I was thinking of a world like ours where everything, each separate sub-system works within a single-system management. I mean, a planet has one country, an empire, with one bank company, one building company, one agricultural company, one science company, one pension company, etc. Also, one language.

Would such a world live in peace and prosperity? What pros and cons does such a world have?

Edit: The government controls the integrity of the single-system management. There is only one planet. The single-system management is forced.


closed as primarily opinion-based by jdunlop, bendl, James Jul 13 '18 at 18:10

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    $\begingroup$ How would the singularity of each entity's monopoly be enforced? If the agricultural company fired an employee for not obeying orders, what would stop that employee from going into competition with his former employer? $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Jul 13 '18 at 14:52
  • $\begingroup$ To understand, are you talking about Business Monopolies? Or how do you mean that? Does an Empire have multiple Planets? Where is the line drawn between single things and multiple things? What might go wrong in your opinion? $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Jul 13 '18 at 14:53
  • $\begingroup$ Please be nice. $\endgroup$ – a CVn Jul 13 '18 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ Is this capitalism or planned economy? Because what you have described is a Soviet-style "Real socialism". $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jul 13 '18 at 16:26
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    $\begingroup$ Its a really interesting question/thought experiment, and I was tempted to answer it but you could write literal volumes covering miles of walls on this subject. $\endgroup$ – James Jul 13 '18 at 18:11

It will barely work at the top

As @AlexP put it quite well So you were thinking about the Soviet Union, an empire with one flag, one language, one bank (actually it had two, one for the Soviet slaves and one for reluctantly trading with the vile imperialists), one retail company, one Academy of Sciences, etc. etc., all lead by the One Secretary General of the One Politburo of the One and Only Party. As you know, it was a peaceful and prosperous empire, of which the subjects did not at all risk their lives to flee abroad, and which absolutely did not kill millions of its own people and certainly did not imprison many millions more at hard labor.

I don't normally quote long comments in an answer, but that one is well done and almost exactly what I was already thinking.

That being said, it did work, at least nominally, at the top of the stack. Hard to do "big science" under the table. The same goes for banking, mass transit and many other things. We even have this in many capitalist/democratic countries - e.g., there is often a single regional (or even national, depending on the size of the country and the particular industry):

  • Postal Service
  • Utilities - Water, Electricity, Natural Gas, Telephone
  • Central Bank (though capitalist countries, by their nature, will normally have other banks at a lower level that actually deal with individuals and businesses)
  • Mass Transit - many countries actually started with private railroads and eventually nationalized them to save them from bankruptcy (e.g., Amtrak).

Some things just naturally lend themselves to a monopoly or near-monopoly situation. Look at pictures of Manhattan at the beginning of electrification - lots of wires going all over the place because there was no central electric company, which was both inefficient and dangerous.

It will not work at all at the bottom

Look at any communist country. Whether sanctioned or not, capitalism happens. Typically the government eventually realizes it is a necessary evil and will sometimes even support it - look at China today. But even where it is not officially sanctioned by the government, at the small level there is almost ALWAYS capitalism.

  • Barter Economy

If the monetary supply is too tightly controlled then people will resort to barter. I'll fix up your house if you give me 1/2 the eggs from your chickens. The government is counting the eggs? No problem - give the officer extra milk from your cow.

  • Low-Level Corruption

In a government as described, typically only the very top level lives really well. The lower levels tend to be open to corruption - bribes to "look the other way" and making deals to get what they need.

This can even allow you to work with some friends to build a bigger house. As long as the building inspector gets his "fee", the one-and-only construction company (including the CEO who gets a cut from the building inspector to supplement his meager state-determined salary) will look the other way too.

  • Black Market

Even in a planet with just one nation, there will be a black market for forbidden (or very limited access) goods. Hard to suddenly come up with a luxury car when only the top government staff are supposed to have them. But a color TV in your house when you are only supposed to be able to afford black & white - no problem if you have friends in the one TV factory. The classic examples - cigarettes, alcohol, etc. are even easier as they are extremely portable.

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    $\begingroup$ Great answer! It's almost the most certain route possible to near-universal poverty and stagnation. I recommend William McNeil's The Pursuit of Power (amazon.com/Pursuit-Power-Technology-Society-D/dp/0226561585). To make a sophisticated analysis short, he concludes that unitary empires stagnate and division is what lets new things happen. In spite of China's head start, it was precisely because it was usually a unitary empire that the modern world happened in divided Europe. The Fall of Rome was O Fellix Culpa. $\endgroup$ – Mark Olson Jul 13 '18 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ Orwell thought his authoritarian, dystopian State would be a "a boot stamping on a human face - forever." It would have lasted two, maybe three generations and the State would have been utterly corrupt and either collapse into anarchy or turn into something else. $\endgroup$ – Mark Olson Jul 13 '18 at 15:37

Economics: The single system will be inefficient

The economic concept of Economies of Scale applies to relevant parts of the design.

the cost advantages that enterprises obtain due to their scale of operation

It's obvious most folks that organizations that are relatively too small may incur higher costs. However, organizations that are TOO BIG also incur higher costs.

enter image description here

This is one of the reasons why, for example, large corporations occasionally break up.

The best size of an organization economically might be different from what other inputs (politics, policy, social, etc) prefer. There's a balance that must be struck.

Also, the best size of an organization economically varies from industry to industry, and changes over time in directions that might not be easily predictable. There are several models for this: Changes due to technology, changes within an industry, changes in demand, changes due to different regulation, etc.

You can have single-large organizations that provide construction, or beer, or banking, or transport, etc. However, economies of scale predict that prices will be higher than necessary. This will have ripple effects like lower standards of living, social pressure to disrespect the system, and the accompanying political pressure for some kind of reform.


Your state is only possible through singularity. As in AI supremacy. Instead of enslaving and killing humans, AI decides to put an effective management strategy to govern humans. Super effective management allows total communism leading to one of everything. This requires all decision to be done by computer and all interactions are monitored through it. With unlimited resources at hand, AI overlord will ensure one companies will serve humanity at 100% efficiency. Now you choose how much sarcasm is in the text. You might have a perfectly benevolent AI overload, kudos its designer or one that will keep humans happy even if it means killing them.


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