We're typing up our book reports for two North Korea books we just finished. The Aquariums of Pyongyang and Escape from North Korea explain the conditions in North Korean Gulags and peasant farms, and the incentives and risks of escaping the country.
Our biggest take-away is that these books tell of recent changes, as recent as 2008.
The key change - information is getting into North Korea from the outside. Specifically - the utopia bubble is broken. Kim Jung Il is a mortal and a loser. North Korea started the Korean war. Every other country on the planet is prospering.
Similar shame and regret Obama voters are feeling here in the states.
Roughly 50% of people to cross into China actually do so to get food and other items to bring back into North Korea. They risk imprisonment and death, yet expose themselves to those risks a 2nd time as they return to help their families. Or maybe they return for the free health care?