Netflix Inc's NFLX "Squid Game" has not just proven to be a global smash hit, the show has also brought to light certain truths about South Korea's debt crisis, especially concerning the country's small business owners, with stringent bankruptcy rules hampering their ability to gain employment.
The 'Squid Game' Parallel: A story from Reuters highlights the issues faced by many small business owners who have filed for bankruptcy in South Korea. Their plight has been linked to those of the characters from Netflix's popular series Squid Game, with parallels drawn about the inability to repay their debts.
The Reuters report also highlights how household borrowing is fueling private investments and household growth with many Koreans believing that speculating on the markets and other assets is the easiest way to become wealthy. The story also discusses how due to the banking system prevalent in the country, business owners are forced to take on a bulk of the debt themselves to start and run their businesses.
Further, applicants with poor credit ratings — or a history of default — need assurances from state-run financial institutions, adding another layer of laboriousness to an already stressful process.
The Rising Debt Problem: A report from the Korean Credit Information cites that individuals falling behind more than one type of personal debit payment has risen from 48% in 2017 to 55.47% in June this year. Another report from the country's central bank showed that 38% of these kinds of businesses fail after three years, despite the number of self-employed South Koreans ranking amongst the world's highest.
The aforementioned situation was summed up by a 40-year-old entrepreneur named Ryu Kwang, who struggled to get a loan despite successfully leaving the debtor rehabilitation program.
"How is this different from Squid Game if there [are] no second chances," Kwang said.
Squid Game has been viewed over 142 million times worldwide and recently became Netflix's most-watched show, boosting the platform's earnings in the process.
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