While we are moving into spring, North Korean leaders have decided to stay out in the cold of economic isolationism. In a move sure to solidify its position in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom, North Korea signaled April 1 that it would gradually terminate its experiment with free market system. It’s no joke!

As reported in The New York Times, “North Korea will phase out private markets and restore its state-controlled system, a North Korean government economist said in an interview broadcast late Thursday amid signs that the North was retreating from years of free market experiments.”

According to the 2010 Index, North Korea’s economic freedom score is mere 1.0 out of the 0-100 scale, which not surprisingly marks its economy as the least free in the world. Since the early 1990s, North Korea has replaced the doctrine of Marxism–Leninism with the late Kim Il-Sung’s juche (self-reliance) as the official state ideology. The country’s impoverished population is heavily dependent on government subsidies in housing and food rations, though even the state-run rationing system has deteriorated significantly in recent years.