The Dreadful Conditions Imposed Upon North Korean’s Who Work Abroad

North-Korean-money

Many North Koreans decide to work abroad but foreign work programs do not work the same way in North Korea as they do in the western world. Workers go abroad to places which will take them, with Russia and China being the primary location to migrate, and then work in industries which require cheap labor, typically in construction or factory work. Workers are forced to pay a mandatory fee to the North Korean state as crippling sanctions by the United Nations has hobbled North Korea’s ability to advance its nuclear program(s). This fee is referred to as “party duty” and is typically $300.00 – $900.00 per month which is why many workers end up giving up and returning home, often in debt. Workers are paid in a form of food stamps as all financial pay goes to the team leaders of the band of workers. These leaders arrange for part of the money to be paid to the worker, part of the money to be kept for themselves, and part of the money to be paid to the North Korean government. Workers have reported earning as little as 7% of their gross income after the immense fees which were imposed upon them. Many workers work during the day at their primary job, and then again during the night with private construction jobs which they acquire most often by bribing their team leader. The night construction jobs pay much better than the state sanctioned jobs because doing so is completely “off the books” meaning that no taxes or fees are imposed allowing workers to keep the entire payment for themselves and their families. These migrant workers are often referred to as “dollar heroes” within North Korean culture and there are approximately 40,000 of these types of workers in Russia alone. At its core, this system is essentially forced labor which is equitable to slavery. The North Korean state is dependent upon this system as many of its legitimate exports are now blocked from world trade making income generation substantially more difficult. The demand for North Korean labor is intense because Chinese laborers now earn enough that their wages are no longer competitive with North Korea. The Chinese government often sets up conventions which function as career fairs, placing perspective employers in touch with those looking for work. These work fairs are established so that North Korean workers can be brought to China to help meet the demand of laborers needed to build new projects, primarily in construction. North Korea has put laws in place so that employers and employees can never directly exchange payment for services rendered. Any employee demanding payment is dismissed and sent back to North Korea. Workers are closely guarded and watched by North Korean managers who report back anything suspicious to the North Korean government. China is North Korea’s most important trading partner and it is estimated that in China alone, North Korean workers earn hundreds of millions of dollars each year. Before workers are allowed to go abroad, they must pass an ideological examination which is essentially a background check of ones family. Workers are required to have 1 spouse and 1 child in North Korea before migrating for work so that those who go abroad cannot engage in rogue activities. The North Korean government leverages these families left behind to manipulate workers into complying with the harsh system setup abroad, as many are unaware just how bad conditions are until they arrive to their worksite for the first time. The United Nations estimates that North Korean workers earn over $1,000,000,000 ($1 billion) annually for the North Korean state. Reports indicate that there are approximately 150,000 North Korean workers working abroad in total with 100,000 in China, 40,000 in Russia, and the remaining 10,000 working in Africa, Cambodia, Malaysia, Mongolia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Myanmar, and Poland. The United Nations has predicted that because western sanctions have put such immense pressure upon North Korea and its future financial growth, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s leader whose technical title is the “Chairman of the Workers Party”, will be looking to increase the number of workers North Korea sends abroad as well as ratchet up the pressure placed upon these workers to generate even more foreign exchange income. Because of the insatiable drive to fulfill ever lower wages, it seems the rest of the industrialized world is complicit in helping North Korea’s Supreme Leader fulfill his ambition

The Typical Habits of North Korean Defectors

Seoul-South-Korea

30,000 people have managed to escape North Korea, most of them ending up in Seoul, South Korea because it acts as the closest analog to home in terms of culture, cuisine, and tradition. Many who have escaped refuse to provide an account to authorities or investigators for fear of retribution towards their families who are still living in North Korea. Seoul is approximately 75 kilometers from the North Korean border so most people fleeing North Korea make Seoul their target even if their final destination is somewhere further abroad (eg. the U.K., Singapore, Spain etc.)

Ancient Egyptian Afterlife Beliefs of the Underworld

Ancient-Egyptian-underworld-afterlife

The ancient Egyptians believed that if a body was properly preserved, the soul would recognize it later on in the underworld allowing for reunification. It was believed that when a king died, they would be united with the sun and became merged into one being, the sun god. On the day that a king passed, it was believed that said king would have to journey into the underworld and pass 12  gates, 1 for each hour of the night. It took purity, magical knowledge, and strength to pass from one level to the next. During the first dynasty pharaohs took with them weapons and treasure as well as food, wine, and beer, and perhaps most surprising, sacrificed servants. Archeologists believe that servants were killed so that they could serve the pharaoh in the afterlife. The servants were buried near the pharaoh so that they would be close by when needed. The pharaoh Djer (pronounced “jer”) was the last pharaoh to practice human sacrifice. Djer had 300 subsidiary burials, many of whom were sacrificed intentionally, but some who are believed to have been family and close friends who had already passed and had their bodies relocated to the site at which Djer was buried

The Cuban “Wet Foot Dry Foot” Policy

Cuban-migrant

The Cuban “Wet Foot Dry Foot policy” describes the fact that since 1995, any Cuban who reaches the United States of America will be accepted by the U.S. and therefore able to live and work in the U.S. as a landed immigrant with paperwork to bolster their legitimacy when finding work, applying for loans, and paying income tax. The goal of bringing one’s family to join them in the future is why many Cubans have taken on this monumental challenge of traveling from Cuba to the U.S. by boat, often overcrowded and handmade which has lead to many deaths by drowning. If caught by the Cuban authorities for trying to flee Cuba, migrants are repatriated and given a fine or jail time in Cuba. Barack Obama ended the Wet Foot Dry Foot policy as his last act in office as President of the United States of America in the hopes of improving diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba

The Effect of Chinese Investment Capital Upon the Vancouver, Canada Housing Market

Vancouver-Canada-housing-market

In 2015, $1,000,000,000,000 ($1 trillion) USD left China which set a new historic record for the amount of currency exported from China within a single year. This dump of currency directly coincided with the July 2015 real estate jump of 30% – 40% of Vancouver, Canada the Greater Vancouver area and the Fraser Valley. Many economists and financial experts working in China have correctly predicted a growing problem in which the financial bubbles that have been created in China have caused investors to become spooked and therefore cash out of these bubbles to put their income into hard assets around the world. This creates a bubble in other markets which are international, which would lead to the plausible conclusion that the Vancouver, Greater Vancouver area, and Fraser Valley real estate markets are now bubbled in that they have taken the place of many Chinese companys valuations and debts (e.g. stocks and bonds) within the Chinese market. It is estimated that 90% of condominium sales in Vancouver are due to speculative buyers who are often offshore and never set foot in the asset they purchase yet they are paying top dollar, making home costs surge ever further for those who actually live and work in said market. Some of this activity is thought to be due to the ability to create offshore tax havens by owning property outside of one’s country of residence. Most of the condominiums built in Vancouver are single bedroom units, which act as safety deposit boxes for investors as families cannot physically fit into such tight quarters and therefore these units are designed so that the only people purchasing them will be investors and single individuals if they can afford it. It has been said that Vancouver is a manufacturing city which manufactures condominiums; the only caveat is that the exports manufactured stay put making future condominiums worth even more as there is less and less space available to build continuously with consistency. The resource of land is finite and unless buyers are willing to move further out from this hotspot economy, they will be forced to rent or live in less than acceptable living conditions, and sometimes both

The Forced Exploitation of Afghani Farmers By the Taliban 

Afghan-farmer

Not only does the Taliban force Afghani farmers into growing poppies for opium production by methods of intimidation and the threat of violence and/or death to the farmers and their families, they also incentivize these people by paying large loans in cash beforehand which is attractive to poor Afghan farmers who see the money as a quicker and more reliable method rather than farming the land to feed their family. This system is intentionally designed to ensure the farmers are monetarily indebted to the person providing the loan so that they must produce and yield a certain amount of crop in order to pay that debt back. Some opium farmers end up selling their daughters in an exchange to become debt free, having daughters as young as 12 marry drug lords who often acquire 4 or 5 wives because they have the income to do so. Over 1,000,000 (1 million) people in Afghanistan are addicted to heroin making the problem both localized as well as internationalized abroad. 90% of the world’s heroin production comes from Afghanistan. The Quran actually stipulates that it is against Islamic law to both grow as well as consume opium. While other crops take 3 – 5 years to reach their full potential in terms of yield each year, poppy crops are immediately fruitful after their first year

Inhumane Treatment Towards Minor Immigrants Illegally Entering the United States of America 

undocumented-migrant-adolescent

Due to the fact that so many unaccompanied minors have flooded across the U.S. and Mexico border during the past few years, vetting of potential sponsors and/or family members willing to take child and teenage migrants has been drastically relaxed. Initially the federal government decided that the fingerprinting of those vetted would be abolished, however they soon dropped the requirement of the submission of original documents including birth certificates upon applying, and finally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation sanctioned background checks once required were no longer deemed necessary, essentially allowing any predatory figure or group to acquire access to minors of various ages for any number of illicit reasons. Although these minors were exposed to sexual predation and many other forms of inhumane and illegal treatment, most were and continue to be forced into peonage, financial servitude which is equitable to slavery and has been illegal in the U.S. since the abolishment of slavery in 1867. These minors commonly work in unskilled laborer positions in industrialized farming operations found across the U.S.