In the North Korean constitution, North Korea is a Democratic Republic. The Democratic People’s republic was controlled by President Synghman Rhee until the coup d’etat of 1960. Initially the coup was started by a university student who caused unrest. Easy to say this transition, the Second Republic, only lasted one year before it was taken back by a military insurgency. The Republic then held control over Korea in 1963 which began the Third Republic. This was an essential time of modernization and economic growth for more than 16 years. The period came to an end with the murder of President Chung HEE. The North Korean laws are very strict, limiting the types of possessions a person can own. Penalties include life sentence to work camps or execution. The Kim dynasty has ruled over North Korea since 1948.
The generations that lived through the Korean war are very conscious of how dangerous the situation may become. They have a deep history of violence and fear whenever they interacted with North Korea. They experienced the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, friends, family, and loved ones. The war was brutal and would not be easily forgotten. Their schooling reacted to this and became very anti-communist and strongly emphasized the dangers of living under threat of hostilities from the North. This mentality is maintained in the older generations. After all, no peace treaty has been signed. Technically, Korea is still at war. However, South Korean youth, people in their twenties and thirties(often the P- generation), called are much less concerned with the actions of North Korea and the Kim family than their parents generation is. They have always lived under North Korea’s threats, so the dangers seem far less real to them. History lessons in South Korea now focus on the deeds of the Americans in the Korean War and not those of the North Koreans, contributing to this gap. Nationalistic governmental attitudes, often seeking reunification, also contribute. The P-generation has little to no experience with how the north behaves nor what it was like to live under the North’s regime. North Korean attacks are often perceived as government cover ups and attempts to demonize the North because the younger generations no longer trust the government.
Trust in government is also decreasing among the younger generations in North Korea. Millennials in North Korea are commonly referred to as the Black Market Generation. Much of their only exposure to the world outside of North Korea comes through smuggled movies and music from the Western world. Through an underground black market which transports Western products into North Korea, youth and others get a glimpse of the world that lies beyond their borders. Sometimes, this is enough to spark curiosity about seeing the outside world and even spark some questions about the reliability of the North Korean government. Some political scientists predict that because North Korean youth are being so exposed to Western culture relative to their ancestors under the Kim dynasty, there will be a rebellion from North Korean youth against the government in our lifetime. Furthermore, famine has also been a source for distrust in the North Korean government. North Korean millennials, in their lifetime, have never had enough food to eat. This generation sees people in Western media who have enough food to eat and have large amounts of wealth, causing these North Koreans to desire change.
As one of the most discrete nations in the world, North Korea is exceptional at not letting outsiders know what is happening behind their borders. Actually until about 1960 most economic information was public and accessible. Unlike present day the only real source of data is from the UN and IMF or even the South Korean National Unification Organization. In the very beginning North and South Korea started on the same playing ground economically. The South had more people which means it could supply a larger work force, while the North had more natural industrial resources. North Korea performed better economically than its southern counterpart because of the decade and demand. In the sense of progress, the North went for big industry business. In hindsight a better calculated decision in agricultural advancements would have had a significant effect on the food shortages and famine the country is presently facing.
Bad investments, spiraling governmental control, and the treatment of this new generation all contribute to the lack of globalization seen by this country. In addition we feel the heart of the matter lies in the lack of education. The citizens of that regime can not comprehend the world. Global communication is essential to modernization of the world. More so, a separation of identity must be made between the country [government] and its people. Globalization is a movement towards cooperation which is inhibited by the isolation North Korea maintains from the rest of the world.