Elizabeth Banks, left, plays Effie Trinket, and Jennifer Lawrence plays… (Murray Close / Lionsgate )
Reporting from Washington — What would a world without free enterprise look like? The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says the answer is as close as your local theater, where the "The Hunger Games" shows the perils of big government.
The dystopian future nation of Panem, in which the movie is set, highlights the dangers of a lack of free trade, innovation and competition, the business group said.
That would be economic competition, not the fight-to-the-death contest that gives the blockbuster movie its name.
"Panem is hyperbole, but it clearly shows the consequences of a society devoid of free enterprise," the group wrote Monday on its Free Enterprise website.
The allusions to current-day Washington are clear in the post from the nation's largest business group, which has clashed sharply with President Obama over sweeping new healthcare and financial regulations.
The group notes that residents of the districts outside of Panem's opulent Capitol have no chance for achievement or growth, which does not allow their "natural talents to flourish."
Free trade is nonexistent -- except for the black market -- because the "wealth of the districts is sent to the Capitol, minus meager rations allotted by the government." And there is no competition to create innovation because "the industry of each district is mandated by the Capitol."
It sounds a bit like healthcare reform gone wild.
The Chamber of Commerce is not the first to use "The Hunger Games" to make an economic/political argument. The post links to a column in Forbes titled "Suzanne Collins' 'The Hunger Games' Illustrates the Horrors of Big Government."
"Though agreement is not uniform, and our government not nearly as oppressive as the one in 'The Hunger Games,' many Americans simply want to be left alone, to get their lives back," John Tamny wrote in the Forbes column. "'The Hunger Games' seems to channel this natural, and very American, urge to be free."
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