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A nation must think before it acts.
Access the Orbis Fall 2020 issue here
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) is allowing an increasing number of citizens to use cell phones and other technology that previously were banned from the country. While this easing may seem a form of relaxation and even liberalization, the state uses such technology to monitor citizens. Theorists of totalitarianism have long believed that modern technology would weaken dictatorships when in the hands of citizens. The DPKK regime, however, is strengthening its overall social and political control, even while allowing more independent economic activity and other limited freedoms in the private sphere. U.S. policymakers should not exaggerate the prospects of economic liberalization in the country, as such a process will be limited by the strong boundaries of social control.