Much hyperbole surrounds the political regime in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea). Many analysts argue that North Korea is a unique political system. What kind of regime is the DPRK, and what kind of leader does it have? A variety of labels are given to the North Korean regime. These include likening the regime to an organized crime family and to a corporatist organism. There are certainly merits to each of these approaches, but each has its limitations. Pyongyang does share some of the attributes of organized crime and certainly engages in criminal activity in a systematic and calculating manner. This pattern of illicit behavior includes the production and distribution of narcotics as well as the counterfeiting of foreign currencies, cigarettes, and pharmaceuticals. But the DPRK is more than a crime family—it possesses a massive conventional military force as well as significant strategic forces. Moreover, the regime continues to brainwash, imprison, or starve North Koreans, inflicting untold misery and death on its people. Corporatism, meanwhile, may provide insights into certain aspects of the system, but its utility is limited by the confusion that surrounds understanding of this concept. An absolute dictator still rules the regime.