North Korea Slashes Rations To As Little As 375 Calories a Day

The second happiest place on Earth is cutting rationed food to as low as 150 grams (5.3 ounces) a day. That is roughly 375 calories a day for North Koreans in the worker’s paradise.

The population of 23 million people is showing signs of mass starvation. Even in Pyongyang, United Nations officials are reporting rations of 200 grams a day and a new video by a journalist found soldiers desperately seizing food — a notable development since the military has always been given the lion’s share of food in the country.

What is fascinating is that the Obama Administration went to war in Libya while North Korea starves millions and Syria kills thousands. It is part of utter incoherence in our foreign policy and the arbitrary basis that we use to go to war. (For full disclosure, I represent the members of Congress challenging the Libyan war). The government has also closed universities and sent students to work on farms and in factories.

Source: Google

33 thoughts on “North Korea Slashes Rations To As Little As 375 Calories a Day”

  1. Observe North Korea carefully. You will see the result of a nation that alllocates its resources to preparation for war and has nothing left for its people. Observe North Korea carefully, because we are on the same path.

  2. wow, giving away aprox. 65 donated cars per year. i bet poor folks are just flocking there.

  3. Professor, I get the feeling you sometimes over-simplify some things for the sake of impact. Comparing hungry millions to dying thousands is not so straightforward: shooting protesters is unforgivable, death is irreversible, and not all famines can be imputed to governments.

    Although I am aware those strong statements are one of the key elements of the popularity of this website, they are also misleading at times. As a lawyer, I am sure that you are well aware of the rhetorical impact of a first impression.

    Thanks for taking the time to make such an interesting blog, which is to me a never-ending source of enlightenment.

  4. I don’t doubt it. Bear in mind the figures I gave are 10 years old so you know those numbers are higher today.

  5. Today a family of four can have income of nearly $21,000 and still be considered to be living in poverty. This income does not include a substantial amount of governmental benefits: noncash benefits such as food stamps (about $2,200), housing assistance (about $5,400), Medicaid (about $6,000 for a family of four), the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) (about $1,000 per child), energy assistance (about $400), the school lunch and breakfast programs (as much as $600 per child), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) (about $400 per person). It also does not count refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) (about $1,700), because they are “post-tax.” (All figures are average benefit amounts in 2002 regardless of family size, unless otherwise noted.) In addition, assets, such as the family home are not counted. Nor is the income of cohabitors and nonfamily household members. All of this non-income and governmental assistance permits the typical “poor” family to consume 50% more than their income alone would permit.

  6. Bette Noir, you may well be correct about this being a supplemental ration akin to food stamps. I suspect though that like the 40 million people making less than 17K a year here that ration is the difference between the prospect of starvation and not.

    The only ray of sunshine in NK is that if the army starts to really feel the pain (and they have been majorly exempt up to now) there is a good prospect for regime change.

    “More than half the filers exempt from federal income tax in 2011 are in the lowest income quintile, meaning they make less than 80 percent of the country. As Bruce Bartlett at The New York Times notes, those in the bottom quintile have incomes of less than $16,812.”

  7. Albert Spruce: “It’s a clever diabolical plot. Studies have shown that restricted calorie diets prolong life. The North Koreans will live forever. Be afraid, very afraid”

    You may be on to something. They probably don’t have an epidemic of Diabetes. If they did their general state of malnutrition might just cure it:

    “British researchers develop “cure” for Type 2 diabetes: starve yourself

    British researchers have developed what they say is a “cure” for Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease. And all you have to do is starve yourself for eight weeks.

    Roy Taylor, head of the magnetic resonance imaging unit at Newcastle University in Britain, and his colleagues studied 11 patients who had developed diabetes later in life and who had had it for several years. The patients averaged 220 pounds at the beginning of the study. Each was put on a 600-calorie-per-day diet that included a special diet drink and non-starchy vegetables, such as broccoli, asparagus and cabbage. The diet was followed for eight weeks. …”

  8. It’s a clever diabolical plot. Studies have shown that restricted calorie diets prolong life. The North Koreans will live forever. Be afraid, very afraid.

  9. You represent the Congress people who are trying to stop the Libya actions? How many of these ‘leaders’ continue to vote in favor of financing the new war? How many are continuing to support the wasteful wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Yemen?
    How many of your clients oppose the war because they are up for re-election?
    I cannot take them seriously.

  10. My opinion is that we have been picking our fights with entities that can’t bloody our nose so much. We are heavyweights picking on welterweights at best. Libya could not do much military damage outside of their boundaries. Ditto with Afghan. Say what you want about the starving North Koreans but they could unleash a bloody barrage against aggressors and non-combatants in their region. All they are is a war machine. So IMHO we are choosing fights against weaker opponents (not a bad idea).

  11. The NYT ran a piece not to long ago on how the North Korean government wiped out all private savings overnight, sparing only a few of those with political connections. Private markets did exist in North Korea, although Kim Jong-il has said that they are “… a birthplace of all sorts of nonsocialist practices” and are subject to absurd rules and seizures.

    Views Show How North Korea Policy Spread Misery

  12. There are some genuinely poor people in this country. Most of our poor, however, are basically just not rich. Actually, they’d be considered rich if they lived in many other countries.

  13. Why is “poor” in quotation marks? As someone who once had a $10/week grocery budget for a family of three, I can assure you that there are genuine poor people in this country.

  14. Libya…BP’s war on petro……

    You are correct kd….they are more likely to be obese….they have less food choices than others….You are good….

  15. Our “poor” are more likely to be obese than the general population.

    North Korea’s general population is so malnourished their average height is now 3″ shorter than South Koreans.

  16. There’s not enough information here. Do North Koreans have the right or ability to grow, earn, or scavenge additional food? If, indeed, they are limited to 375 calories per day, that certainly sounds like a crime against humanity. If that 375 calories is a supplement to what they would otherwise be able to get for themselves, it’s not such a bad thing.

    Think of our food stamp allotments for poor people in this country. It would be hell to try to live on them exclusively, but it’s a welcome addition to an otherwise inadequate income.

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