The Most Inept Dystopian Government | Incoming

There are plenty of examples from across alternate
worlds of authoritarian regimes ruling over an embittered population with an iron fist. Yet despite their frequent and ostentatious
displays of power and wealth, many of these governments seem completely incapable of surviving
a rebellion once it occurs. What’s rare however is to come across a
dystopian nation so incompetent, that it seems to have been built solely for the purpose
of encouraging a mass revolt and then collapsing almost immediately. A state designed to fail, culturally, ideologically
and economically. There is no better example of this than the
Nation of Panem. Founded in the ruins of a post-apocalyptic
North America, Panem is comprised of 12 districts each specializing in a specific industry. These districts are bound to the Capitol;
Panem’s largest city and home to the nation’s central seat of government. After a previous rebellion against the Capital
failed, every year, each district offers one boy and one girl to serve as tributes in a
gladiatorial contest, serving as a reminder that the Districts exist at the Capitol’s
mercy. Can you see the problems here already? Let’s break it down. I think the biggest weakness Panem suffers
from is its fantastically inefficient District system. There’s a few different sources on where
these Districts are located in North America, but they all portray them as sizeable regions,
rivalling or surpassing the largest modern US states. The problem here is that each District is
based around a single industry. District 7 makes lumber, District 11 is in
charge of agriculture, you get the idea. While this level of specialization can work in
smaller instances, there are after all, mining towns, college towns and others, to administer
a large section of a continent along these lines is unrealistic and ignores the
natural distribution of resources in favor of artificially imposed boundaries. Just as an example, let’s look at California. In our world it’s one of the most economically
powerful regions on Earth with a GDP greater than all but three other countries. Its major industries include finance, real
estate, professional business services, energy, manufacturing, information and technology,
educational services and healthcare, retail trade, arts & entertainment, construction,
agriculture, forestry, utilities, mining, transportation and so many others. So, what does District 4, Panem’s version
of California produce? Fish. Now, you can argue that not all of California’s
industries could re-emerge following whatever events led to the foundation of Panem, but
the region would still be home to an abundance of natural resources and to ignore all of
them in favor of just one is willfully senseless. One of the main advantages of decentralizing
any industry is to prevent unfavorable circumstances from affecting your entire economy. If inclement weather affects citrus production
in California, you have backups in Florida, and because the entire industry of California
isn’t based around fruit, its effects on the national economy are minor. Contrast that with District 4, one bad fish
harvest and the entire country faces starvation. With every district supplying a critical resource
and no other district allowed to produce the same thing, if even one suffers some sort
of issue, the entire country collapses. To make matters worse, it also means that every
resource has unnecessarily long travel times, rather than growing your own corn, if you live in the wrong district, you gotta wait for it to be shipped to you from across the country. I can’t imagine any rationale for running
a technologically sophisticated economy like this. I have to imagine there’s been at least
one phone call where some guy has messaged the Capitol with news like “Hey, this is Roy from District 10, we just uncovered a bunch of rare-earth elements, valued at well over 1 trillion dollars. What do we do?” and the response being “Sorry pal, you live in the livestock District. Unless what you found goes well on a burger,
I don’t wanna hear about it”. This leads us to the Capitol itself whose
major export is a feeling of smug superiority. The Capitol seemingly exists only to antagonize
the rest of the districts with endless displays of colorful extravagance in contrast to the
grim poverty that grips the rest of the country. The Capitol’s hostile relationship to the
rest of Panem is epitomized in the Hunger Games. In this competition, a boy and girl from each
district are forced to fight one another in a battle to the death. This serves as a form of entertainment for
the Capitol and a reminder to the remainder of the Districts never to rebel again. Although exactly how it serves as a reminder
of the Capitol’s superiority is beyond me, because if anything it just seems to be daring
the rest of the Districts to rebel again. Something like this might be effective at
unifying a nation if each District had some sort of professional Hunger Games Team and
there was an even playing field, but in Panem, only some Districts seem to do this. Where exactly is the sport in watching some
guy who’s been training for this all his life kill some poor soul selected by lottery? Who is watching the Hunger Games and saying
to themselves “Well, I really hate the Captiol, but I gotta hand it to them, they did a really
excellent job of murdering that 12-year-old”. A competition like this only fosters hatred
and resentment instead of unity and patriotism. Naturally when the second rebellion finally
arrives the Capitol is completely helpless to stop it. They destroy District 12 in retaliation, crippling
their own energy supply in the process by the way, and then place most of their military
forces in an underground fortress. This fortress seems to have been cunningly
designed to be unable to withstand a siege however and as soon as the rebels collapse
the entryways it immediately runs out of food and supplies. When the Capitol itself is invaded, the defenders
rely on a bunch of weird, indiscriminate traps and genetically modified creatures that just
seem to love running into bullets. Just use guns and tanks and artillery! Why is everyone trying to reinvent the wheel
here? I could go on about just how incompetent
Panem is, but what really gets me is how its President is always so complacent and confident
about his wildly terrible plans. Everything he attempts ends in complete failure,
but he is too busy making toasts with his cadre of upper-class idiots to even notice. He remains completely oblivious to his own
failures and acts like everything is proceeding entirely to some brilliant strategy known only to him. Panem’s inevitable swift defeat isn’t the result
of maintaining the worst economic system ever designed and ignoring the realities of a civil war,
but rather due to the clever manipulations of a master strategist whose brilliance was
just too much for even his tremendous intellect to overcome. I’m sorry sir, but you’re just an idiot. Of course, all of that is just my opinion
and even though my arguments are infallible I’d like to hear your thoughts! Was Panem an example of administrative genius? Is turning California into a giant fish farm
a great idea? What’s the point of using a bow and arrow
in a modern war? Let me know in the comments, and until next time, thanks for watching. The Templin Institute investigates alternate worlds and realities. If you’ve enjoyed this video and would like to directly support us, vote in polls to determine future topics, and receive some cool rewards, please consider pledging to our Patreon page.

Stephen Childs

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