A Whiff Of Reform In North Korea

Pyongyang tests free-market moves while trying to keep the lid on

Inside the saunas and soaking tubs of the Rajin International Club on the northern tip of North Korea, you can almost forget that the economy of the world's last Stalinist society is on the edge of collapse. For $30--a price too high for all but ultra-elites in the "workers' paradise"--you can sweat, steam, watch satellite TV, and undergo a pummeling from a masseuse who complains if not given a fat tip. When it's time to leave, a big beige Cadillac Coupe de Ville waits outside. But halfway home, reality bites. The driver stops and tells the passengers to get out. The car is almost out of gas.

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