Or a Look at The Social System that Should be Featured in ‘Squid Game’
Firstly, “capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned,” according to “What Is Capitalism?” by Ayn Rand. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 19. This social system improves quality of life, life expectancy, and overall human flourishing.
As most folks run to say Squid Game (2021-) is an indictment of capitalism, places like North Korea have said the series “exposes the reality of South Korean capitalist culture,” Todd Spangler of Variety reports. The show reveals “a world where only money matters — a hell-like horror” and where “corruption and immoral scoundrels are commonplace.” If corruption and immoral scoundrels truly ruled the world and Spangler believed this, there would be no space for capitalism to even gasp let alone breathe. Roxana Hadad of Vulture says with “capitalism’s corruption of conscience” the show about games further extends the fallacy that capitalism is bad. If she is to hold the view that capitalism is vile, she should study the histories of the absence of even hints of the system in Soviet Russia, East Berlin, the Cambodian killing fields, the American South in the nineteenth century and of course, North Korea.
Squid paints a bloody picture of the brutality of democracy and the idealism of feudalism. In the story, hundreds of debt-ridden people play kids’ games for a chance at billions of Korean won. The catch? They must pass the games or be killed. There’s resonant acting, sharp cinematography, and exacting dialogue here. That’s just the aesthetics. They inform the political thrust behind the series.
In truth, the elements of democracy show just how vicious it can be if it does not simply pertain to electing political leaders. The characters are caught in a web of deception and trickery rather than a platform for exchanging goods in a rational manner. Now, in the show, the players opt to not play in the game based on votes. Fortunately, the people opt to have the choice to leave the game. What if the vote had gone the other way? Those people could have been slaughtered because of unlimited majority rule.
Capitalism is nonexistent in this entire series. Where there should be mutual trade in the lead actor Lee Jung-jae (Seong Gi-hun, Player 456), he is depicted as having been the victim of robbery but also not trading value for value with the people with whom he owes money. Just because money is passed from people and the idea of claiming even more cash has been written into the show, it does not include an entire system based on freedom and justice. Capitalism is centered around the protection of individual rights, including property rights.
Squid is in no way denouncing capitalism as it is promoting the evils of collectivism, and mob rule, the twin evils at the crux of socialism. The thought that human beings’ lives can be cut down during a game of green light, red light, is a testament to the notion that fascism, and socialism/communism are all viruses attacking the good cells of capitalism.
The only reason why someone so desperate would accept the games is because of the ideology they don’t consciously hold but show with glee on this series and others: irrational selfishness. Rational selfishness would say pay down debts in a way of producing and making money the legal, far less risky way. Would this make for good television? Is this why Squid Games is the biggest scripted series in Netflix history? Why is it such a draw?
While it is tempting to say capitalism is the culprit in all of this, why haven’t the other social systems been put on the chopping block? Why is capitalism automatically made the scapegoat for dire, dark, and despicable acts? Free markets would allow the Squid Game players to pursue their own lives and build fortunes without the deadly games. Capitalism would rule the day.