A country without an economy

Bob Moon Dec 19, 2011

North Korea’s gross domestic product is estimated to be just a tiny sliver of the size of South Korea’s bustling one-trillion-dollar economy — as little as three percent of that.

By one estimate, North Korea’s average official salary is equivalent to roughly two-dollars a month — although it’s thought that the the thriving black market brings that up to around 15 dollars a month.  

The North Korean government makes money through illegal trading, too: It’s known to traffic in an international black market for weapons, illegal drugs and counterfeit currency.  75 percent of the country’s trade is with China…and in return for providing the bulk of food and military aid to North Korea, the Chinese are allowed to exploit the country’s resources through mining and fishing.
North Korea has long relied on handouts to feed its own people. It’s received more two million dollars in U.S. humanitarian aid this year, even as international sanctions have been tightened over its defiant development of nuclear weapons.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.