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North Korea prohibits the use of large suitcases, a model to be replicated?
Take Kim Jong Il's latest move to revalue the North Korean currency. On its face, it isn't terribly exciting. Then, you add to it a wealth cap -- the people swapping old currency for new could only receive a certain amount back, rendering the unexchanged cash worthless. Though the regime loosened the restrictions from the $40 limit, the policy has still been unpopular. There was some rioting, even some fatalities, but Kim Jong Il and his machine appear to be committed to the measure.
At the same time, the government has announced it would shut down some of the larger private markets, which is how many people survive -- the UN estimates that half the calories consumed in North Korea come from these markets. This foray into capitalism has been a pain in the regime's ass for years, and as the current ruler explores ways to facilitate a handoff to his son, Kim Jong Eun, it's a good idea to sort all this out. It's unlikely that the latest Kim will receive a clean Communist state from which to rule, but that won't stop the current boss from trying.
It's in these markets that you'll find the implications of monetary policy for the travel market.
You know ... if you apply this measure to air travel in the United States, the outcomes would be pretty interesting. Let's take a look.
The decision of whether to check your luggage or carry it onto the plane disappears. This is one of the most difficult challenges a passenger faces, and thanks to a decision rooted in North Korean monetary policy, it disappears. And, as an added bonus, it also renders any discussion about extra bag fees moot, since the carry-on/check-in decision isn't relevant.
Have you ever watched with anger as a small person struggles with several big bags, holding up the line at check-in kiosks, security or even the damned Sbarro? With this policy, that wouldn't happen any more. People would only be able to carry ... well ... what they can actually carry.
Look, I'm not a fan of the regime in North Korea, and the currency revaluation has had severe consequences -- it's no laughing matter. But, as with any serious situation north of the DMZ, some of the unintended consequences are absurd. A ban on big bags? How the hell do you get from a money swap to luggage? However twisted the road and unfortunate the consequences, it's hard to hate an idea that would make air travel easier.