The East-West Center Research Program will present a lunch-time talk by POSCO visiting fellow Justin Hastings on Wednesday, December 3, 2004. Hastings’s topic will be “The World’s Most Enterprising Country: North Korea’s State Trading Networks in the Global Economy.” The program will be held in Burns Hall 3012 beginning at 12 noon.
According to Hastings, North Korea presents a paradox in that it is seemingly one of the most isolated, paranoid, and tightly controlled countries and yet survives in large part due its ability to engage in foreign trade. He characterizes North Korea’s trade networks as flexible, entrepreneurial, and surprisingly creative and opportunistic. In part these networks, which have both state and private actors, have arisen as North Korea’s economy has changed over the past twenty years, being no longer particularly centrally planned nor even well controlled. The struggle for survival has led to new ways of doing business.
In this seminar, Hastings will focus specifically on the business conducted by state trading companies, both to import needed goods (sanctioned or not) into North Korea and to export (usually sanctioned) goods from North Korea to the rest of the world. As they have come under pressure from sanctions and more generally international stigma, state trading networks have shown flexibility in the goods they buy and sell, the way they structure their networks to take advantage of brokers and differing financial arrangements, and their use of both North Korean state assets and international commercial networks.
Justin Hastings is a senior lecturer in international relations and comparative politics at the University of Sydney in Australia, where he teaches courses on terrorism, transnational organized crime, Northeast Asian and Southeast Asian politics, and globalization and security issues. Previously he taught at the Georgia Institute of Technology and did stints at the Department of Defense, the Institute for Defense Analyses, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in political science from the University of California, Berkeley.
For further information, contact Cynthia Wasa Nakachi (NakachiC@eastwestcenter.org) in the East-West Center Program Office, telephone (808) 944-7439.