Genetic Degeneration into the Hunger Games

Truth be told, I am just too big of a Hunger Games fan in order to pass up on writing about. And truth be told, the story has very little to do with genetics, but here is my best effort at bridging the two. In The Hunger Games, you see the classic superior race narrative play out. Those in the Capitol are better than all of the people around them (literally, around them in the districts), and thus they are able to force the weaker beings into a menial existence. The citizens of the districts are pawns at the disposal of the superior population located at Panem’s core. Now I foresee two manners in which this supremacist society can evolve into exist.

1) As seen in the past, an authoritarian state such as Panem’s could come from race. A countless number of societies have devolved a certain portion of their population into an existence that was less than that of another section. Pre-Civil War and even Pre-Civil Rights America did just this. American’s believed in class difference with were able to promote an atmosphere of inferior people. These inferior people existed to service the ruling population in whatever way they seem fit, which much of the time includes doing the menial work that the upper class refuses to resort to. Another example, more similar to Panem, was apartheid South Africa. In this society, a racist, minority group was in power leaving all those around them to lead lesser lives. However, this manner of degenerating into a state that would promote the Hunger Games seems less likely in modern times, especially in a future world North America.

(Now we get to genetics)

2) The second manner in which the supremacist Panem could realistically come about is a case of genetic engineering gone awry. Think about Gattaca or Brave New World and you may see my point. In both films, the societies promoted a separation of classes by creating them. Genetic engineering promoted an upper and a lower tier of people. Now with these two groups, it is easy to see a natural progression into a state in which the upper population (i.e. The Capitol) in a position to manipulate the lower (the Districts) in a means that only suffices the upper classes gain. Genetic engineering if let run wild sets up an unbeatable, apartheid society that may be able to crush any rebellion, because from the start they have a better predisposition to do so.

Thus you have the real version of Panem. And with their mighty position, why wouldn’t the “Capitol” relish in the opportunity to promote fear through an entertainment in a real life version of the Hunger Games. It is an idea that wasn’t developed by Suzanne Collins but has been by others, and to me it seems all to real of a possibility. Maybe not to the extremes of Panem, but genetic engineering appears to be a catalyst for dystopian societies in many forms. Maybe we should be aware of this. I am now because I know that Katniss would kick the snot out of me.

-Aldymane

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~ by aldymane on March 26, 2012.

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