Is The Hunger Games This Generation’s Atlas Shrugged?

Is The Hunger Games this generation’s Atlas Shrugged? Or 1984?

I hope so. Our entire family saw it over the weekend. Until two weeks ago my knowledge of it was limited to the fact that my daughters had read all three books twice and talked about it incessantly. Now I get it. (pic via Wiki)

[The Hunger Games: Movie Tie-in Edition]

The movie is set in the classic “dystopian future” (think Logan’s Run to some extent). But the scary part is how it’s not that different.

I see a lot of 1984 in this movie. And the difference between The Hunger Games‘s Reaping and a military draft or compulsory “national service” … is one of degree rather than kind.

The name “Panem” is perfect in this context. Brilliant. The Capitol reminds me of what we have now, taken to its ultimate conclusion. All riches and power centered in Washington, and that in turn feeds off of the rest of the country. Remember how we recently learned that many of the most wealthy counties in the U.S. are in the Washington D.C. area?

The Hunger Games Movie: First in an Exciting Trilogy: Collins’ story does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the total state. As already indicated, the name she chose for the futuristic dystopia in her tale is Panem. Why? Consider the Latin phrase “panem et circenses” (“bread and circuses”), which succinctly describes the ancient Roman welfare system and gladiatorial games intended to keep the masses content and entertained — as well as contained and subservient. In fact, “panem et circenses” is often used to describe a governmental system of distracting the public with diversions to address the immediate and shallow needs of the populace long enough so that they may not consider the oppressive public policies of the regime in power. And Collins’ Panem does exactly that. The government provides just enough bread and food to sustain the district dwellers so that they are not desperate enough to rebel, but not so much that they no longer need their government.

Jeffrey Tucker comments …

Democracy Is Our Hunger Game – Laissez-Faire Bookstore: But invite these same people into the political ring, and they become enemies. Why? Politics is not cooperative like the market; it is exploitative. The system is set up to threaten the identity and choices of others. Everyone must fight to survive and conquer. They must kill their opponents or be killed. So coalitions form, and constantly shifting alliances take shape. This is the world that the state — through its election machinery — throws us all into. It is our national sport. We cheer our guy and hope for the political death of the other guy.

The game makes people confused about the real enemy. The state is the institution that sets up and lives off these divisions. But people are distracted by the electoral and political mania. The blacks blame the whites, the men blame the women, the straights blame the gays, the poor blame the rich, and so on in an infinite number of possible ways.

If you don’t want to read the book, do see the movie, tell your friends. See it again. And May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor.

Additional links:
Everything The Hunger Games Movie Left Out The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set
The Hunger Games (Book) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Hunger Games (film) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
6 of the 10 richest counties in U.S. are in DC area

  • Parsifalssister

    The movie/film was off my radar, but your enthusiasm put it front and center of a “must see” as I love dystopian concepts.

  • John

    Anyone can write a book or movie “dystopia” which feeds on schadenfreude.

    Miss Rand showed how things might and ought to be. She gave a full, brilliant vision of it with a rational philosophy down to the root as foundation.

    Anything even remotely like that in the trilogy of books?

    • JustRuss

      There is actually quite a bit of philosophy behind the how’s and why’s of the system in the books.  And it is scary,  It seems like the 1% vs 99% except the 1% are not who we currently think they are.

  • CH

    I had read the book one of the Hunger Games and just saw the movie.  The book offered more character and plot development – so if you liked the movie the book is worth the read as well.  Likewise, if you enjoyed the book (and are willing to accept some small changes and cuts) the movie is also a must.  

    I am just now starting Atlas Shrugged (book) after seeing part one of the film (opposite to my HG experience).  In regards to the movie, which I fully recommend, I think that it did a better job of delivering commentary on political action and policy as it can/will/does impact our lives.

    Is HG this generations AS/1984? I think so.  But I do not think that HG is in direct competition for AS’s spot.  Having only read book one of HG and seen part one of AS, I would almost link them together in this way:

    If advice from AS is not heeded, then HG may result.

    Obviously my opinion and stance may change as I continue on with both stories, but I would enthusiastically recommend all of the works mentioned above to anyone concerned with or interested in the roll of government in our lives and how subtle shifts in power can greatly affect society.

    Thank you for writing the above article!!  Very enjoyable.