The government of Panem is a totalitarian one, which means that it has absolute power over its people. (Nazi Germany is a good example of a totalitarian government.) Yup, that's right. The government has total and complete control over every part of its citizens' lives, and the citizens get absolutely no say about any of it. No voting, no elections, no nothing. Any kind of rebellion is a HUGE no-no, and we learn that the Capitol set up the Hunger Games to remind people of that. Lots of the book, then, is about what it is like to live in a society where you've got to struggle to have any kind of voice at all, and speaking your mind could get you killed.