I just saw "The Hunger Games” and thought that it was pretty good as movies go. I actually hope that everyone goes to see it. But not because it was a good movie, but because of the obvious and excellent social commentary shared with the viewers by the author. Personally, I prefer movies that make us stop and think about ourselves, our lives and our role while we’re here on this planet.
I hope that movie patrons won’t just get caught up in the love story or the action of the movie. I hope they’ll notice how closely this fictional society paralleled our own — the big one I mean. Our society called the entire human race. Much of our race certainly lives in the squalor as portrayed in “The Hunger Games.” And yes, there absolutely is a portion of our race that lives in such extreme extravagance too.
At the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to a society that is split into two distinct groups. The overwhelming majority of the society is severely impoverished. Little food, extremely poor living conditions, hard manual labor required to survive, etc. These people have nothing. The second part of the society lives truly extravagant lives, wanting for absolutely nothing. This part of the society is much smaller than the other, probably much less than 1 percent of the whole.
This second part of this fictional society is stunning in its excesses as demonstrated by their absurdly "over the top" clothing, excessive attention to incidentals like colored hair, designer eyelashes and fingernails and technological conveniences. The food available to these people was not only excessive in terms of quantity, but excessive in terms of the resources that were being poured into producing food that was only there for pure pleasure. Not a drop of nutritional value in the least. The producers of this movie did an excellent job of detailing the excesses of that society — and showing that all of that extravagance was absolutely at the expense of the vast majority.
None of this could ever happen in our society, right? For we, as a people, would never allow such a circumstance to occur, would we? Well, we might not be as far off as we think.
Let’s take a look at our track record so far. And remember, I’m speaking about “our society” as the entire human race, not just America. Here’s some stats on how we stack up to the fictional society from the “Hunger Games”:
- Every year, 15 million children die of hunger (that’s just the children).
- 3 billion people in the world today struggle to survive on US $2/day.
- It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.
- The assets of the world's three richest men are more than the combined GNP of all the least developed countries on the planet.
- For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years.
- To satisfy the world's sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion — what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.
These statistics were taken from a website called http://library.thinkquest.org. People could, and certainly will, argue about the exact numbers, but the message is indisputable: starvation and extreme poverty are avoidable on our world. The more industrialized nations of the world wouldn’t even need to change their lifestyles all that much to accomplish it.
I know I’m one of the lucky ones. I was born into a very rich society. I am thankful everyday for all the abundance I have in my life. I don’t believe for an instant that we should all live in squalor just because much of the world’s population does. But I do believe we should do whatever we can — and choose to go without, if it means a substantially better life for many others across our planet.
For those of you that would like to start doing something but aren’t sure how to start, try: http://cleanwaterfortheworld.org/