THBT: On balance, the competitions in Squid Game (2021) are not an accurate representation of capitalism in South Korea
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BoP is shared. PRO argues that SG is not an accurate representation of capitalism in SK. CON argues that it is.
Definitions to be used in this debate:
Squid Game - A South Korean survival drama television series created by Hwang Dong-hyuk for Netflix.
Accurate - 1. Free from error, conforming exactly to truth. 2. Deviating only slightly or within acceptable limits from a standard.
Capitalism - A system in which the voluntary exchange of goods and services is legal.
South Korea - An East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.
(Only RationalMadman can accept.)
- “It argues that an individual’s socio-economic achievements are strongly influenced by their father’s background, thus, outweighing other family background-related factors. Individuals receive unequal opportunities owing to a combination of region, father’s background, and their own gender, thereby, affecting their socioeconomic achievements.” 2
- “It was at this point, when South Korea was near the bottom of the global economic ladder, that it became a contestant in a ruthless global competition similar to the fictional Squid Game. Like most of its fellow competitors, South Korea was impoverished. It was willing to do almost anything to succeed. And it knew that the rules of the game were rigged against cooperation. In fact, the only way to win the game was to bend the rules.” 3
- “South Korea is a highly competitive society in nearly every aspect. From kindergarteners to housewives, people of all ages, genders, and social status center their lives around strengthening their competitiveness. Education and employment are key areas in which this tendency can be observed, with younger generations spending prolonged hours at a myriad of private institutes to be accepted into prestigious universities and ultimately join top-tier companies.According to the 2022 Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor, stress is considered to be one of the largest health concerns among respondents in Korea (35%), following only Argentina (39%) and Switzerland (39%).”
- “Transitioning from an aging society to a super-aged society in just 25 years. The 2022 Ipsos Global Health Service Monitor survey also shows that Korea recognizes aging as the biggest challenge facing their country’s healthcare system (51%), preceded only Japan (52%).” 5
- Competitions in Squid Game are only that, not the participants, their life or the depiction of it in the series.
- Glass Tile Game is so utterly ruthless and luck-based, there is no equivalent in SK's Capitalism. This is also true for the way Marbles suddenly pitted those very close against each other, that doesn't happen in SK's capitalism, the opposite maybe does (needing to ditch your teammate to get further etc).
- SK's capitalism is hybrid system with many socially progressive things in place such as public education, public health insurance (only the insurance, not the healthcare, they have something like what Obamacare was planned to be, in place)
- It is normal for people who are 'losers' financially to be able to live with their parents and not be totally ridiculed and shame for it. It's nowhere near as stigmatised against to be a 30 year old (even male) virgin who lives with your parents if you're SK. Obviously it's weird, usually you will have gotten a chance or two to get laid but generally, it's totally fine there and in many Asian cultures to live long-term with your parents until you truly can afford to move out or the parents pass away.
- SK actually has an increasing lifespan issue, the issue instead is the elderly are being neglected in cases where they have no family to rely on. SK's degree of 'socialism' in the hybrid system in place assumed that the elderly have family to take care of them. Japan is much superior to them at care for the elderly, in contrast, so it is something to work on. The competitions in Squid Game imply that you either die fast or get rich/lucky, even if the dying is taken to be metaphorical it's just not true. There is a high rate of poor people in SK living well into their 70s at least and the life expectancy of the middle class and up is getting to 90, putting it on par with the oldest in the whole world.
“The debate is about the games in Squid Game, it is not about Gi-hun's backstory or anything of the sort. The scope is the games, their structure and how the win condition, rules etc all work vs capitalism in South Korea. It has nothing to do with the series depicting characters and their backstories.”
- The competitors.
- The host.
- The audience.
- The games.
- There is only one truth. A half-truth is as good as a lie.
- The discussion isn’t as simple as clipping a few scenes to draw a comparison.
- Crucial information remains that is too subtle to be transparent to viewers on first glance.