Choi Seong-guk, a defector who cartoons about the lives of North Koreans in the South, said his contacts in the North suggested that the black market was thriving thanks to international sanctions.
Choi said the sanctions had cut off essential supplies, forcing the desperate public to turn to smugglers and making it more difficult for Pyongyang to control the distribution of food and money. The regime appears to have tolerated the black market for years to keep the country afloat.
But there were signs that it may want to tighten control over the economy, Choi said. The North Korean regime started a political campaign against “jobless people”, he said.
“As the economic situation worsened in North Korea, lots of people abandoned their state-related jobs and started to run their own businesses to survive. They are called the ‘jobless’ in North Korea.
“The regime is monitoring those jobless people to destroy capitalism within North Korean society,” Choi said.
[South China Morning Post]