More importantly, with every free lunch, each worker is given two mini chocolate pies.
Cho Yong Bang, a South Korean student studying in Tokyo, says the pies are incredibly popular in South Korea and highly addictive. “I love them,” he says. “They cost only 300 Won, which is less than 20 yen.”
The North Korean staff at Kaesong has become addicted to them as well.
Soon after, the South Koreans’ pies were used as work incentives. Extra pies were given to the workers who had achieved their work norms as rewards.
The North Koreans loved the pies because they smuggled them out of the industrial park to earn big bucks, selling them on the black market. While music may be the universal language, having a sweet tooth runs a close second behind it.
But it was too good to last.
North Korean workers exchanged information about who had the best chocolate mini pie work incentive bonuses, and greed, or as some call it, normal capitalist acquisitiveness, kicked in. If the bosses of their factory didn’t pony up with the pies, the workers would slack off. So, South Korean companies got together and decided on a mini chocolate pie sliding scale of compensation.
The ancient Mexicans, who invented chocolate and gave us the word from the Aztec “chocolatl,” used small bags of cocoa as a form of money. But this is probably the first time in modern history that mini chocolate pies in their baked form have ever made it to the status of substitute money. Economist Big Mac Index, take note.
Then, in September, representatives of the North Korean Worker’s Party came down on the entire mini chocolate pie racket and demanded that the chocolate pie exchange rate be abolished and replaced by financial incentives. For a start, the state could take a cut of any money changing hands.
According to a North Korean police document that made its way to South Korea, “The continual spread of South Korean mini chocolate pies into the populace runs the danger of engendering favorable feelings toward South Korea.”
So, for the time being, it was back to the iron rations of two mini chocolate pies a day and cash payments. Unless the North Korean regime collapses overnight, it looks like North Koreans with a sweet tooth will be going through severe withdrawal symptoms.
If it does, you can expect a swarm of North Koreans coming over the border and making a beeline straight for the mini chocolate pie shops.