In class last week, we learned about a few shady ways North Korea may be making money (selling ballistic missiles, counterfeit US dollars, methamphetamines). But it's not all under the table deals in the second and third worlds: I found an article from the Guardian that discusses a British tobacco firm's "secret" plant in Pyongyang.
Apparently, British American Tobacco (BAT), the second largest tobacco company in the world, had been operating a plant in North Korea for four years (as of October 2005, when the article was released) -- only two years after shutting down a factory in Burma (aka Myanmar) after intense pressure from human rights organizations and the United Kingdom. North Korea of course too has a terrible human rights record, but a spokeswoman from BAT said that it was "not for us to interfere with the way governments run countries"; that instead, the British company could "lead by example." I think they are indeed leading by example. Despite repeated condemnations of the DPRK by internationally respected human rights groups, BAT has still set up a factory in the center of North Korea. A change in North Korean attitudes in respect to workers' rights? Not likely.