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Squid Game Says More About Communism Than Capitalism [Video]

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Squid Game Says More About Communism Than Capitalism

The breakout Netflix series contains critiques of a decidedly “anti-capitalist” political and economic system that’s haunted the Korean Peninsula.

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Squid Game, the breakout Korean series about players competing to the death for a giant piggy bank full of cash, is Netflix’s biggest series launch, and co-CEO Ted Sarandos says “there’s a very good chance it will be our biggest show ever.”

Critics have argued that the show offers a devastating critique of contemporary capitalism. 

In a Jacobin review headlined, “Squid Game Is An Allegory of Capitalist Hell,” the writer asserts that “Korea’s extreme inequality is Squid Game’s central theme.” New York Times reporter Jin Yu Young wrote that “it has…tapped a sense familiar to people in the United States…that prosperity in nominally rich countries has become increasingly difficult to achieve, as wealth disparities widen and home prices rise past affordable levels.” 

The show’s creator Hwang Dong-hyuk told Variety that he “wanted to write a story that was an allegory or fable about modern capitalist society, something that depicts an extreme competition, somewhat like the extreme competition of life.”

“Is there a theme more unifying in global pop culture than ‘capitalism is bad?'” asks Vulture writer Roxana Hadadi in her recap of one episode before continuing, “It helps that the statement is true, of course…”

But Squid Game has a much richer and more resonant takeaway than “capitalism is bad.”

(Warning: This article and video contain spoilers.)

The series hints at a different message when Front Man, the Darth Vader–esque manager of the dangerous and lucrative series of competitions, chastises an employee who violated the rules. “You’ve ruined the most crucial element of this place: equality,” he says.

Later, players are invited to witness the mass execution of those who violated the “pure ideology” of this insulated world when they participated in an organ harvesting scheme for personal enrichment, with the emphasis on the enrichment as the heart of the crime. Throughout the games, the faceless pink-uniformed workers are all masked with only symbols distinguishing their ranks in the collective’s hierarchy. Meanwhile, the elites sit cloistered together, observing the spectacle from above.

Does this all sound like a reference to capitalism or a different economic system—the one that’s actually haunted the Korean Peninsula?

Produced by Zach Weissmueller; graphics by Calvin Tran

Photo credits: Dong-Min Jang/ZUMAPRESS/Newscom; Wang Yiliang / Xinhua News Agency/Newscom;  Rod Lamkey – CNP/Sipa USA/Newscom


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Cody Wilson Thwarts Another Attempt To Stop Ghost Guns [Video]

The ATF is expected to adopt a new rule requiring that the metal parts hobbyists used to manufacture their DIY weapons be registered as legal firearms. So Cody Wilson made those parts unnecessary.Full text, links, and credits: to our YouTube channel: us on Facebook:​​​ineFollow us on Twitter:​​​Reason is the planet's leading source of news, politics, and culture from a libertarian perspective. Go to for a point of view you won't get from legacy media and old left-right opinion magazines.----------------*CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that the Ghost Gunner sells for $500. The deposit is $500, and the final sales price is $2,500 before shipping. The text has been updated to correct the error.The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is expected to adopt a new rule in the coming weeks with the potential to undermine the DIY gun industry: It will require that the metal parts that hobbyists used to manufacture their so-called ghost guns be registered as legal firearms.Cody Wilson, the founder of the Austin-based Defense Distributed and a prominent figure in the DIY gun movement, has been planning a countermove that he says will allow his customers to circumvent the new rule: The company has modified its* home milling machine so that users no longer need to load it with the partially fabricated metal parts subject to the new rule.Instead, they'll be able start from scratch with a solid block of aluminum.The newest version of the Ghost Gunner, a milling machine that's roughly the size of home printers, will now be able to "take raw materials…in their primordial state…and turn them into guns," Wilson tells Reason. Blocks of aluminum will not be subject to the new regulation.It's not the first time the federal government has tried to undermine Wilson's business. In 2013, the State Department ordered him to take down plans posted to his website for his first 3D-printed gun, the Liberator. Wilson sued on First Amendment grounds, which led to a 2018 settlement with federal government, a media firestorm, and a 9th Circuit Court injunction against states trying to ban sharing of the files in 2021.The new 100-page administrative rule issued by the ATF, which was published to the Federal Register in May 2021 for public review, will change the definition of a firearm to encompass "weapon parts kit[s]…designed to or [which] may readily be assembled, completed, converted, or restored."If adopted, it will mean that the federal government will require gun part kits sold online to bear the same serial numbers as do fully manufactured firearms, which could put most companies in the space out of business because customers won't want to deal with the bureaucratic hurdles of registering their parts.Wilson says that Defense Distributed is the only DIY gun company pivoting in the face of the upcoming rule, so its real impact will be to drive his competitors off the market. Biden is "giving us, the nation's premier ghost gun company, a monopoly of the market," Wilson says.*CORRECTION: The original version of this article stated that the Ghost Gunner sells for $500. The deposit is $500, and the final sales price is $2,500 before shipping. The text has been updated to correct the error.Produced by Zach Weissmueller; camera by John Osterhoudt; additional footage by Mark McDaniel; intro graphics by Regan Taylor; additional graphics by Nodehaus.Photos: Karen Ducey/ZUMA Press/Newscom