Donju: The Growing Middle Class

Originally, people turned to the Jangmadang just to get by and find what they needed to survive. But now, these markets have become a place where people can build up serious wealth. This has given rise to a new group of middle-class folks known as the "donju." These are people who have managed to stack up a good amount of money through their dealings in the markets.

Markets aren't just places to shop; they're a big source of money for the government.

Here's how it works: The Market Management Office runs things, charging sellers a rental fee (known as "Jangse") to set up shop there. The fee can change based on a bunch of factors, like the time of year, where the market is, and what's being sold. Here's the kicker though: buying a stall isn't a one-and-done deal. Stall owners have to pay a daily rental fee to the Market Management Officer, on top of buying their spot. It’s a continuous expense to keep a business running there.