In The Hunger Games, kids in poor families take out extra chances in their District lottery — that is, extra chances to die — in return for extra food rations; in ours, poor kids enlist in the military to feed their families and maybe escape economic doom. Many are seduced by military recruiters who stalk them in high school with promises as slippery as those the slave trade uses to recruit poor young women for sex work abroad.
And then there’s another form of debt peonage that is far more widespread in our strange and ever-changing land: student loans. The young are constantly told that only a college education can give them a decent future. Then they’re told that, to pay for it, they need to go into debt — usually into five figures, sometimes well into six. And these debts are, in turn, governed by special laws that don’t allow you to declare bankruptcy — no matter what. In other words, they are guaranteed to follow you all your life.»Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, American Dystopia, Fiction or Reality? | TomDispatch (via nickturse)