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Government is the method by which a subplanetary (...smaller than a world), planetary (world), or interstellar (multi-system) state or community, leads (governs) itself.

  • Standard UWP codes exist to explain most of the most common government types.
  • The study of governments, governance, and other related subjects is known as political science, a type of social science.

Library Data Referral Tree

Please refer to the following AAB Library Data for more information:

Description (Specifications)

The Imperium uses a system to distinguish governments from each other. This system is called the UWP System. Government types in the UWP indicates the general type of authority. The Planetary Government tables describe characteristics of each government type by power structure or source.

State vs. Stateless Systems

While all of the states (polities) in Charted Space are interstellar (...or smaller) in nature, larger-sized states, such as pangalactic or polygalactic arrangements, have been hypothesized, but do not exist within Charted Space.

State vs. Stateless Systems
Topic Remarks
State Polities A State is an organized community living under a common leadership (government), organized on the basis of a subplanetary (...smaller than a world), planetary (world), or interstellar (multi-system) government. States are also referred to as polities. Most States have an organized government, which possesses executive, legislative, and judiciary power structures.
  • Sometimes called nations or nation-states.
Stateless Polities A Stateless Society is a society that is not governed by a state. Stateless Societies have little to no centralization of authority. What positions of authority exist are generally extremely-limited in power and scope. Stateless Societies use widely-disparate economic and cultural organizational practices. Many Stateless Societies posses little in the way of executive, legislative, or judiciary power structures.

Government Powers

Governments exist with vastly different levels of power and influecne over nearby governments or states.

Government Powers
Topic Remarks
Minor Powers Minor Power: A Minor Power, or Micro Power, is a state may or may not have achieved independence from other states in most aspects of governance. Some Minor States have little freedom of governance and, if strongly dominated by another state, they may be classifed as client states or vassal states.
Powers Power: A (Standard) Power is a state that has achieved independence and experiences freedom from other states in most but not necessarily all aspects of governance.
Major Powers Superpower: A Superpower or Hyperpower, also known as a Great Power or Macro Power, is one of a handful of states (polities) that dominate all other lesser states in their interstellar sphere.
  • Hyperpower: A Hyperpower is often used to indicate a state (polity) that dominates all other states in its interstellar sphere. It is a runaway power, dominating the system.

Sovereign vs. Non-sovereign States

States may additionally be Sovereign or Non-sovereign.

Sovereign vs. Non-sovereign States
Topic Remarks
Sovereign Polities A Sovereign State is a state run by a Centralized Government that has sovereignty, or the ability to exert power over an astrographic area, sometimes as small as a single solar system and, at other times, as large as a multi-system or even multi-sector polity.
Sovereign Polity Qualities Sovereign States most often share the following qualities:
  • Autonomous
  • Independent
  • Self-governing.
Sovereign Polity Terms Sovereign States are often referred to as:
  • Great Powers
  • Hyperpowers
  • (Standard) Powers
  • Superpowers
Non-sovereign Polities A Non-sovereign State is a state that has little to no sovereignty over an astrographic area.
Non-sovereign Polity Qualities Non-sovereign States most often share the following qualities:
  • Non-autonomous (Subjugated)
  • Not independent (Subordinate or Subsidiary)
  • Not self-governing (Subservient)
Non-sovereign Polity Terms Non-sovereign States are often referred to as:
  • Banana Republics
  • A client state
  • A colony
  • A dependent state
  • Minor Powers
  • An occupied state (Under military administration)
  • A puppet state
  • A subpolity
  • A vassal state

Government Power Structures

There are six primary power structure types, most commonly found amongst the governments of Charted Space:

  • Anarchy: Probably the earliest government power structure is the far less common or lasting Anarchy.
  • Confederation: A Confederation is an interstellar political entity with a very loose relationship amongst a number of smaller political units. In some cases, a confederacy is little more than an alliance between independent states.
  • Empire: Empires differ from other states in that they have supreme control over other states. In the case of the Imperium, the Emperor retains the power to exert supreme control over his vassals, or the Imperial Nobility, in a system reminiscent of feudalism with some aspects of federalism.
  • Federation: A Federation, or Federal State, is an interstellar political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states under a central (federal) interstellar government.
  • Hegemony: A Hegemony is an interstellar political entity that has established political, cultural, economic, or military predominance or control over other states.
  • Unitary State: A Unitary State is an interstellar political entity characterized by a higher degree of centralization than a Federation, but much less than a Hegemony or Empire. Most Unitary States have a high degree of separation of powers and guiding legal and governmental documents.

Comparative Government Power Structures Table

Comparative Government Power Structures
# System (Politeia) Centralization (Structure) Bureaucracy (Law) Strengths Weaknesses Remarks
1. Anarchy Very low or None No Significant Bureaucracy Gives no one significant control Sets insignificant or no policy Apolitical

(Unrecognized power)

2. Confederation Low Very Weak Bureaucracy (Adhocracy) Gives local/regional/planetary governments almost complete control Sets almost no significant uniform policies Strongly popular government

(Widely distributed power)

3. Federation Medium Weak Bureaucracy Gives local/regional/planetary governments more power Sacrifices uniformity on some issues Popular government

(Distributed power)

4. Unitary State High Strong Bureaucracy Sets uniform policies that direct the entire sector/state Disregards local/planetary differences Meso-government

(Balanced power)

5. Hegemony Very High Very Strong Bureaucracy Directs strong policies that direct the entire sector/state Strongly disregards local/planetary differences Republican government

(Concentrated power)

6. Empire Supreme Supreme Bureaucracy Dictates supreme policies that direct the entire sector/state Supremely disregards or outright ignores local/planetary differences Strongly republican government

(Strongly concentrated power)

Please note that the Power Structures Table refers to bureacracy only in the sense of the effectiveness of control the bureaucracy has over the governed on a whole government level.

  • The bureaucracies of less-centralized states can be just as onerous as the bureaucracies or more centralized and effective states. Less-centralized bureaucracies tend to be less effective and easier to influence (...including graft and bribes).
  • The bureaucracies of more-centralized states tend to wield punishment and violence more often, incurring higher costs for those who break the rules. This doesn't necessarily make bribes or graft less common, but the higher opportunity costs of such actions does make the bureaucracies of more-centralized states more difficult to influence. No sophont administrator wants to take chance of losing their head (...or other vital appendage) over a petty bribe.
  • Please see Law level for more information.

Government Power Sources

There are at least six major power source types ( well as some other lesser-encountered or minor possibilities), found amongst the governments of Charted Space:

  • 1. Chaos (Barbarism: Government by no one: No State): No one in control without other social mechanisms to encourage order.
    • Barbarism (Chaos)
  • 2. Autocratic States (Autocracy: Government by very few Sophonts):
    • Autocracy (Supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person)
    • Constitutional Tyranny (An absolute ruler enabled by law or constitution)
    • Despotism (A single entity rules with absolute power)
    • Dictatorship (Political authority is monopolized by a single person or political entity)
    • Fascism (A form of radical authoritarian nationalism)
    • Totalitarianism (The state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible)
    • And other forms
  • 3. Oligarchical States (Oligarchy: Government by small groups of Sophonts):
    • Aristocracy
    • Bureaucracy
    • Diarohy
    • Feudalism
    • Military Junta
    • Monarchy
    • Plutocracy
    • Stratocracy
    • Technocracy
    • T.E.D. (Technologically Elevated Dictator)
    • Theocracy
    • Timocracy
    • Triarchy
    • And other forms
  • 4. Republican States (Republic: Government by Representatives of Sophonts):
    • Democratic Republic
    • Limited Monarchy (Parliamentary Democracy)
    • And other forms
  • 5. Democratic States (Democracy: Government by large groups of Sophonts: Populist):
    • Collegial Democracy
    • Direct Democracy or Pure Democracy (A form of democracy in which people decide policy directly)
    • Electronic Democracy or Internet Democracy or E-Democracy (A form of democracy that uses advanced communications technology to encourage direct policy decisions from a populace)
    • Ochlocracy
    • Polyarchy
    • Representative Democracy or Indirect Democracy (A variety of democracy founded on the principle of elected officials representing a group of people)
    • Stochocracy
    • And other forms
  • 6. Pantocratic States (Pantocracy: Government by Everyone: Anarchy):
    • Adhocracy
    • Organized Anarchy
    • Sociocracy
    • And other forms
  • 7. Other Types of States (Government by specialized groups of Sophonts) Many classify these other kinds of states as just another type of oligarchy:
    • Anocracy
    • Kritarchy
    • Particracy
    • And other forms

Comparative Government Power Sources Table

Comparative Government Power Sources
Power Source / Govt. Type Leaders (Quantity) Power Distribution Power Characteristic
1. Chaos None None Chaos (Barbarism)
2. Autocracy Very few Very Low Authoritarian (Supremacist)
3. Oligarchy Few Low Authoritarian (Elitist)
4. Republicanism Some Moderate Representative (Elective Representation)
5. Democracy Many High Representative (Elective Populism)
6. Pantocracy Most (Very Many) Very High Populist (Anarchy)
7. Other Power Sources Various Various Populist (Chosen Groups)

History & Background (Dossier)

Standard Codes & Descriptions: The Imperium uses a standardized system of government codes referred to as the UWP (Universal World Profile) System. These codes are most useful when used to describe worlds presided over by members of Humaniti or sophonts with similar psychologies.

Law Levels & Police States

No information yet available.

General Government Codes & Descriptions

Worlds inhabited by Humaniti or non-Human Sophonts similar to Humaniti are generally classified with the following codes:

General Government Codes & Descriptions
Code Name Description Power Source Power Structure
0 No Government Structure In many cases, tribal, clan or family bonds predominate (Pantocracy or Chaos) Confederation (Anarchy)
1 Company/Corporation Government by a company managerial elite, citizens are company employees. (Oligarchy) Hegemony
2 Participating Democracy Government by advice and consent of the citizen. (Democracy) Unitary State
3 Self-Perpetuating Oligarchy Government by a restricted minority, with little or no input from the masses. (Oligarchy) Hegemony
4 Representative Democracy Government by elected representatives. (Republicanism) Unitary State
5 Feudal Technocracy Government by specific individuals for those who agree to be ruled. Relationships are based on the performance of technical activities which are mutually-beneficial. (Oligarchy) Hegemony
6 Captive Government/Colony Government by a leadership answerable to an outside group, a colony or conquered area. (Vassal State) Federation
7 Balkanization No central ruling authority exists. Rival governments compete for control. (Balkanization) Confederation (Anarchy)
8 Civil Service Bureaucracy Government by agencies employing individuals selected for their expertise. (Oligarchy) Unitary State
9 Impersonal Bureaucracy Government by agencies which are insulated from the governed. (Oligarchy) Hegemony
A (10) Charismatic Dictator Government by a single leader enjoying the confidence of the citizens. (Popular Autocracy) Empire
B (11) Non-Charismatic Leader A previous charismatic dictator has been replaced by a leader through normal channels. (Un-popular Autocracy) Empire
C (12) Charismatic Oligarchy Government by a select group, organization, or class enjoying overwhelming confidence of the citizenry. (Popular Oligarchy) Hegemony
D (13) Religious Dictatorship Government by a religious minority which has little regard for the needs of the citizenry. (Un-popular Autocracy) Empire
E (14) Religious Autocracy Government by a single religious leader having absolute power over the citizenry. (Supreme Autocracy) Empire
F (15) Totalitarian Oligarchy Government by an all-powerful minority which maintains absolute control through widespread coercion and oppression (Supreme Oligarchy) Empire

Code 7 Balkanization: Balkanization is a special result which indicates that there is no world government; instead several rival territorial governments exist. In such cases, the specific qualities of each territory on the planet should be separately listed.

Code 6 Captive Government / Colony (Subordinate Government) & Codes (0, 1, 2 & 3): Subordinate Government are non-sovereign (...or semi-sovereign) governments on other planets within a system. These governments are usually code 0,1,2,3 or 6.

Other Standards

In source information from other places and other eras of history, other government codes and types have been used.

Alien Governments

Certain non-human sophonts use governments that do not cleanly map to human standards. They can be likened to human governments, but differ in fine details important to them. These details are also often important to human travellers to these worlds, at least as much as the differences between human governments matter. The clearest difference is between the Hiver Supervised Anarchy (where the Hiver Federation observers are often effectively the people in charge, even if they act indirectly) and Unsupervised Anarchy (where this is not the case, instead being truly ruled by individual nests, with the result somewhere between codes 0 and 7 - between what a human world would term an anarchy or a balkanized government).

Vargr worlds do not use these government codes, as they have the same range of governments that humans have. It is also worth pointing out, to certain less educated Imperial travellers, that the Solomani Confederation and Zhodani Consulate do not have alien government codes because they are not alien: they are human, for all their cultural differences.

Alien Government Codes & Descriptions
Code Name Race
G Small Station or Facility Aslan
H Split Clan Control Aslan
J Single On-world Clan Control Aslan
K Single Multi-world Clan Control Aslan
L Major Clan Control Aslan
M Vassal Clan Control Aslan
N Major Vassal Clan Control Aslan
P Small Station or Facility K'kree
Q Krurruna or Krumanak Rule for Off-world Steppelord K'kree
R Steppelord On-world Rule K'kree
S Sept Hiver
T Unsupervised Anarchy Hiver
U Supervised Anarchy Hiver
W Committee Hiver
X Droyne Hierarchy Droyne

Era: The New Era UWP Extensions

Standard Government 0 thru F were kept, but the following were introduced in The New Era to reflect the changed nature of Charted Space. UWP catalogs contain the following additional codes:

New Era Government Codes & Descriptions
Code Name Power Structure Size Description
M Military Dictatorship (Autocratic Junta) Subplanetary (Very Small) to Planetary (Small) Government by the military (armed forces) as an interim survival measure or result of a "Coup".
Q Interim Government (Temporary Chaos) Planetary (Small) The world is ruled by a temporary government (...which may have been in power for some time).
S Slave World (Vassal State) Planetary (Small) The world’s government is ineffectual or non-existent (i.e. not sovereign). The populace survives by offering tribute or slaves to an outside power (often Vampire ships) which does not care to rule the world directly.
T T.E.D. (Technological Autocracy) Planetary (Small) T.E.D.: (Technologically Elevated Dictator). A leader or small group holds power through the use of relic technology. T.E.D.s are sometimes refered to as "(Autocratic) Technocracies".
V Viral Hell Polity (Virus Vassal State) Planetary (Small) to Multi-system (Very Large) The world is run by malevolent "Viral Entities", ether openly or through a Quisling (manipulated) government.

Era: The New Era UWP Additions

Additional Codes were introduced for specific regions. The same code (N) is used in two different regions to represent two different government types. In at least one case (M), the regional code conflicts with the general government code:

Spinward States can be found in the Spinward Marches, Trojan Reach, Deneb, or Reft Sectors.

New Era Government Codes & Descriptions
Code Region Name Power Structure Size Description
G Spinward State Small Station Holding (Non-sovereign Entity) Subplanetary (Tiny) Non-sovereign Aslan goverment type.
H Spinward State Split Clan (Balkanized) (Balkanized World) Subplanetary (Very Small) Semi-sovereign Aslan goverment type.
J Spinward State Single World Clan (Federalized Unitary State) Planetary (Small) Sovereign Aslan goverment type.
K Spinward State Multi-world Clan (Confederation) Multi-system (Large) Sovereign Aslan goverment type.
L Spinward State Major Multi-world Clan (Confederation) Multi-system (Very Large) Sovereign Aslan goverment type.
M Spinward State Vassal Clan (Vassal State) Multi-system (Large) Semi-sovereign Aslan goverment type.
N Spinward State Major (Multi-world) Vassal Clan (Vassal State) Multi-system (Very Large) Semi-sovereign Aslan goverment type.
N Fourth Imperium Noble House (Feudal Confederation) to (Empire: Absolute Monarchy) Planetary (Small) to Multi-system (Large) Sovereign government type dominated by Humans. Noble Houses rule Imperial worlds directly. The 'ruling' noble may be an absolute leader or the head of state for a civil government.

Note: Fourth Imperium Nobility may consist of sophonts other than the races of Humaniti. Aslan, Vargr, Bwaps, and many other species of sophonts have served under the Fourth Imperium as Nobles.

References & Contributors (Sources)

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.