agents of capital accumulation as well as sources of valuable hard currency. The size of the informal sector is now believed to be larger than that of the formal sector.Some experts even compare the current North Korean economy to the Chinese economy under Deng Xiaoping’s reform and opening up initiative. As the logic behind a market economy becomes more widespread, the state economy is becoming increasingly flexible. The state no longer commands and dictates the economy. Citizens themselves have become increasingly adaptiveand entrepreneurial, seeking their own survival through whatever means available. Paradoxically, the adaptive behaviour of ordinary citizens has weakened the effectiveness of international sanctions. The powerstructure has also been shifting from old, vested interests(such as the military) to the party and the cabinet. They now control overall economic activities, including foreign exchange earnings and foreign direct investment. Cadres from the Organisation and Guidance Department of the KWP — which played a pivotal role in Kim Jong-un’s smooth succession to power — have emerged as the core power elite group.
No risk of collapse- Public BackingPower 2015 John, "How Popular is Kim Jong-un?," Sep 11, thediplomat.com/2015/09/how-popular-is-kim-jong-un/In the popular image of North Korea, its citizens are either brainwashed or terrorizedinto adulating their leader KimJong-un. But what if they are genuinely supportive of the dictator?That’s the possibility raised by a report released late last month by the Institute of Peace and Unification Studies, a think tank affiliated with Seoul National University. In surveys taken during the last five years and collated in the report, 63 percentofNorth Korean defectors perceived Kim to have majority supportfrom people within the country.The respondents all fled North Korea between 2010 and last year, while Kim took power in 2011, after the death of his father Kim Jong-il. At least some outsider observers see the findings as credible. North Korea scholar Andrei Lankov, for instance, believes that modest economic growth during Kim’s tenure has boostedhis popularity compared to his father, who presided over a catastrophic famine in the 1990s. In a light nudge awayfrom the state-led model championed by his father and grandfather, Kim has introduced some limited economic reforms, such as allowing farmers to keep a portion of their harvest.While difficult to gauge, these reforms seem to have raised the living standards of at least some North Koreans. Gareth Johnson, founder of North Korea-focused travel firm Young Pioneers Tours, told The Diplomat that people have been more upbeat about their situation since Kim came to power. “From my experience, I think people are excited by the improvementin the country and the prospects ahead under his leadership,” Johnson, who has been traveling to the country since 2008, said.