That policy works for centuries, cheap entertainment, and enough food for folks not to be hungry, nothing more.
Point is to keep folks always scared enough to be obedient.
Too much food means time for thinking about situation around them, and asking questions, no food means chaos.
In my region there are enough reasons to go and torch the government this minute, but folks are simply occupied too much with fight for existence, for food and basic needs. Nobody thinking about reasons.
Funny and smart in the same time.