I watched this short video about what defectors think about the situation surrounding the North Korean Socialist regime. They didn't say, but it seems like the defectors are having the discussion in South Korea. The troubling stories include human rights abuses and might be disturbing for some. I found two points to be of interest in the video, along with the discussion from the point of view of two former citizens of North Korea, who might be considered North Korean "experts."
These expatriates discussed the black market in North Korea. Because of the limitation on foreign goods, it is illegal to consume articles such as drama, pornography, or music. In order to watch a South Korean drama, or make a phone call on a foreign phone, one must isolate oneself in order to avoid being reported to the authorities. It seems odd for plastic bottles to be a rare Chinese commodity in that country, because they are so common in America and around the world. The easiest way for us to discuss limitations on liberty is in economic terms, regarding the availability of goods in a free market, although curbing liberties may also take the form of very personal human rights abuses.
At least one of the Koreans spoke about the rise of capitalism in the form of businesses. Apparently, North Koreans do not know that a business is a unit of a capitalist economy. I found this interesting for two reasons, based on my understanding of government owned business as well as businesses in historical socialist countries, and because it reminds me of commentary regarding socialist policies in America. Social programs in America are commonly attributed to the downfall of America, whereas capitalist programs in North Korea would be similarly regarded as the root of evil capitalism. Indeed, one of the main topics in recent years has been the evil that is a national health care system, and many people will point to failed socialist policies as proof that capitalism is better. Even though it is clear to me that no such comparison can be fairly made, given the differences in economic scale and cultural mores, I think that the detractors of capitalism in the North Korean state are similar to the detractors of socialism in the American private sector.
I thought it would be prudent to compare the military executions of enemies of the state, from border crossers to thieves, to the American presidential elect's cabinet, which I have read described as a 'junta.' The young woman in the video said that she thinks North Koreans are still happy, despite abuses by the state and despite being poor, and that citizens in richer countries worry too much. But, maybe we are right to be worried, for example, about the rise of demagoguery in a free society.