Have you seen the movie the Hunger Games?
The plot of the movie involves 24 teenagers taken from 12 different districts who are turned loose in a wooded area with limited weapons and supplies. The object of the game is to be the one and only survivor.
The people in most of these districts live in poverty compared to the people who live in the capital city where the game participants are taken. Throughout the movie, the participants are often told “Good luck, and may the odds be ever in your favor!”
Once the games begin, the elite along with law makers all sit back, sipping their expensive cocktails, as they watch the lower class people brutally fight to the death in order to win.
Whenever the elite do not like how the game is going or someone is not participating to their liking, they change the game by throwing in huge man-eating dogs or shooting fireballs into the woods. The elite want to maintain control at any cost.
In some ways, I saw this movie as a metaphor of life in the United States. Of course there are no huge man-eating dogs or fireballs, but we are told we can achieve the American Dream if we take some risks and play by the rules, but we often don’t realize that for most people, the game is stacked against us and the rules keep changing in order to benefit the people who are already successful.
Wealthy people and corporations already have most of the power in America. We the people have some power in voting, but even that power is weak since the candidate who raises the most money almost always wins.
Plus no matter who we elect, once they get to Washington, they have to pander to the powerful corporations and their lobbyists if they want to get re-elected.
The very wealthiest individuals and corporations exercise great control over our politicians by hiring lobbyists and creating Political Action Committees that make huge campaign contributions to the politicians who work to benefit those corporations. In the US, we have dozens of full-time lobbyists for each and every member of Congress, and not one of them is working to benefit you and me.
All too often lobbyists are allowed to write laws and regulations that benefit the corporation that hired them.
Let’s say, for example, that Corporation XYZ makes a patented component that is used in constructing new computers. But there are other companies that make a cheaper component that is used for the same purpose. Corporation XYZ doesn’t like the fact that smaller businesses make a less expensive component for computers.
So Corporation XYZ hires lobbyists that are sent to Washington to convince law makers that their component is safer and better, which means all computers should be created with Corporation XYZ components. Because they donated big cash to the politician’s campaign coffer, the lobbyists are allowed to help write the legislation and the regulation is born.
Now it’s a law that companies that make computers must use the patented component Corporation XYZ makes for computer construction. But this regulation has another price; it forces the computer manufacturers to do one of two things:
Move their factory overseas where the regulation does not exist to remain competitive with their pricing.
Purchase the Corporation XYZ components, but then they must mark up their price to cover the added expense, which will makes their computers more expensive than computers being constructed abroad.
None of this benefits the American people. Plus if the company moves their manufacturing overseas, that means lost US jobs. Obviously this game only allows the elite to continue to run the show, at the expense of small business, the middle class, and poor.
Just as the rules change in the Hunger Games in order to get the result that the people in power want, the rules are often changed to benefit the people who are already powerful at the expense of everyone else.
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