>I’ll gladly hold up the DPRK as a success story
So malnutrition, failing infrastructure, a flatlined economy, parasites that affect elite North Korean, but are history in South Korea, gulags and torture, and the like are "successes" now?
And don't try "they've been successful in spite of the sanctions" line of reasoning. The most cynical estimates of sanction effects don't come close to explaining all the regime's economic problems. Furthermore, the economic timelines don't support the "it's all the sanctions" theory: the DPRK's economy was in the crapper long before the nuclear sanctions went into effect. And even if the economy was rosy, there's still the issue of torture, gulags, and purges.
Speaking from firsthand experience as someone who has visited both places and met plenty of North and South Koreans, the DPRK isn't a defensible regime. It just isn't. So if you're going to uphold North Korea as an example of what to do, we're so far apart that any kind of productive exchange just isn't possible. The blinders you're wearing are just too big.
If you have some time, go read the full text of the UN report I linked earlier. It may give you some additional perspective. I'd also encourage you to take a business course or two (I've enjoyed this one. You seem to care deeply about economic issues and I think exploring another point of view might be of value to you. I know it was for me.