North Korea is ostensibly socialist, but as the North Korean defectors testify as follows, in reality, life cannot be achieved without doing business on its own.
When I knew someone who handled tires at Wonsan, I decided to buy tires, machine parts, oil, etc. coming from Yokohama and sell them at Wonsan. There was a tractor for each working group, but there were so many places that they could not move due to lack of tires and parts, so it seemed to be a business with very good prospects. (Buji-Rong “The Woman Who Abandoned Her Homeland”)
Authorities said after the harvest season in 1996, they called for “digging and eating corn and rice roots.”
Corn and rice roots that are not seen anywhere in the world. I wash it many times, shatter it, mix it into flour, and eat it as a porridge, but it’s too cumbersome to process.
First, in order to save flour, not only wild grasses and weeds but also porridge made from thinly peeled and peeled wood bark is not usually eaten.
Still, there is nothing else you can eat and you have to eat.
When this happens, corn is valuable. Yoshinori, who took care of the family’s kitchen, made moonshine sake using corn, sold it, and got money.
Mix water and yeast with floured corn, transfer to a bottle and let it rest for a while, then transfer to a pot and extract. Even if you spend 80 won on corn as raw material, if you can sell moonshine for 180 won, you can make 100 won. (Shinichi Nebe, “North Korea Exile 730th Document”)
Even school teachers can’t live without abandoning their jobs and securing food.
Hui Gun, who started working in high school in 1995 as a physics teacher, earned 50 won. This was just the price of a bottle of sake, and even the salary was delayed or not paid.
Not just because they are new teachers, but the same goes for the principal and below. Inevitably, teachers have to secure their own food, rather than teaching their students. As a result, the young Hui Gun was selected as a hauler by the principal saying, “I’ll do it for a month, so get 300 kilograms of food.” Hui Gun concentrated on collecting cocoons and herbs, relying on his fellow teachers.
He brought it to a foreign currency earner and exchanged it for Chinese flour. Foreign currency earners are those who sell goods brought in by Hui Gun and others to Korean merchants visiting North Korea from China and other countries to make profits.
For example, if a cocoon purchased from 100 kilograms of wheat could be exchanged for 120 kilograms of wheat, you would have earned 20 kilograms. In Xinyiju, where traffic to and from China is relatively popular, he bought Chinese clothing and electrical appliances, went there, exchanged for rice, bought rice back, sold rice again, and earned profit. My brother Hui Yong is more authentic.
Hui Yong, who became a teacher in the same year as his elder brother Hui Gun, has essentially abandoned his workplace. The method is to join hands with a local silk factory. The factory was solely responsible for selling cocoons to China, and bringing in 10 kilograms of cocoons would give 100 kilograms of wheat.
Hui Yong and his colleagues spotted a mountain farm in Pyonannam-do, Sungcheon County. There was a silk factory nearby, but production was shrinking due to lack of electricity, and it was thought that cocoons would be relatively easy to get around the nearby farms. In fact, Hui Yong, as expected, has collected 10 kilograms of cocoons and brought them to Shinuiju’s silk factory, where they have been able to exchange them for 100 kilograms of wheat. (Ibid.)