Netflix show “Squid Game” criticizes capitalism and consent – The Daily Eastern News


Editor’s Note: This column contains spoilers from the “Squid Game” show.

“Squid Game” is a trendy Korean TV show that debuted in September 2021 about a game addict Gi-Hun who, needing money to save both his mother’s life and his own, resorts to a deadly game where only one of 456 participants can win. The payment is 45.6 billion yen (approximately 38 million USD).

Along with the series’ gripping plot and tense gameplay scenes where one misstep can kill you, the themes are (not) surprisingly philosophical, offering strong critiques of libertarianism, capitalism, and the futility of equality. in unfair circumstances.

When I say “Squid Game” in capital letters I am referring to a TV show, and when I say “Squid Game” in lower case I am referring to the set of games in which the characters participate.

Squid Game questions if consent is sufficient for an action to be authorized. Can I hurt other people for fun if they agree and give them money?

At the start of Episode 1, Gi-Hun runs into the bathroom to escape a Korean mafia to whom he owes money. The mafia pushes him aside and hits him in the face. With a knife in Gi-Hun’s nose, the Mafia threatens Gi-Hun to give up his bodily rights if he cannot repay the Mafia or be killed on the spot. Gi-Hun, with the coercive threat of the Mafia, gives up his rights in blood (9:20).

“Squid Game” contrasts this scene, which is no longer mentioned later in the plot, to a scene similar to the squid game installation. After being gassed unconscious and moved to an unknown location, participants in the squid game have the option of either consenting to the games by signing a contract or leaving the games. All the participants sign the contract, and one of the workers reminds everyone that they “volunteered to participate in this game of [their] free will ”(38:40).

These two scenes look different, but are they really? Later, participants find out that the games they consented to will result in their death if they lose, so in every contract signing scene, a breach of the contract results in the death of the person: if Gi-Hun does not reimburse mafia or if he loses one of the six squid games, he will die.

“Squid Game” argues that, since it is wrong to force Gi-Hun to sign a contract in which he must either pay off his debt or lose his kidneys and eyes, it is also wrong to allow Gi-Hun to sign a contract. where he can die if he makes a mistake. This shows that capitalism uses the terms “freedom” and “consent” to hide the fact that it is forcing people into unjust circumstances. Squid game leaders wrongly take advantage of the poor by forcing them economically to participate in a “game” in which they will die.

Ian Palacios is a young student of English and Philosophy. He can be reached at 581-2812 or

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