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A Comparative Study on Welfare-Dictatorship Exchange in the East Germany and the North Korea

Hwang, Gyu Seong 1

1한신대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This article tries to compare exchange relations between welfare and dictatorship in the East Germany and the North Korea. Unlike capitalist welfare aiming at correcting market results socialist welfare has been proposed to satisfy people’s basic needs, but it had operated as instrument of dictatorship. Relation between welfare and dictatorship could be distinguished as hard exchange and soft one in line with social construction of welfare. Welfare-dictatorship relation in East Germany had developed from its formation(1949-1970s), crisis(1980s) and dissolution( 1989-1990). There had established hard exchange relation in which the legitimacy of dominance had debted to welfare as social rights. While crisis of the exchange relation had been modest in a form of insufficient supply of consumption goods, it was one of the elements of collapse of dictatorship, leading to the unification with West Germany. The journey of the exchange relation in North Korea can be characterized by its formation(1948-1980), crisis( 1990s-2000s), and transformation(2010s). Unlike East Germany, welfare was socially constructed as gift form the ruler to the ruled, which made the combination of welfare and dictatorship loosely coupled. Although economic crisis was severe compared to East German one the rulers have succeeded maintaining dictatorial dominance by creating dual exchange relation. They separated core group and subordinated one supporting the former at the expense of the latter. They blocked out most of the people from soft exchange relation making bad use of muddling-through life style dependent on market activities. This strategy led to a ’dictatorship neutral welfare extinction’. Taking the high degree of institutionalization of newly establishing welfare-dictatorship relation into account, lives of most people are hardly expected to be improved by gift by their rulers even if North Korean economy will recover in the future.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.