North Korea is the poorest country in Asia. It has a national GPD of just $650. This makes this country vulnerable and its living standards are by far some of the worst in the world.
It is estimated that more than half of North Korea’s population lives in poverty. This struggling nation’s citizens are poor for a few good reasons.
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A totalitarian regime
The totalitarian North Korean regime has been leading the country for decades. But it hasn’t managed to raise the living standards considerably for nobody. The country struggles in terms of its political climate. There’s no freedom of the press and most information such as news is controlled by the government.
The inability to create businesses and jobs
There are other communist regimes around the world but they are doing things differently and arguably better. China is an example. It allows its citizens to create businesses and it creates a climate where job creation is a priority. State-owned services such as healthcare are also vastly superior in China than those in North Korea. Tourists in North Korea are rare. But they all agree it’s almost impossible to find small businesses in the country.
No freedom to trade goods
If locals struggle to find jobs and well-paying jobs, they also struggle with trading goods. The country has been isolated politically and economically on an international level. It makes it very difficult for goods to make their way into the country. Exports are also low to non-existent. As a result, there’s no ability to raise the GDP per capita.
An international blockade
By far, the biggest problem North Korea has is its international blockade. The country’s nuclear programs have isolated it on a political scale. It struggled to open its borders for investment, tourism, or emigration. Its citizens live in a blockade. On a local level, North Korea conflicts with neighboring South Korea.
Nepal is Asia’s second poorest country. Located high in the Himalayas, Nepal is mostly poor due to its undiversified economy and high levels of corruption. Agriculture is the country’s main revenue stream. But even agriculture is underdeveloped as it’s difficult to do properly high up in mountains.
Tourism has some local benefits in Nepal as more people come here than in North Korea. Maybe this is why Nepal has a GDP of $718, a bit higher than North Korea’s GDP.
A lack of good infrastructure keeps both countries stuck in terms of economic development. While North Korea has a growing infrastructure, it still struggles with basics such as electricity outside the nation’s capital. Nepal is also one of the world’s countries with poor road and electricity infrastructure. Both of these countries aren’t likely to develop this infrastructure in the following decades. Their GPD is even smaller than Syria’s GPD, a country that has been at war for the past few years. The North Korean political regime will need to change its perspective to raise living standards above the poverty line for most of its citizens.