North Korea on the Brink?

North Korean schoolchildren as depicted in an official government video.

Writing in the July 12-19 issue of the New Yorker, journalist Barbara Demick paints a dire picture of life in North Korea after Pyongyang's disastrous currency devaluation late last year. In "Nothing Left," Demick writes, "Diplomats and academics have been discussing the possibility of North Korea's collapse with a new degree of frankness," and quotes a Seoul-based academic who notes, "The quality of decision-making in Pyongyang is going down dramatically."

Demick offered an equally in-depth look at the lives of North Koreans in recent appearances at Asia Society New York and Korea Centers. Promoting her new book Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, Demick told listeners that her aim was to "show the humanity of North Koreans," in contrast to most Western media portrayals, which tend to focus on the repressive regime and its nuclear program. 

Watch Barbara Demick's complete Asia Society New York talk

About the Author

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Jeff Tompkins is New York Content Manager at Asia Society.