Last night I watched the 1973 movie, Soylent Green. It is a futuristic movie set in New York City in the year 2022. The population in the city is 40,000,000 and living in despair, that is, except for politicians and corporate execs. Charlton Heston plays an overworked cop in the 14th precinct.
This movie, while cheesy and poorly acted, has a number of interesting points. The most obvious of these is the class warfare. Their is a very distinct elite and the poor. Their is no middle class what-so-ever. Those who do work, like Heston, are overworked and underpaid. This is contrasted to the lavish life style of the Soylent directors and the Governor.
Water and processed foods are rationed and the masses stand in lines all day in the hope of getting something before supplies run out. Riot control then steps in as the hungry turn ugly. Intimidation is heavy as the threat of “the scoops are coming” is shouted over the bull horn as the cops try to get the people to disperse.
Soylent Corporation, we are told, controls half of the world food supply. There was Soylent Red, then Soylent Yellow, and now the new high energy product, Soylent Green. The people are told that it is made from plankton from the oceans. Real food is virtually non-existent to the masses. Our hero discovers its true source while investigating the murder of a Soylent director. He is then marked for murder before the secret is revealed to the people.
Other interesting points include:
Global warming; the problems are implied to be a result of it from high temperatures to unfarmable land to the dying oceans.
Assisted Suicide; actual depiction of a “ceremony” which facilitates the peaceful “going home”.
Monetary Credits; cash is scarce while welfare reigns in food credits.
Corruption; payoffs abound as the position and power take advantage of whoever may be downstream.
Control; when one lady exits a shop complaining about the small amount she received after standing in line all day, 2 cops drag her away. When a riot erupts, the scoops come. Large front end loader type buckets scoop up people, lifting them over the cab like a garbage truck, pouring them into a dump box to be hauled away.
No Manufacturing; nothing is being produced.
Although things are not exactly as the movie portrayed, it is eerie to see how close the concepts are to our government control, class warfare society today.