North Korea is one of the most efficient totalitarian regimes existing in the world today. Especially after 1958 Premier Kim Il-song intensified the drive to heighten the cult of personality and to consolidate the control and administrative mechanisms in order to ensure the maintenance and operation of an efficient and effective power structure.
Between 1953 and 1958 the socioeconomic environment in North Korea underwent a radical change. Adjustments in the structure and function of local administrative and control mechanisms reflected these economic changes. The prefecture (the kun, or county) became the most important administrative unit. Through collectivization of farms and accompanying administrative reorganization, the ri (the precinct) was transformed from a purely administrative unit to a production unit. The functions traditionally performed by the People's Committees at the prefectural level were dispersed among different agencies, and the party structure at the prefectural level was expanded and given new powers. These measures were carried out between 1953 and 1964 for the purpose of increasing efficiency and efficacy in local administration. They were also designed to insure party control over the entire society. At the end of the reform period, the supremacy of the party was structurally guaranteed. The improvement in control, administration, and production, however, does not necessarily result from structural changes alone, and the problem of controlling and manipulating human beings still remains as an important problem.