Real South Korean labor abuses inspired Squid Game

Critics have noted that Squid Game is a critique of capitalism and inequality. Creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk has said it’s about how people go deeply into debt to survive.

Squid Game addresses this problem in an escapist, dystopian tale, suggesting the extreme lengths people might go to in order to rid themselves of debt.

As one of us argues in research about neoliberalism, escapism and seeking utopia, the tension between the traumatic experience of work, on the one hand, and the need to survive, on the other, prompts escapism – precisely because escape from wage labor is impossible for most people.

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