragic event is a vital project of historical recovery, one that is especially critical in light of our current engagement with the "North Korean question."

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Editorial Reviews

Financial Times - Anna Fifield
A rigorous study.

New York Sun - Claudia Rosett
This book belongs on the list of required reading.

The Bloomsbury Review - Terry Hong
This is a haunting, exasperating, sobering look at an ongoing tragedy.

Acta Koreana - Brian Myers
The quality of analysis and prose is consistently high throughout.

Asia Policy - Chung Min Lee
Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform offers a systematic bird's eye view of the fundamental causes and consequences of North Korea's famine.

Development and Change - Raghav Gaiha
Famine in North Korea is as good as the best of its genre.

Journal of Economic Literature - Stephen Devereux
[An] essential book.

The Journal of Asian Studies - Suzy Kim
This book will be of interest to those in the Korean studies field as well as among humanitarian and public policy circles

Financial Times
A rigorous study.

— Anna Fifield

New York Sun
This book belongs on the list of required reading.

— Claudia Rosett

The Bloomsbury Review
This is a haunting, exasperating, sobering look at an ongoing tragedy.

— Terry Hong

Acta Koreana
The quality of analysis and prose is consistently high throughout.

— Brian Myers

Swarthmore College Bulletin
A comprehensive and penetrating account.

Choice

A readable, well-researched, and insightful analysis... Highly recommended.

Asia Policy
Famine in North Korea: Markets, Aid, and Reform offers a systematic bird's eye view of the fundamental causes and consequences of North Korea's famine.

— Chung Min Lee

The Lancet
Backed by data treated with appropriate caution, Haggard and Noland cogently present the sad North Korean story... [An] impressive work.

Development and Change
Famine in North Korea is as good as the best of its genre.

— Raghav Gaiha

Journal of Economic Literature
[An] essential book.

— Stephen Devereux

The Journal of Asian Studies
This book will be of interest to those in the Korean studies field as well as among humanitarian and public policy circles

— Suzy Kim

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231511520
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
03/22/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
340
Sales rank:
925,175
File size:
21 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

Read an Excerpt

This is a book that must be read by people interested in the economics of poverty and hunger, or in the politics of authoritarianism, or in the role-and the difficulties-of international assistance in the miserable world in which we live. It is an admirable contribution on a truly important subject. -- From the foreword by Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics

What People are saying about this

Amartya Sen
This is a book that must be read by people interested in the economics of poverty and hunger, or in the politics of authoritarianism, or in the role—and the difficulties—of international assistance in the miserable world in which we live. It is an admirable contribution on a truly important subject.
From the foreword by Amartya Sen

This is a book that must be read by people interested in the economics of poverty and hunger, or in the politics of authoritarianism, or in the role—and the difficulties—of international assistance in the miserable world in which we live. It is an admirable contribution on a truly important subject.

From the foreword by Amartya Sen, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics

Václav Havel

The UN General Assembly resolutions on human rights in North Korea have underscored the failure of the North Korean government to protect its people from gross human rights abuses. In Famine in North Korea, Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland compellingly outline the case with respect to food. This book is critical for any understanding of the humanitarian and human rights crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Vaclav Havel, former President of the Czech Republic

Vaclav Havel
The UN General Assembly resolutions on human rights in North Korea have underscored the failure of the North Korean government to protect its people from gross human rights abuses. In Famine in North Korea, Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland compellingly outline the case with respect to food. This book is critical for any understanding of the humanitarian and human rights crisis on the Korean peninsula.

Joseph E. Stiglitz
Famine in North Korea is the authoritative account of the famine, examining its origins and impact from the level of the individual household to the high politics of international diplomacy. It is an extraordinary book, essential reading for anyone interested in the issues of famine, economic transition, and the future of the Korean peninsula.

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Meet the Author

Stephan Haggard is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor at the Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Pathways from the Periphery; The Political Economy of Democratic Transitions (with Robert Kaufman); and The Political Economy of the Asian Financial Crisis.Marcus Noland is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics and a senior fellow at the East-West Center. He has served as an occasional consultant to such organizations as the World Bank and the National Intelligence Council.

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