100 Things I Love About Korea: #70 - The Slow, Unsteady Opening of North Korea

This is a repost from July 14, 2011.  I had hoped to be here when North Korea opens up.  I guess there's better than a 50/50 chance it will happen within the next 10 years.

Coca-cola and KFC have recently signed deals to establish operations in North Korea.  (Short article ... slightly longer article).  So far, they will be limited to hotels and tourist locations serving foreigners.  However, make no mistake about it, this is a step into the future.
Communism can only survive within a closed system.  Dictators maintain power by limiting information.  (And yes, all communist leaders are dictators of one variety or another.)  With external contact comes information.  With information comes power.  With power for the people comes the fall (slow or fast) of all dictatorships.  Once people know there is an outside world where life is far better, they demand to participate in that better-ness, and they rid themselves of their ineffective leaders.
This is how it went in Eastern Europe.  This is how it happened in Africa and Latin America.  This is how communism has slowly been transitioning to capitalistic democracy in China.  And this is the beginning of the end for North Korea.
Actually, this is not the first crack.  Mass starvation, mass illegal immigration, and mass corruption were the first real cracks.  Porous borders with China brought black market capitalism and information (in the form of cell phones and DVDs).  International aid workers were a steady drip, drip, drip of outside influence.
But now, now, after these subterranean foundation shifts, we see the crack going up the wall, and it looks like the Coca-cola trademark wave.