Economic Growth in Panem

March 23, 2012 in Daily Bulletin

We here at Centives are big fans of The Hunger Games, therefore we were quite excited to see that Matthew Yglesais had posted an article that looked at the economics of The Hunger Games. In particular he asked why it was that Panem, a country with such advanced technology as hovercrafts, genetic engineering and sophisticated weaponry could have a population that was so poor. His answer included:

  • In the contemporary world countries which have ‘extractive institutions’ – institutions that exist only to take money away from the local populations and concentrate it among the elite – are generally under-developed, since saving and investment is discouraged. Today countries in Africa and Latin-America are dealing with the legacy of extractive institutions imposed by colonizers.
  • Panem is a country built upon extractive institutions. There is a single purchaser of all goods (the government) and it dictates the meager prices that are offered for the goods. There is no competition. For example the coal mined by the citizens of district 12 can only be sold to The Capitol.
  • Other steps taken to discourage competition and thus economic growth for the masses include restrictions on the freedom of mobility and limitations on the opportunity posed by the natural resources of the surrounding area.
  • As African and Latin American countries are realizing, the biggest problem with such institutions is that once they’re established they’re extremely difficult to eliminate.

To read more about how this relates to District 7, 9, and 10, why Collins was wise to stay away from describing the lifestyle in the Capitol, and why Panem doesn’t even need real democratic equality to quickly grow and improve standards of living, click here.

Source: Slate

Via: Will Dearden