How North Korea Makes Money

By Leo Gura - November 13, 2023

The problem with under-developed states is that they aren’t just deeply corrupt, they export their corruption across the world. This is why countries are not equally good or equally bad, in a culturally relativistic way. Some countries are more corrupt than others and have a toxic effect on the rest of the world.

Not all cultures are different but equal. Some cultures are more toxic than others. This quality of being toxic is not a judgment against a culture you happen to dislike for some personal prejudice or bias, it is a measure of a lack of integrity (i.e., corruption). Can you see that there is a difference between disliking a particular culture for subjective personal reasons vs recognizing that a culture is toxic? The difference is, you may prefer Chinese culture over Arabic culture over African culture, but determining which of these cultures is more toxic, more corrupt, is a separate and more objective matter.

The issue of corruption (or lack of integrity) is not merely a subjective notion, like whether you prefer Chinese or Japanese cuisine. Corruption is a much more fundamental issue, which has to do with truthfulness and fairness. No sane person would want to live in a highly corrupt, untruthful, unfair society — if they were given the choice, unless they are a criminal who wants to exploit a bad situation.

You can ask any person the following question and you will get a consistent answer: “Would you rather your children grow up in a corrupt or non-corrupt society?” So, you can see that this is a common value that nearly everyone on the planet agrees on. Truthfulness, integrity, and fairness are, so to speak, universal values. Recognizing this allows us to go beyond Stage Green cultural relativism.

Thus we can say that North Korean culture is inferior to American culture. Not because we hate North Korea, not because we are blinded by prejudice, but because we reject corruption. This doesn’t mean American culture isn’t corrupt to some degree. Every culture is corrupt to some degree. But American society way less corrupt than North Korea. It also doesn’t mean that North Korean culture is inherently corrupt, or destined to be corrupt forever. In the future the day may come when North Korean culture becomes less corrupt than American culture, but that will require decades of serious development for North Korea.

Even though a lot of stuff is relative in the absolute sense, we can still sort better from worse because the issue of truthfulness is a fundamental, universal factor in life. It turns out that living a good life requires high degrees of truthfulness. So truthfulness becomes our North Star. Or, to put it another way: TRUTH is the highest universal value. Why? Because TRUTH is what exists! TRUTH is not relative, TRUTH is absolute. So unlike what Stage Green relativist philosophers say, there does exist something trans-human that we can all ground ourselves in. Namely, there exists TRUTH. And if you try to deny this, you will end up creating a sick, dysfunctional, monstrous society which even you will start to regret at some point. That’s what North Korea is.

Consider that the sickness of a system is not a subjective, relative matter. A sick system is one which destroys itself. This can be turned into a kind of objective metric. If a society is mistreating its own people, it is sick. So the ultimate question in the sphere of politics is: How do we create healthy societies and avoid becoming a toxic society? This is the ultimate question for cutting through all the bullshit found in politics.

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