In the Asia Times, an argument that North Korea’s greater prosperity could become a source of rebellion. Interesting, but not entirely convincing, argument:
People seldom rebel when their lives are desperate: they are too busy looking for food and basic necessities. Most revolutions happen in times of relative prosperity and are initiated by people who have time and energy to discuss social issues and to organize resistance….
There is little doubt that the North Korean elite welcome signs of economic growth, but paradoxically, this growth makes their situation less, not more, stable. North Koreans are now less stressed and have some time to think and talk
The converse argument, of course, is that when you’re literally starving you have nothing to lose, so may as well join a violent rebellion. But there’s a decent economic literature talking about the hunger trap of being too malnourished and insecure to engage in economic activity; the same arguments can presumably be transposed to political activity.
[via blood and treasure, whence also this (more explicitly fantastical) article imagining how North Korea could become a world empire]