I decided to watch the newest series on Netflix that everyone talks about – Squid Game, South Korean, dystopian drama. I’m not a massive fan of such shows, but I wanted to see what the hype is about. I always try to understand the dynamics of why something becomes popular and successful.
Here is my analysis of why the show resonates with so many people.
Personal Debt Crisis
The first major issue is a personal debt crisis.
Currently, so many people struggle financially, this could partially be attributed to the effects of the pandemic. The personal debt crisis is on the rise. So many people lost their jobs as a result of the virus, businesses went bust. Prices are rising everywhere due to various factors. Household debt in South Korea has been growing in recent years and is now equivalent to more than 100% of GDP – a level not seen elsewhere in Asia. The growing number of South Koreans are choked by debt, but this is also an issue for many other nationalities. Financial stress is linked to psychological distress, difficulties with coping with friends and family, poor physical health, and a lot more.
The second major problem is class division.
The gap between rich and poor is getting bigger and bigger. The fact that two thousand of the wealthiest people in the world have more wealth than 60% of the total population (4.6 billion people) makes many people angry and frustrated. In a way, the system is rigged and the rich protect themselves and want to keep their wealth in their own hands, while the bottom class has to work very hard for pennies. Corporate lobbying, banks that can be saved by the governments when they screw things up, and small businesses that are required to close down to “protect the public” during pandemic while big companies were able to take advantage of the situation.
“Amazon and Walmart have raked in billions in additional profits during the pandemic and shared almost none of it with their workers” source
I would argue that these two areas, the personal debt, and financial stress, and the massive wealth gap between the rich and the poor are the key things that resonate with most people. Money is the fundamental factor of wellbeing for most people. Without money, you can’t do much, you can’t function in the modern world. You can’t buy food, pay your rent, take care of your basic needs… It affects everyone and this is why the Squid Game became so popular.
Obviously, there are many more factors why the series became such a success. The contrast is often a factor in making things more visible. Here you have adults, playing kid’s games in a life and death scenario.
The attention-grabbing simplicity and minimalism. The “guards” wearing pink uniforms with geometric shapes on their foreheads. Additionally, once the hype starts, the media picks it up and suddenly everyone talks about it, this now makes more people want to watch the show…
The question remains, how can we change the system so the bottom majority is not being used by the wealthy few for their own gain?
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Image credits: Netflix