Written and published on 21 May 2019
Image: “Who doesn’t work doesn’t eat” … Uzbek, Tashkent, 1920 (Mardjani Foundation), author unknown, 1920, public domain
- HOW NORTH KOREA DEALS WITH INCURABLE POVERTY AND STARVATION
- FORCED LABOR IN NORTH KOREA AS A BARTER SUBSTITUTE FOR THE COINED TAX SYSTEM
- HOW THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYS FORCED LABOR IN OTHER GUISE
- Community Service in Lieu of Prison Time
- Prison ‘Work Release’ Programs
- ADVANTAGES OF OFFERING FELONS RURAL AND WILDERNESS WORK CAMP OPPORTUNITIES
- Work Camps as Work Ethic Education
- On Offering Habitual Offenders ‘Rough and Tumble’ Jobs Far From Urban Centers
Here in the United States, we are faced with lack of funds to deal with big problems of homelessness, unemployment, underemployment, and poverty-line living. For some years now, these difficult problems have been before us, and felicitous solutions, to date, do not avail.
Why is it that we have not found viable, long-term solutions to these problems? I feel it is because we have not felt desperate enough, or perhaps innovative enough, to look outside the envelope, and see what other nations that have been facing similar problems have come up with in terms of solutions.
I took a look at the United States Central Intelligence Agency’s “World Factbook,” hoping to come up with some off-the-wall offerings, and came up with the example of the dire poverty faced by North Korea, and its institution of Forced Labor for public projects. Here is part of what I found out …
HOW NORTH KOREA DEALS WITH INCURABLE POVERTY AND STARVATION
As I see it, in North Korea, the problem is intractable, long-term, incurable poverty. I have for you this quotation from the “CIA World Factbook,” with regard to the grim facts of the North Korean economy …
“North Korea, one of the world’s most centrally directed and least open economies, faces chronic economic problems. Industrial capital stock is nearly beyond repair as a result of years of underinvestment, shortages of spare parts, and poor maintenance. Large-scale military spending and development of its ballistic missile and nuclear program severely draws off resources needed for investment and civilian consumption. Industrial and power outputs have stagnated for years at a fraction of pre-1990 levels. Frequent weather-related crop failures aggravated chronic food shortages caused by on-going systemic problems, including a lack of arable land, collective farming practices, poor soil quality, insufficient fertilization, and persistent shortages of tractors and fuel.
“The mid 1990s through mid 2000s were marked by severe famine and widespread starvation. Significant food aid was provided by the international community through 2009. Since that time, food assistance has declined significantly. In the last few years, domestic corn and rice production has improved, although domestic production does not fully satisfy demand. A large portion of the population continues to suffer from prolonged malnutrition and poor living conditions. Since 2002, the government has allowed semi-private markets to begin selling a wider range of goods, allowing North Koreans to partially make up for diminished public distribution system rations. It also implemented changes in the management process of communal farms in an effort to boost agricultural output …” –from Link: “CIA World Factbook, North Korea” … https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/kn.html … public domain.
FORCED LABOR IN NORTH KOREA AS A BARTER SUBSTITUTE FOR THE COINED TAX SYSTEM
Rather than asking people, who have nothing, for taxes, instead North Korea is conscripting people into forced labor situations for nothing … for free … to help with government projects …
“… North Korea is a source country for men, women, and children who are subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking; many North Korean workers recruited to work abroad under bilateral contracts with foreign governments, most often Russia and China, are subjected to forced labor and do not have a choice in the work the government assigns them, are not free to change jobs, and face government reprisals if they try to escape or complain to outsiders; tens of thousands of North Koreans, including children, held in prison camps are subjected to forced labor, including logging, mining, and farming; many North Korean women and girls, lured by promises of food, jobs, and freedom, have migrated to China illegally to escape poor social and economic conditions only to be forced into prostitution, domestic service, or agricultural work through forced marriages.” –from Link: “CIA World Factbook, North Korea,” in the section: Transnational Issues … Subheading: Trafficking in persons … https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/resources/the-world-factbook/geos/kn.html … public domain.
To some degree, the ‘forcing of labor’ in North Korea, I feel in some instances may be a substitute for the coined tax system … It is more like a ‘barter’ tax, you know? We might look at this practice and offhandedly think of it as a completely evil thing, whereas, in fact, it may be a necessary thing there, so as to keep the economy alive, in a situation where everyone faces starvation whenever (as is often the case) weather conditions are not good.
Image: “A farmer inspects his ruined crops in famine-plagued South Hwanghae province, where a man is said to have been executed recently after being reported for eating his two children,” Damir SagolJ, Reuters … http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1250764.1359505983!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_1200/article-north-korea-hunger.jpg ..
HOW THE UNITED STATES EMPLOYS FORCED LABOR IN OTHER GUISE
I feel that we have various forms of forced labor here in the United States … forced labor that may be less injurious to human rights, but nevertheless forced labor. It is just that we cushion it with other terms … more aesthetic terms … according to our ideas of how things ought to be. Here are two kinds of ‘forced labor’ that we look favorably upon in the United States …
Community Service in Lieu of Prison Time
For instance, North Korea has forced labor part of the year … during which the people in the towns have to work for the government for free or for almost nothing … That has analogies to community service at, say, $40 a day, in lieu of prison time for Coloradans.
Link: “Alternatives in Imposition of Sentence in Colorado CRS 18-1.3-104,” by Colorado Legal Defense Group … https://www.shouselaw.com/colorado/CO_alternative_sentences.html ..
Prison ‘Work Release’ Programs
Then, I noticed in Mendocino County, California, there are various prison ‘work release’ programs … home detention, work release, and work furlough …
Link: “Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office” … https://www.mendocinosheriff.com/ … Click on: Corrections
ADVANTAGES OF OFFERING FELONS RURAL AND WILDERNESS WORK CAMP OPPORTUNITIES
Work Camps as Work Ethic Education
I recall that, in Russia and China, they think of forced labor as a way of educating people with regard to the work ethic … inculcating a notion of being productive members of society. And we might consider it like that too.
If we cannot house the felons in urban prisons, we could expand our programs to house them in work camps in rural or wilderness areas. These work camps might be viewed as offering education in the work ethic, and in that way, helping felons to qualify for good jobs after their release.
On Offering Habitual Offenders ‘Rough and Tumble’ Jobs Far From Urban Centers
In addition to providing work ethic education, work camp job experience would likely provide improved physical conditioning. This might help released felons find ‘rough and tumble’ jobs far from urban centers, occupations such as lumberjacking, or tramp steamer crew, for instance. Maybe, work in the mines, or in the deserts, or on oil rigs. There might be a segment of felons to whom rough and tumble jobs appeal; and this appeal might decrease recidivism.
There may be felons with many offenses, and whom we are unable to keep in prison. Yet if they are released, they might look for criminal work, and not wish to integrate into the general community. In some cases, they might fall into the category ‘antisocial personalities’. In such instances, it might be good if they found work away from the general population.
If California is unable to house multiple offenders, we might also consider offering those serving time the option to become a free person, or a semi-free person, in an occupation that is far from the general public … where the released prisoners cannot hurt the general public.
My thought as to whether forced labor might successfully be employed in the United States is this: Considering the American way of life, forced labor could never succeed here if it ruthlessly trammels human rights. I do feel, on the other hand, that the choice of modified versions of forced labor … as amongst the prison populations, or for released felons, or for the indigent … might be offered as an alternative, a free will choice, that might prove appealing, were its benefits to be properly laid out, and then offered by way of explanation to those undertaking it.
In love, light and joy,
I Am of the Stars
See also … Link: “Notes on Forestalling Social Unrest in California,” by Alice B. Clagett, written on 12 April 2018; published on 6 December 2019 … https://wp.me/p2Rkym-8xT ..
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