There are a few reasons S. Korea has done so much better than N. Korea. To begin with, S. Korea has better land and better weather. Being able to grow crops easier really helps, but that is not the main reason. Another good reason is also that S. Korea embraced Christianity whole heartedly, and often when people embrace Christianity, they learn good habits that help in the work place. Another good reason that S. Korea has done better is the choice of politics. All these three together has turned out really well for S. Korea.. N. Korea chose to be Communist and have a bad climate and land, and S. Korea chose to be Democratic, have a good climate and land, and have something special within their people’s character.
If people are living in a Democratic society and trying hard to do what is right as the S. Koreans chose to do, it makes a difference. Christianity teaches you that whatever you do, do it with all your might as if you are doing it for God, so it teaches us to be hard workers. Christianity teaches honesty. Christianity teaches that a man who doesn’t provide for his family is worse than an unbeliever, so Christians try hard to make sure their families are well provided for. It causes people to work hard.
Democracy also brings the Free Enterprise system. Under the Free Enterprise system, it goes beyond Christianity and works on greed. People are rewarded personally for working hard. And, the S. Koreans have been working like crazy! Even now, when they don’t have to, they work extra hours because they are in the habit of working extra hours. Democracy not only encourages the free market system, but also it encourages creativity. You have to be creative to get the customers, so it causes progress.
When Communism comes in, all progress stops. No one has any reason to do better because, theoretically, everything is shared equally. However, it is not really. The people who are in the fortunate position to be on top get more than the average man. When you are going to have a job and a place to live regardless of whether you are late for work, whether you show up to work, or whether you do your job well, you stop trying. In Romania, one man told me that under Communism, he showed up for work, clocked in, went down town for coffee, stayed all day, and then came back and clocked out just before quitting time. He got nothing accomplished at work, and it is an epidemic in Communist societies.
I saw on television in Romania as they were coming out of Communism and trying to adjust to Democracy, something crazy happen. A man from the western part of Europe came into Romania, from a Democratic country. He bought a factory in Romania. All his workers were Romanian. The factory workers decided for some reason to stage a strike, and he fired every one of them and replaced them. The television had a big sign saying “LESSON IN DEMOCRACY!” Under any system, you have to work to make the system work. Under Democracy, if you don’t work, there is someone behind you waiting in the wings ready to take your place. If you are not serious about your job, you will be out on your ear, and the Romanians has to learn that when they left Communism behind.
When I first got to Romania, they had just thrown Communism out. When everyone else had computers, they didn’t. When people were beginning to get cell phones, (the more progressive rich people in America at the time had big clunky crazy looking cell phones), many Romanians didn’t even have a home phone, a land line. One woman told me she had been waiting on a list for ten years, and still hadn’t gotten one. In the village, the phones were still on a switch board with party lines. If you wanted to talk to someone, you picked your phone up and asked the switch board operator to connect you. If you picked it up and your neighbor was on the phone, you could hear the conversation, and there were people listening in to private conversations. Communism had come in the 1940’s, and there had been no progress made since the 1940’s.
Because no one was producing under Communism, there was no food in the stores. To eat, the people had to raise gardens, raise pigs in their yards, forage in the mountains for berries and mushrooms, chase down a farmer who had milk or eggs. etc., and sometimes it was impossible to get milk or eggs. I used to stand in a line to get milk at the dairy. I had to be there extremely early in the morning and be the first in line or I wouldn’t get milk because if the milk was out, it was out, and no one else got milk. After I got the milk, I had to take it home and heat it to pasteurize it myself. There was ice on the ground, and it was really cold outside. One man told me his dad died of pneumonia standing outside in the cold in a line like that trying to get milk for his family. This is the kind of stuff the N. Koreans are going through because they chose to be Communist.
In South Korea, everything is modern because they chose Democracy, but there are places in North Korea that don’t even have electricity or gas to heat their homes and are still heating with wood. Most homes probably don’t have running water. Things are broken and not fixed. Cell phones are not allowed in N. Korea. Computers weren’t allowed in Romania under Communism, so I can bet they won’t let the North Koreans have them either. China has a strange mixture of Communism and Democracy right now, and there are still computer sights that average Chinese can’t visit. Romanians weren’t allowed to watch television shows from outside the country or read the Bible, but some hid and figured out how to do those things anyway. They told me their stories.
The N. Koreans are being abused by their government. Being cut off from the outside world is the first sign of abuse. If a man wants to treat his wife badly, he needs to get her away from her family so she can’t go running to Mom every time he does something horrible to her. If a government wants to treat their citizens badly, they close the borders and don’t let anyone out. They don’t want information coming in so their people won’t know they are being abused, and they don’t want anyone able to run away. They try to control the people. In Romania, they said under Communism, it was like being in prison in your own country. In North Korea, they have the same problem. I know and have written some astounding stories of Romanians trying to get away from Communism in my book, “Escaping Communism” that is for sale on Amazon, and the publisher said it is also on Kendell, and if you have an account there, can read it for free. I have heard tales on TV of N. Koreans too trying to get out of N. Korea who successfully made it out, but their stories are horrendous! Many try to go through China, and they end up in trouble in China and are also treated badly there like in N. Korea. Most don’t have it in them to escape because it is so hard, and it is easier to starve and freeze to death right where they are than to try to get away. I have even heard that if someone escapes in N. Korea, often, the family left behind is killed as a kind of punishment.
Is anyone still wondering why the S. Korean economy did so much better than the N. Korean economy after the Korean war? First, S. Korea has more land where they can plant food and has better weather. Second, S. Koreans took a noble character on themselves when so many of them decided to become Christians, and the character of the people makes a big difference. And thirdly, the politics really does have a huge influence on a country. The N. Koreans chose Communism, and the S. Koreans chose Democracy and the Free Enterprise System. If you have good land, good climate, good character in the people, and a good system, you are going to prosper. However, if you have bad land, a bad climate, people who don’t care about doing better because it won’t help them in any way, and a system that doesn’t encourage anyone to work hard, the economy won’t do well. It is all just logic.