North Korea's Economic Backwardness in One Picture

After the announcement that Kim Jong Il had passed away, this striking picture was bouncing around Twitter last night. I apologize to the discoverer that I can't seem to trace it back to its source, but it's an astounding look at North Korea's utter failure to capitalize on the economic development that swept the world -- and not least, its neighbor -- over the last half century.

http://upbynoon.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/korea_night1.jpg

The CIA World Factbook puts North Korea's electricity consumption (that is, total electricity generated) at a not-entirely-terrible 69th in the world, just behind Puerto Rico and ahead of Nigeria and Iceland. But given the centralization of all North Korean resources, and especially resources required by for the military (which consumes up to a third of the state's budget), one assumes that the per-capita electricity consumption less military is closer to the state's GDP-per-capita rank: 195th in the world.

Also see Becca Rosen's nighttime snapshot to compare with China.

____

Update: And another from commenter "wiredog."

Screen Shot 2011-12-19 at 12.27.33 PM.png

Presented by

Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In