Created By: MorningStar1337 on October 20, 2013 Last Edited By: MorningStar1337 on December 5, 2013
Troped

Planetary Nation

Extraterestrial worlds always seem to have a One World Order

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Main
Page Type:
Trope
formerly known as Planet Of One Goverment


Ah Earth. Full of many Nations, Territories, Countries and Governments. And yet when Alien homeworlds are visited. We only get to see one government.

This is an Omnipresent Trope in Science Fiction where inhabited planets not named Earth are shown to have only one government. The reasons range from someone succeeding in taking over the world to being a mere Planet of Hats to the fact that politics limited to one world are unimportant to stories with interplanetary settings, or because Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale and think that the planet would be akin to a town or city instead of a large sphere that can hold hundreds of countries and billions of cities and towns.

Often this trope is justified by the fact that deep space travel requires more resources than any one country has. For such a thing to work would require the resources of the whole planet. And by the fact that interstellar colonies would form a government of their own some time after colonization.

If Earth is this. see One World Order.

Examples

     Anime and Manga 
  • In Transformers Cybertron Gigantion and Velocitron are like this. The politics of Gigantion are not really looked at, but there is only a single city on the entire planet, presumably under one form of government. Velocitron is governed solely by who is the fastest racer. The politics of this position is not essential to the plot, so it was not looked at.

     Film 
  • Averted in Predators (and by extension, the rest of the series) when it's revealed the Predators have different tribes who have been at war with one another. We see at least two.
  • In Man of Steel, the whole planet of Krypton is governed by a high council. This isn't explained in depth, though.

     Literature 
  • Chris Moriarty's Spin Control series draws a specific contrast here. Earth's offworld colonies all have unified world governments under United Nations jurisdiction, but Earth's nation-states still exist and provide an unexpected wrinkle to any negotiations with the homeworld.
  • This is nearly always true in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One of the few exceptions is the planet Adumar in X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar, which contains several competing alliances of nation-states. The New Republic and Empire start out negotiating with the most powerful one without fully understanding this, leading to problems.
  • Completely averted in the soft sci-fi book Through Space To The Planets as it is shown that the planet has at least three separate governments in three different places.
  • Averted in the Chanur Novels by C. J. Cherryh. The hani homeworld is noted to have multiple countries and languages.
  • Most of the nations, planets and Space Stations in the Vorkosigan Saga are this. The few exceptions are the Cetagandan Empire and Barrayaran Empires, which are nations made up of multiple planets, and Earth, which is still split up into a gillion countries like today.

     Live Action TV 
  • Most Planets on Star Trek are examples of this trope.
    • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Patterns of Force" a Federation sceintist decides to unite the planet he's observing under one government - unfortunately, he decides that Nazism is the best way to unite the planet.
    • One episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation had an aversion. The planet was ruled by two separate governments, the Kes(not to be confused with the character on Voyager) and the Prytt, who were engaged in a cold war with each other. The Kes were applying for Federation membership and Picard lampshaded this trope when he mentioned planets that join the Federation are usually unified. It's never said whether or not the Kes would be admitted but it's implied they won't be.
  • Usually played straight in Stargate SG-1, although in most cases this is because there's really only one or two settlements of note (blame the Goa'uld). Two exceptions are Langara, which has at least three major powers, and Tegalus, which has two, and in both cases each are in a Space Cold War with their neighbors.
  • Pretty much every planet in Doctor Who. Galiffrey being a prominent example. Its only shown form of government if a counsel that tried to get the Doctor on trial and much later try to destroy the entire universe.

     Tabletop Games 
  • While single planetary governments are the norm in Traveller, balkanization is common enough that the Third Imperium has rules for intraplanetary warfare.
  • Usually the case for human inhabited planets in Warhammer 40K. The Imperium is so large that any given planet is usually ruled by a single governor (how he's chosen varies from planet to planet). They're usually given full control of their planet and left alone, as long as they pay their tithes and don't show signs of sedition (and they don't call for help, although that's usually less effective at getting someone's attention).

     Video Games 
  • Taris from Knights of the Old Republic seems not only be a planet with one Government, it seems to be a planet of one city!
  • This is a requirement to exit the Civilization stage in Spore to move onto the Space stage. Same goes for every other galactic empire out there, though they often have more than 1 planet; also Uprisings only happen for entire planets.

     Western Animation 
Community Feedback Replies: 49
  • October 20, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • Chris Moriarty's Spin Control series draws a specific contrast here. Earth's offworld colonies all have unified world governments under United Nations jurisdiction, but Earth's nation-states still exist and provide an unexpected wrinkle to any negotiations with the homeworld.
  • October 20, 2013
    Skybunny
    Is this trope, in fact, Planet Of Hats?

    Reading that one, whether the reason is 'Because there IS only one government' or 'Because we see one-or-maybe-two-cultures (of 77) on the planet' this falls under that. Is there a distinction?
  • October 20, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ This trope is for where there is expliciy on Goverment shown in a planet. Planet Of Hats is where there is explicitly one culture, one type of person of the entire population shares a common quirk.

    I'm am considering listing only subversions, parodies and aversions. But for now I'm listing the straight examples as well.

    Speaking of which I'm sure that Star Trek and Star Wars has some examples.
  • October 20, 2013
    eowynjedi
    Most Planets Of The Week on Star Trek are examples. I'm having a hard time thinking of ones which aren't.
  • October 20, 2013
    Arivne
    Tabletop Games
    • Classic Traveller. Almost all planets in the Third Imperium which had any form of government at all had a single world government. The only exception were balkanized worlds with multiple national governments, which were quite rare.
  • October 21, 2013
    aurora369
    Most Star Wars planets are ones; one of the exceptions is Adumar, which has several states. The Rogue Squadron pilots, used to this trope, confused the head of one Adumari state for the leader of the entire planet.
  • October 21, 2013
    Melkior
    • Completely averted in the soft sci-fi book Through Space To The Planets as it is shown that the planet has at least three separate governments in three different places.
  • October 21, 2013
    paycheckgurl
    Played with in ''Futurama in regards to Earth itself. Earth has its own overarching government (that is somehow also the American government and based on American governmental traditions), but other nations are shown to still exist with their own set of laws. And then its usually played straight when any other planets show up (which is normally Once An Episode).
  • October 21, 2013
    DAN004
    What I can understand is that Planet Of One Government can have lots of differing cultures, making it different from a Planet Of Hats. As a corollary, Planet Of Hats may still have multiple governments and countries.
  • October 21, 2013
    StarSword
    Literature:
    • This is nearly always true in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. One of the few exceptions is the planet Adumar in X-Wing: Starfighters of Adumar, which contains several competing alliances of nation-states. The New Republic and Empire start out negotiating with the most powerful one without fully understanding this, leading to problems. EDIT: Ninja'd.

    Live-Action TV:
    • Usually played straight in Stargate SG 1, although in most cases this is because there's really only one or two settlements of note (blame the Goa'uld). Two exceptions are Langara, which has at least three major powers, and Tegalus, which has two, and in both cases each are in a Space Cold War with their neighbors.
  • October 21, 2013
    zarpaulus
    Note that while single planetary governments are the norm in Traveller, balkanization is common enough that the Third Imperium has rules for intraplanetary warfare.

    Also the word "government" in the title is missing an "n".
  • October 21, 2013
    AP
    • Averted in Predators (and by extension, the rest of the series) when it's revealed the Predators have different tribes who have been at war with one another. We see at least two.
  • October 21, 2013
    dyson88
    One of episode of Star Trek The Next Generation had an aversion. The planet was ruled by two seperate governments, the Kes(not to be confused with the character on Voyager) and the Prytt, who were engaged in a cold war with each other. The Kes were applying for Federation memembership and Picard lampshaded this trope when he mentioned planets that join the Federation are usually unified. It's never said whether or not the Kes would be admitted but it's implied they won't be.
  • October 22, 2013
    IronAnimation
    True in Ben 10 for basically every single world that isn't earth. Some have one government that covers multiple planets.
  • October 22, 2013
    MiinU
    nevermind, it's already taken.
  • October 23, 2013
    Bisected8
    • Usually the case for human inhabited planets in Warhammer 40 K. The Imperium is so large that any given planet is usually ruled by a single governor (how he's chosen varies from planet to planet). They're usually given full control of their planet and left alone, as long as they pay their tithes and don't show signs of sedition (and they don't call for help, although that's usually less effective at getting someone's attention).
  • October 23, 2013
    eowynjedi
    • Averted in the Chanur Novels by CJ Cherryh. The hani homeworld is noted to have multiple countries and languages.
  • October 23, 2013
    Arivne
  • October 24, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Shorter. :D
  • October 24, 2013
    Niria
    Good idea for a trope. At the time I'm writing this, I don't think it's ready to launch yet, but I think it should eventually make the cut.
  • October 24, 2013
    Dirroh
    About time this showed up. This is one of those things that make you go, "Finally, I was beginning to think that I'm the only one it bugs."

    Taris from SW: KOTOR strikes me as an excellent example. The entire governmental structure appears to consist of a...single city. Yet it has absolutely nothing to do with Planet of Hats. The limited area you cover during your brief stay on the planet is enough to prove that the devs did everything they could to scream "COSMOPOLITAN!" at your face.

    Sadly, nary a work of fiction ever bothers with exploring such concepts as diversity among extraterrestrial habitats in depth. It's like, it doesn't matter if they're alike or not in between themselves; that they're different than us is more than enough. Most writers act like those louts who stare at a random, say, Indonesian in the face and say, "You Chinese fellows look all the same." Hard not to take offense.
  • October 24, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ can you put it in example form? I can't work with the only context being that there's only one city.
  • October 24, 2013
    Dirroh
    ^ I'd love to, except I have zero experience with the particular markup conventions of the site. The reason I wrote the whole thing was that I too believe there should indeed be a separate trope for this particular case of fictional shallowness. It's miles different than Planet of Hats for sure.
  • October 25, 2013
    DaibhidC
    I think Earth being this is One World Order rather than Take Over The World
  • October 25, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Oh. I'll go fix that.
  • November 6, 2013
    justanid
    • This is a requirement to exit the Civilization stage in Spore to move onto the Space stage. Same goes for every other galactic empire out there, though they often have more than 1 planet; also Uprisings only happen for entire planets.
  • November 7, 2013
    noirgrimoir
    I think Single Government Planet, Nation Planet or Planetary Nation are better names. Also

    • Most of the nations, planets and Space Stations in the Vorkosigan Saga are this. The few exceptions are the Cetagandan Empire and Barrayaran Empires, which are nations made up of multiple planets, and Earth, which is still split up into a gillion countries like today.
  • November 7, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    I like Planetary Nation. I'm going with that.
  • November 8, 2013
    DAN004
    • In Man Of Steel, the whole planet is governed by a high council. This isn't explained in depth, though.
  • November 13, 2013
    jatay3
    If I remember the nations are traditional cultures on Earth not sovereignities in Vorkosigan Saga and are more or less analogical to the districts on Barrayar. I can't say for sure though.

    The planet Miles visited in Warriors Apprentice had more then one nation I believe as that was what they were fighting over.

    Jackson's Whole has multiple crime families.

    The Hegan Hub is a cluster of space stations, not a planet but it is held by differing worlds.
  • November 13, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ can you put in in example format?

    Also, what indexes so you think this trope should be in?
  • November 16, 2013
    AgProv
    Often justified by the logic that going into deep intergalactic and interplanetary space is such a mind-bogglingly expensive thing to do and ties up so many productive resources that no one individual state, not even one like the USA or China, could afford to do it solo: it has to involve the unified resources of the whole planet, and for that to work efficiently you really do need a one-world government.
  • November 19, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    In the Star Trek TOS episode "Patterns of Force" a Federation sceintist decides to unite the planet he's observing under one government - unfortunately, he decides that Nazism is the best way to unite the planet.
  • November 20, 2013
    DAN004
    You sure it is omnipresent? What I'm thinking is, at least, every planet has their own United Nations. Would that count here?
  • November 20, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    probably, but I'm sure that there are few exceptions that have more than one government being shown on extrasolar planets (and Mars). hence why I though it is an Omnipresent Trope almost all the planets seem to have one government.
  • November 21, 2013
    zarpaulus
    @Ag Prov: Also interstellar colonies settled by a single nation could be expected to have a singular world government for some time after colonization.
  • November 21, 2013
    Owen547
    • In Transformers Cybertron Gigantion and Velocitron are like this. The politics of Gigantion are not really looked at, but there is only a single city on the entire planet, presumably under one form of government. Velocitron is governed solely by who is the fastest racer. The politics of this position is not essential to the plot, so it was not looked at.
  • November 21, 2013
    SafariMonkey
    Reading up on other entries made me realise we don't have any Alien Government or Alien Bureaucracy related tropes at all that I can see. I'm not quite sure what is needed, but I'm pretty sure that's a trope. Maybe this page can fill that purpose?
  • November 21, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Maybe, but I'm gonna need details to add for that purpose.
  • November 22, 2013
    SafariMonkey
    I think probably this page could be expanded to alien government as a whole, and could have Type A: one government for the whole planet and Type B: multiple governments or nations. Just emphasize that type A is most prominent by far, or something.

    Honestly, I don't know. Maybe it should be two pages. I just think it's a hole that needs filling.
  • November 22, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ yeah Its seems like alien governments need their own tropes.
  • November 22, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ What kind of tropes about alien governments? One for entirely original forms of government created for an alien race? Or maybe somehow about how I've noticed that monarchy seems to be the most common form of governance for non-humans.
  • November 22, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Alien Monarchy seems like a good start.
  • November 22, 2013
    zarpaulus
    ^ Should I get started on that one?

    YKTTW: Alien Monarchy.
  • November 22, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ Thanks.
  • November 24, 2013
    Tzintzuntzan
    Chiming in late, how much of this is covered by Planetville?
  • November 24, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ I see some overlap with that trope. But this is about the goverment of Planetville
  • December 3, 2013
    abateman
    Maybe mention something in the Star Trek category about the changing planet in DS 9 that was not just one nation, but one consciousness.
  • December 3, 2013
    MorningStar1337
    ^ I would, but I'm gonna need more context.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=a1ue6s3dz2tiei1asi4jatth&trope=PlanetaryNation