Disaster Management and Institutional Change in the DPRK: Trends in the Songun Era
One cannot enter the same river twice. Every time one looks at North Korea, on the surface it appears boringly the same. Its life ﬂ ows in the same predictable direction, accelerating at narrow rapids in well known locations that shake up internal stability and generate international agitation. Once these easily identiﬁ able but hard to overcome bottlenecks are cleared, the stream of life ﬂ attens, slows, and returns to the acceptable order. One can detect the signs of some subterranean trends—economic, social, demographic, political, and cultural trends—shaping the direction and pace of life in the country and affecting its relationships with the outside world. Interpretation of these trends is subjective, and frame of reference is important: neither demonization nor adulation nor ignorant arrogance increase our understanding of reality.