Thursday, March 18, 2010
The Guardian reports that there's more than just career risk when you fail at monetary reform in North Korea - you could lose your life, as Pak Nam-gi apparently just did.
North Korea has executed a senior official blamed for currency reforms that damaged the already ailing economy and potentially affected the succession, a news agency in South Korea reported today.If you're not familiar with the story, you might be interested to know that North Korea introduced a new local currency a while back that could be exchanged for the old currency at 1-to-100 in an attempt to control inflation and drive out foreign currencies that were thriving on a very active black market.
Pak Nam-gi was killed by firing squad last week, said Yonhap, citing multiple sources. The Workers party chief for planning and the economy had not been seen in public since January.
The 77-year-old was put to death as "a son of a bourgeois conspiring to infiltrate the ranks of revolutionaries to destroy the national economy", the agency said.
But it reported that many North Koreans did not believe the explanation, citing one source who said: "The mood is the leadership has made Pak Nam-gi a scapegoat."
Like most such attempts, this move did not produce the desired results - prices soared, hoarding increased, people starved - and, in the process, it wiped out the meager savings of many citizens while benefiting state workers who were paid in the new currency.