Tuesday, November 23, 2010

North Korea's insularity and the risk of war

Days ago I wrote about Thomas Friedman's theory that international trade and the sprawling of multinational corporations across borders helps to bring peace by increasing the costs of war. This morning I wake to the news that North and South Korea have exchanged artillery shells in a clash that killed at least two soldiers.

South Korea's economy is deeply interconnected with the wider world. In 2009 the World Trade Organisation estimated South Korea's total exports at US$363,534,000,000 ($363.5 billion) and imports at US$323,085,000,000 ($323.1 billion).

North Korea managed exports of only US$1,550,000,000 ($1.5 billion) and imports of US$2,080,000,000 ($2.1 billion).

Below are the sizes of North and South Korean imports and exports expressed in US dollars per capita:

South Korean exports: $7,480 per capita
South Korean imports: $6,648 per capita

North Korean exports: $65 per capita
North Korean imports: $87 per capita

These figures do not show what countries are being traded with, lessening their usefulness for exploring Friedman's idea. Still, as a superficial glance at the numbers it is striking. North Korea has exceptionally little economic intercourse with the outside world: one wonders if this increases the likelihood that tanks will eventually pour over their borders instead of trade.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.