If we go with the highest-end estimates of what it cost North Korea to burn up the sky this past Friday the 13th, we’re left with a staggering bit of DPR-Kaput math. The sum of $850 million U.S., divided by 120 seconds (e.g. the roughly two minutes the rocket flew), equals a new benchmark for the dirt-poor country of seven million dollars per second.
Unfortunately for Kim Jong-un, his subjects had to put together the rocket mechanism and fuel payload themselves. Otherwise, he could have simply instructed Office 39 to crank up production of counterfeit U.S. one-hundred dollar notes and paid some international third-party rocket dealer with 8,500,000 crisp ones.
To Friday‘s colossal pointy write-off, North Korea must add $200 million more, the value of the 240 tons of food aid that the U.S., on the same day, officially confirmed it had rescinded. Meaning that the total price tag for this birthday celebration farce orbits a billion dollars.
To put that amount in micro-macro perspective, let’s quickly drop the direct and indirect costs of Friday’s fireworks into the 99th ranked country’s estimated annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In the span of one 268,800-th of a year, North Korea blew the equivalent of about one-fortieth of the value of total goods it will produce in 2012. Meaning that the headline for this item could just as easily have been – “Pyongyang, We Have a Math Problem.”