Randall Ireson, 1945-2017



It is with sadness that we received news of the death of Randall Ireson. Trained at Cornell in development sociology, he became a pioneer in US humanitarian work with North Korea; I met him through the National Committee on North Korea. Randy was among the most dedicated and insightful analysts of the agricultural sector in North Korea. He always took a broad perspective that was not simply economic but included an appreciation of policy, incentives, and the rural social structure. If you want a good introduction to the bewildering topic of North Korean agricultural reform under Kim Jong Un, you can do no better than scrolling through the archive of his posts at 38North.org. A testament to his work is that younger scholars have picked up the challenge. See for example thoughtful work in the same vein by Andy Dinville, predicting hardship this fall as a result of the drought, and Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein on the puzzling stability of rice prices. Ireson would be proud.

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