Social studies

Squid Game: Shedding Light on Global Inequality

The South Korean survival drama series Squid Game debuted on Netflix on September 17, 2021, and it quickly became a global phenomenon. The Hwang Donghyuk-created program is about a group of people who are struggling to make ends meet and are convinced to participate in a variety of kid’s activities in the hope of winning a substantial cash prize.  However, the games turn out to be far more perilous than anticipated, forcing the contestants to fight for their survival.

The show’s success was aided by its portrayal of global inequality; it depicted ” how the rich few exploit the poor many” in society. The gap between the rich and the poor has widened to frightening proportions, with a small proportion of the world’s population controlling an excessively high portion of wealth and resources. This disparity impedes stability and growth on a global scale, in addition to perpetuating social inequality. Squid game successfully portrayed how this leads to immense destruction and extremism in  society.

The show’s creator, Hwang Dong-hyuk, has stated in interviews that the program was inspired by his personal experiences of living in poverty in South Korea. His objective was to highlight the issue of inequality in Korean society and depict the struggles of the working class. Squid Game’s success has raised public awareness of these issues on a global scale and sparked discussions about how inequality impacts people’s lives.

Additionally, Squid Game agrees with the results of the Oxfam report by depicting a world in which economic disparity has terrible effects. The show portrays a society in which the wealthy and powerful exploit the poor for their own entertainment, mirroring the unsettling truth that the top 1% of the global population owns more than twice as much money as the bottom 99%. Squid Game highlights the difficulties faced by the working class and their desperation to escape poverty, showing growing dissatisfaction with the current economic structure. The exhibition emphasizes the urgent need for systemic reform to address poverty and inequality, as underlined by the Oxfam report, by presenting economic inequality in its starkest form.

As during the pandemic, this disparity was at its peak when health spending decreased in half of the poorest countries, while 95 percent of all nations froze or even decreased taxes on the wealthy and corporations, while the poor were facing the burden of ever-increasing inflation with the same average income and in some cases even a decrease in it. This demonstrates the saying, “Strong do what they want to do and the weak have to suffer.” The wealthy, as depicted in “Squid Game,” were continuing their lifestyles or even improving them, while the poor were starving, experiencing the worst economic and health situations, and were willing to give their lives up for a better one.

The TV show “Squid Game” has prompted debates on how or if it depicts a fictionalized version of communism. Contestants risk their lives to compete for a chance at a sizable cash reward in the dystopian future of the show. Some viewers interpret it as a warning about the perils of extreme ideologies, with its depiction of a society where people compete with one another for existence in a violent and unequal setting. This has been compared to criticisms of communism as a system that can result in oppressive governments.

As debates about inequality and radical ideologies continue, “Squid Game” has prompted crucial discussions on the effects of poverty on people and communities, putting light on the most critical social challenges of our time. 

Khola Junaid is an Undergraduate Student of Strategic Studies at the National Defense University (NDU), Islamabad, Pakistan. 

Writer can be contacted at kholajunaid2004@gmail.com

SAKHRI Mohamed

I hold a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations as well as a Master's degree in international security studies, alongside a passion for web development. During my studies, I gained a strong understanding of key political concepts, theories in international relations, security and strategic studies, as well as the tools and research methods used in these fields.

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