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Do you see the point of “Squid Game”?

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Like most people, I’ve watched and enjoyed Squid Game on Netflix (the original language version with subtitles, avoid the dubbed version), but did you get the point? I’ll avoid giving away too much, in case you still haven’t watched it, but what’s the point of Squid Game? Well, it’s the same point as many other movies from Metropolis to Hunger Games … money, inequality, life, hope and death. The core point of Squid Game is that people who are desperate will do anything for money.

Squid Game lays bare South Korea’s real-life personal debt crisis

The total amount of debt run up by ordinary South Koreans exceeds GDP by 5%. In individual terms, it means that even if you saved every single penny you earned for an entire year, you would still be unable to repay your debt. And the number of people with debt problems is rising at an exponential rate.

We see this in most films and TV shows. If you have a squeeze on someone for a dollar or more, you have that someone in your control. Bear in mind that most films and TV shows relate to some form of reality, and you can see that people will do desperate things when they are desperate.

Here’s a few examples:

Many students are actively having to offer sex to cover the costs of university. Not syure about that? Well, Leicester University just launched a sex worker toolkit for the students because “we recognise the social stigma associated with sex work and are supportive of students who earn a living through sex work“. It’s had some backlash, as critiques say it’s more like a guide into how to get into the sex trade.

A CNBC series called Deadly Rich found many cases where people killed family members to try and collect money on insurance or revenge for being mean. One of the most extreme cases was 19-year-old Alan Hruby who killed his mum, dad and sister because his parents refused him a $3,000 loan.

According to a 2020 report from the American Journal of Epidemiology, people who have recently experienced severe financial strain have a 20-times greater risk of attempting suicide than those who have not encountered hardship.

Meanwhile, people of all ages are affected, and some even now rob banks because that’s where the money is.

Pensioner Alan Slattery, 67, tried to rob a branch of Nationwide in Eastbourne, Sussex, using a handwritten note that said: ‘your screen won’t stop what I’ve got, just hand over the 10s and the 20s. Think about the other customers’. But staff were confused and struggled to decipher the message due to Slattery’s scrawl and he left without any cash.

He got a four year prison sentence plus an extra two years on licence.

Desperate actions for desperate times.

“Money is like sex. It seems much more important if you don’t have any.” – Charles Bukowski

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.” -- Dorothy Parker

“As a general rule, nobody has money who ought to have it.” -- Benjamin Franklin.

Scott Fitzgerald: “Let me tell you about the very rich, they are different from you and me.” Earnest Hemingway: “Yes. They've got more money.”

“[…] in turn he must review his financial position, see if he could somehow restore it from complete impossibility to its usual level of imminent disaster, […]” -- from Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis

“Money is better than Poverty, if only for financial reasons.” -- Woody Allen

“No man is rich enough to buy back his past.” -- Oscar Wilde

“Money can’t buy friends, but you can get a better class of enemy.” -- Spike Milligan

“I’ve got all the money I’ll ever need, if I die by four o’clock this afternoon.” -- Henry Youngman (It’s Only Money by Peter Pugh)

“The only reason I made a commercial for American Express was to pay my American Express bill.” -- Peter Ustinov

“Money is like a sixth sense without which you cannot make a complete use of the other five.” — W. Somerset Maugham

“How in the hell could a man enjoy being awakened at 8:30 a.m. by an alarm clock, leap out of bed, dress, force-feed, shit, piss, brush teeth and hair, and fight traffic to get to a place where essentially you made lots of money for somebody else and were asked to be grateful for the opportunity to do so? “ —  Charles Bukowski

Quotes sourced from Simon Constable on Forbes


And, if you've read this far, you may be interested to know that you can play Squid Game in real life ... just follow the signs.



If you're still reading, here's one of my favourite jokes about a squid.

A shark is circling the sea when he comes across a squid that looks a bit ill.

“What's up Squid?” asks the shark.

“I ate the wrong thing”, says the squid, “and feel a bit iffy”, as he coughed and released green ink.

“No worries”, says the shark, “maybe I can help?”

“How?”, says the squid.

“Well, do you need a lift home?” says the shark.

“That would be great!” says the squid, and he hops onto the shark's back.

As the shark takes the squid towards the deeper waters, he suddenly takes a turn.

“Where are you going?” asks the squid, worried.

“Just a quick stop at my friend Dave's house”, replies the shark.

Dave is a shark. He's sitting near the ocean floor looking for food.

“Dave”, says the first shark.

“Frank”, says Dave.

“Dave”, says the shark, “here's that sick squid I owe you.”


Oh dear ...

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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