Imagine a world similar to 1984, in which the government controls almost everything. It may sound too harsh but this is already reality. Dystopian is a fictional place with bad things happening, but it’s too close to reality for us to call this dystopian. George Orwell’s novel 1984 is a hyperbolic version of our world. When compared to today, the similarities are too great for comfort. For example, history has been erased; food is rationed and energy is scarce. Socialism, communism, and rationing are all dominant.
Changes in history could affect the way things are done today. Winston believes that lies can be made into truths by convincing enough people. Winston states, “And if the Party’s lie was accepted by all–if every record told the same story–then it would pass into history as truth.” (Orwell 34). History can influence people’s thinking. Winston says: “Day by Day and almost Minute by Minute the Past was brought up-to-date.” Orwell (Orwell, 40) says that “documentary proof could show that every prediction of the Party was correct”. The idea that a long-ago event can have an effect on the present is frightening. Because people base decisions on the past. People may not even notice when history is changed. Alexander Ljungqvist said, “Across seven downloads of I/B/E/S, obtained between the years 2000 and 2007, we found that between 6,580 (1.6%) and 97.582 (21.7%) matching observations were different between downloads”. This proves that some changes are not noticed. If you only change a couple of words, it might not seem important, but if several people do the same thing, the document may end differently. The researcher says that these changes are also not random. They cluster by analyst reputations, broker sizes and statuses, and boldness of recommendations. People don’t always realize that the information they read about historical figures is incorrect because someone else wants it to be. It’s wrong for someone to change something out of selfishness, but this is what happens in real life.
In 1984, rationing was the norm. People understood what rationing meant and felt. They had no choice, they were forced to face it. “Bad News Coming,” Winston thought. Following a gory, horrifying account of a Eurasian invasion, with a stupendous number of deaths and prisoners, an announcement was made that chocolate would be reduced to 20g from 30g starting the following week (Orwell 26, 26). This might sound absurd. It’s possible. People can easily fall into the trap if they don’t stop taking things for granted.
Not everyone is aware of the resources that they consume. Many people don’t think about the resources they use, such as food, water or electricity. Thomas Saaty & Luis Vargas: “A few short years ago, rationing was considered an academic exercise. They believed there would not be a major energy crisis since our energy planners and czars were supposedly taking our needs into consideration. The real problem is the rationing of resources. Maybe it’s not a problem for everyone. There are some places who monitor their usage. Thomas Saaty & Luis Vargas claim, “the companies are also willing to reduce industrial electric consumption to between 50% and “maintenance levels”, forcing the closure of many factories”.
Socialism is a political-economic theory of social organisation that promotes the idea that production, distribution and exchange are best managed by a community. The language of 1984 and the upcoming Big Brother show this kind of community. Winston says that “the sacred Ingsoc principles: Newspeak doublethink the mutability past” are the most important. He felt like he was lost in a monster world, wandering through the forest of the ocean bottom. The real-world manifestations of socialism are different. The differences are not as dramatic as a new country or language. Socialism is the case when all bakery employees are paid the same or if the workers decide on the decisions. Socialism can be more widespread, like in Cuba, where everything is run by the state.
Marx defined communism as a political ideology that advocates a class struggle and leads to an egalitarian society, where each person is paid and works according to her or his abilities. The jobs that people do in 1984 show a community of this sort. O’Brien tells us, “At each moment, victory will thrill you, as well as the sense of trampling a helpless enemy. Imagine a boot permanently stamping a human’s face. Communism is also present in the real-world. It’s not in America. Cambodia, Hungary, Ethiopia and other countries were communists at one time. Communism can be defined as a government system. There are no small-scale examples.
Even though there are similarities, the differences are numerous. The similarities, too, aren’t so extreme. We have changed history but not as much. Food and energy rationing is no longer necessary. Socialism and Communism are not as oppressive. We can love. We can enjoy ourselves. We are all free to do what we please.
These things are happening every day, even if it seems impossible. 1984 is the exaggerated version where history was erased with rationing and communism taking over.