World government in fiction

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In both science fiction and utopian/dystopian fiction, authors have made frequent use of the age-old idea of a global state and, accordingly, of world government.

Overview[edit]

In tune with Immanuel Kant's vision of a world state based on the voluntary political union of all countries of this planet in order to avoid colonialism and in particular any future war ("Idee zu einer allgemeinen Geschichte in weltbürgerlicher Absicht", 1784; "Zum ewigen Frieden", 1795), some of these scenarios depict an egalitarian and environmentally sustainable world supervised (rather than controlled) by a benevolent (and usually democratic) world government. Others, however, describe the effects of a totalitarian regime which, after having seized power in one country, annexes the rest of the world in order to dominate and oppress all mankind.

One major influence was Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward. The best-known advocate of world government was H. G. Wells. He describes such a system in The Shape of Things to Come, Men Like Gods and The World Set Free.

Some writers have also parodied the idea: E. M. Forster's The Machine Stops (1909) and Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World. Wells himself wrote The Sleeper Awakes, an early vision of a dystopian world.

World government themes in science fiction are particularly prominent in the years following World War II, coincident with the involvement of many scientists in the actual political movement for world government in response to the perceived dangers of nuclear holocaust. Prominent examples from the Cold War era include Childhood's End (1953), Starship Troopers (1959), Star Trek (from 1966) and the Doctor Who story The Enemy of the World (1968). Later references to a unified world government also appear however in post-Cold War science fiction television series such as Babylon 5.

The concept also appears frequently in science fiction anime, whether in the form of a strengthened United Nations or an entirely new organizations with world presidential election. Examples of anime with this premise are Macross (adapted in America as the first part of Robotech) and Gundam.

President of Earth[edit]

President of Earth (also known as President of the World) is a fictional concept or character who is the ruler of the planet Earth. Examples include the following:

  • In the 1968 film Barbarella, Barbarella is sent out by the President of Earth.
  • In Babylon 5: In the Beginning, the president of Earth orders all available ships to form a line around the planet in a vain attempt to stave off the final Minbari obliteration of the human race. This, the Battle of the Line, is the final battle of the war.
  • In Futurama (which is set in the 31st century) the position of President of Earth is held by Richard Nixon's Head,[5] preceded by "Earth President McNeal".
  • In Doctor Who, several future timelines - most notably the 26th century's Earth Empire - have a President of Earth; in the first such story, Frontier in Space, the President's world government is specifically based on the United States government.

World governmental organizations in fiction and popular culture[edit]

  • The novels and short stories of science fiction author Isaac Asimov frequently depict the existence of some variety of world government. The first such mention appears to be his short story 'Evidence', published in 1946; the story mentions that governments have formed four regions. In the next story, 'The Evitable Conflict', they have formed a Federation, created in 2044 CE, with an elected World Coordinator. His headquarters are in New York. Regional capitals also exist. Later stories show how this union leads to planetary unions and eventually to the Galactic Empire.
  • Indian science fiction show of the 90s Captain Vyom showed a world government with the capital at New Delhi.
  • Global Defense Initiative (a powerful military branch of the UN) in the Command & Conquer series of video games.
  • The Confederation in Peter F Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy (or more specifically GovCentral and most planetary governments, some even stretch across multiple systems).
  • The Imperium in Warhammer 40000 is a large sprawling empire spanning many planets.
  • The Buy n Large Corporation is a world government in the film WALL-E. CEO Shelby Forthright (portrayed in live-action by Fred Willard) as leader of the world government proposed the plans to evacuate, clean up and recolonize the planet. However, he gave up hope after realizing he underestimated just how toxic the planet had become.
  • The United Earth Federation in the video game Supreme Commander is a Martial Government that rules all of Earth and several other planets in the galaxy.
  • The United States of Earth is the fictional world government in the animated science-fiction comedy series Futurama. It is also supported by D.O.O.P. (an interplanetary equivalent to the United Nations).
  • The Earth Alliance in Babylon 5 was founded in 2085 as a democracy, and conquered most nations who refused to join by 2150.
  • The Earth Federation in the Gundam anime series, formed as a response to widespread famine, disease and war. It forced most of the earth population into space colonies.
  • The Terran Confederation in the Wing Commander universe, is a federal republic formed in 2416.
  • The Alliance in the Firefly universe is a result of a Chinese and American alliance.
  • In Gerry Anderson's TV series Fireball XL5, Stingray, Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons and Joe 90, Feature the World Army, the World Navy and the World Air Force, also the World Aquanaut Security Patrol (The W.A.S.P'S), the World Space Patrol (W.S.P), World Intelligence Network (W.I.N) and Universal Secret Service (U.S.S). All run by a World Government (overseen by a world President) located in the world capital Futura City.
  • In his scurrilous novel New Shoes, RD Le Coeur has the president of earth as Bernado Bohemoth Beelzebub who the alien visitors come seeking on Earth. ISBN 978-1-84923-882-3.
  • Future timelines of Doctor Who repeatedly show a world government with space colonisation, usually under the name Earth Empire/Human Empire.
  • In Martian Successor Nadesico, Earth and several lunar and Martian colonies are governed by United Earth, with a united military force called the "United Earth Allied Forces".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Vibber, Kelson (2004-11-15). "President Thawne". Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  2. ^ "David Kennedy; The President of Earth". Book Review. 2007-11-03. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  3. ^ Kennedy, David (2002). The President of Earth: New and Selected Poems. Salt Publishing. ISBN 1-876857-10-2. 
  4. ^ "Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country". (Two-Disc Special Collector's Edition) (1991). 1991. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  5. ^ Booker, M. Keith. Drawn to Television: Prime-Time Animation from The Flintstones to Family Guy.