So I've got a setting in a late-medieval-ish period, where one family of bankers have actually united the world. Take their existence as a given (the short of it is that there's some very basic magic for instant communication that only they possess, and they have financial partners across the globe who can project their force).

Now, why would the people at large want to get rid of it?

Let me make this a bit more clear before it's getting deleted as a plot-related question. This government is not led by a big fat tyrant on an evil throne; there's a council that views the rest of the world as their protectorate, and every now and then they intervene to stop wars or put a sympathetic fellow on a foreign throne, while exerting a ton of cultural influence. The books that exist have all been written by this government, and they effectively decide the Overton window for the entire world.

The protagonist's mission is to dismantle this government. Most evil governments in stories are doing obviously evil things, like blowing up peaceful planets, starting wars, or making deals with Satan or equivalent. Let's have none of that for a change. The most "evil" thing this government does is a child-killing ritual, of which they've convinced the majority of the population that it is be a good thing. Big deal, the Aztecs did human sacrifices all the time.

So I am looking for rational reasons to get rid of a government; even more concretely: I am looking for (mostly) objective, (mostly) inevitable, bad side-effects of having most the world be under one banner.

Technological stagnation is one example. War brings industry, industry begins prosperity. This world is being kept perpetually at peace. Small skirmishes still happen, but no all-out wars. Now, this is not a worthy trade-off for many, so I'm looking for something better.

Philosophical ideas, like "the ideal of liberty" are discouraged. I am not going to be writing a philosophy treatment, so let's stick to the tangible things.

And strictly personal reasons are unlikely to be accepted by the population at large, and don't exactly make the protagonist seem like a nice guy. I'm not trying to aim at an individual's motivation here (that would be a plot-based question): this is about unfortunate implications of an organisation with global power.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ A world government with medieval tech is a challenge. When it takes many months to get soldiers to a rebellious region, most potential rebels are not particularly concerned with what the "central" government thinks. Picture 1000 AD England trying to control what is now the USA. Or what is now China. It's a challenge. $\endgroup$
    – puppetsock
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @puppetsock I agree. Low magic is involved, but take their existence as a given. See the linked question for discussion about the feasibility. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 14:20

7 Answers 7


Corruption, mismanagement and disloyalty

I mean the Roman empire was eventually overrun by barbarian hordes, but let's not forget that the Western Roman Empire of the 4th century AC was a mere shadow of itself. It never recovered from the crisis of the third century. The barbarians were the final nail in the coffin, but it was corruption, mismanagement, disloyalty and such that weakened it enough for the barbarians to overwhelm it.

The Romans tended to be their own worst enemies. How many defeats and catastrophies were the results of one Roman betraying another Roman? How many times did that self-enrichment weaken the state as a whole? I mean by the end of the Western Roman Empire they had a new emperor almost every year.

Not to mention do you know how hard it is to succesfully administer a large territory with medieval level technology? Just ask the Spanish or the Mongols. They had one of the biggest empires the world had ever seen. The mongol one collapsed almost immediately and the Spanish colonial empire bankrupted Spain quite often.

You can have very competent rulers, but can they keep local administrators from being corrupt or incompetent or disloyal? Not to mention some things may be good for the majority, but bad for the minority, but how big is said minority in a global empire?

  • $\begingroup$ Does having the local administrations turn into independent countries (the result of dismantling the world government) assure that the local rulers will not be corrupt or incompetent? $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:49
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ @KeizerHarm Just ask any people that ever started a revolution. This is never a hindrance for overthrowing the current rules. This only becomes aparent when the new rulers are in place. And it is a surprise every time :-) $\endgroup$
    – quarague
    Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 16:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @KeizerHarm No, it does not. A revolution or a rebellion (there's a difference) only means people try to kick out the current leader. It says nothing about how the new leader will be. He could be worse, he could be better. For example a leader of a succesfull slave rebellion may want to abolish slavery or he may just want to switch the roles with the former slaves becoming the new masters. I wouldn't be surprised if certain parts would beg for the return of the World government after its collapse. Many people mourned the fall of the "Western" Roman empire in Italy in the subsequent centuries. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ The Spanish empire was made with renaissance tech (1500+ was the renaissance) but your point is well made. $\endgroup$
    – Questor
    Commented May 22, 2023 at 21:24

Because the new world order and its leaders are seen (by the protagonist) as a bunch of oppressive bigots that ran roughshod over their culture and are in the process of erasing it and their religion as a consequence of that cultural influence. Then unrelated/unforeseen natural disasters are showing the "displeasure" of the old gods towards the new world order.


When it comes to any sort of rebellion like this, what you need is a greater loyalty to the smaller unit of government than this world government. This can be shown historically in cases like the American Civil War, in which there was more loyalty to individual states than there was to the United States overall. The easiest way to have this sort of loyalty is tribal differences, which are an often overlooked factor in the Vietnam War. The reason that South Vietnam would never be successful was that the economic elites were an ethnic Chinese minority propped up by Americans, who could never win over that majority of the population. The Iraq war is a more well known version of this problem given the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish ethnic groups who all have loyalty to their tribal groups over the Iraqi government that simply represents the largest group.

In terms of the problems with world governance, the easiest one is that organizations like the United Nations are inevitably agents of more powerful nations given a body like the Security Council, while the general assembly is largely dominated by the more numerous smaller nations. The structure of your council will likely have similar problems.

The takeaway from those two points is that you need a biased council made up of groups from a particular region of the world, and whoever created this council will likely want to keep it that way despite the problems that this will cause.

I also like the argument above that the hero is wrong, and to instead come down on the side of reform rather than revolution to address these problems.

  • $\begingroup$ Just for clarity; this council is not a democratic institution by any means. They are an independent autonomous company that essentially holds knives at the throats of every other country, and they produce books to legitimise their rule. Basically the Medici, the Praetorians and the Pope rolled into one. $\endgroup$
    – KeizerHarm
    Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 8:17

Perhaps local interests of the protagonist doesn't align with the interests of the ruling family of bankers. This could include:

  • His region is rich and is obligated to pay more then they receive from the central government
  • His region is poor and is exploited by the central government and denied the means to develop
  • His region has customs that are deemed unacceptable by the central government

All of this, of course, tied with insufficient democratic representation


The World Bank Mission

Sure, this World Bank Government might not be puppy-kicking, kitten-snacking, mustache-twirlingly evil. If it was that obvious, then it would be stomped out by an angry mob and probably a good chunk of their security forces. No, their mandate is to enforce their order while appearing to step on as little toes as possible. Ideally, they do a thing and spin it so that it was a good idea to meddle.

Ultimately, they serve themselves and their own interests. Every intervention is part of a strategy to keep them relevant and necessary in the world order. By putting a specific person on a throne or in charge of a council, that is one leader that owes them for their service.

Stagnation and reliance is likely their interests. By stifling developments and innovation (or co-opting them for themselves), they ensure that the world remains reliant on them for services. By having local rulers actually run the lands, they also avoid the backlash and direct hate that they would get if they actually administrated the lands.

The World People

The people of the world have a consortium of people that are apparently above their rulers and can basically dictate terms to them. The average person will not really care unless the World Bank's meddling has directly affected them. Even then, said average person will probably be compensated well enough to maintain silence and/or neutrality.

However, there will be people that will resent their country being under the thumb of others. Different people will have different reasons of course: Loyalty to their own liege and their decisions, a perceived lack of freedom from outside interference, and unhappiness with the ruling structures are just three general reasons why somebody would be unhappy

Unfortunate Implications

With a Wold Bank Government pulling all the strings behind the world leaders, then the world starts to stagnate. As they have the money, they are more than capable of buying out innovations and vetting them to see if anything poses a threat to their consolidated powers. Those that aren't bought out are crushed in an unfortunate accident.

As such, technology and innovation will be stifled as the world council will meddle in it to ensure that their power is not threatened. That is not to say that progress will not march on, but without free innovation things will slow. There may also be the case of a World Bank with much higher technology than the rest of the world.

Another side effect is that the various cultural identities will erode. It will not be a rapid erosion, but an intervention here, and a coup there, and slowly the identy of a people are lost. Given the premise of the question have all the books written by them, this only helps to erode individual identities.

The other primary side effect is that they have the money, and thus the power. Any money that is borrowed from the World Bank needs to have a justification. And they have to approve of that justification to get the money. This has the consequence of them having advance knowledge of what large projects are going on and an dictate what projects can happen.

The Protagonist

Your protagonist absolutely can have a personal reason to why they want to see this government's power dismantled. But to dismantle a government requires more than one person, and it should show in the world. They will likely have a group around them, with each person having their own motivations as to why they are a part of the group.

Any group that the protagonist is a part of will also need to have a reason for being in the world, and a reason why the World Bank hasn't bought them out or crushed them as of yet.


Why not have your protagonist be wrong and misguided in his opposition to your fictional world government? Possibly the protagonist has strong and convincing personal reasons for wanting to overthrow the world government, but by the end of the novel or series he might realize he was wrong, or the readers might realize he was wrong.

For countless thousands of generations humans and their primate ancestors lived in small bands of hunter-gatherers and conflicts between two groups often resulted in the extermination of the loosing group as they might have lost their hunting grounds and all starved to death, or been captured by the winners and killed and eaten.

Thus the groups which survived by wining were likely to be those that were most patriotic for their bands and which tried harder to win than their opponents. For hundreds of thousands of years humans have evolved to be more patriotic toward their small groups and to feel that they will die if their small groups are defeated in conflicts.

And when larger societies formed, humans became patriotic toward those larger societies, and continued to believe that they had to support those societies in conflicts with other humans, even though the results of losing wars between nations are usually much less dire than the results of losing wars between hunting bands.

Humans have the built in flaw of being patriotic, loyal to a small subset of all humans, and being willing to fight and kill for that small subset of humans in conflicts with any or all other humans.

The function of independent and sovereign national governments is occasionally fight wars resulting in the deaths their own citizens and the citizens of other independent and sovereign national governments. Sovereign and independent national governments are killing machines.

In recent decades and centuries sovereign and independent national governments have started to do a lot of good things for their citizens. But they could do all of those good things for their citizens if they were non sovereign and dependent regional governments that were part of one federal government that ruled all the world. Sovereignty and independence is not needed for a government to do good for its citizens.

The main function of the sovereignty and independence of sovereign and independent national governments is to kill people in wars. Other functions of governments, less harmful and more beneficial, can be carried out by non sovereign and dependent local governments as well as by sovereign and independent national governments.

It is estimated that between about 16,000,000 and 30,000,000 people died in World War One, beside all the people wounded, and that about 56,125,162 to 85,000,000 people died in World War Two. So about 72,125,162 to 115,000,000 people died in the two biggest wars of the Twentieth Century, beside all the thousands and millions of people who died in smaller conflicts in that century.

So how many people will die in wars during the Twenty First Century (AD 2001-2100) because of the sovereign and independent national governments that exist today?

How many people will die in wars during the Third Millennium (AD 2001-3000) because of the sovereign and independent national governments that exist today?

How many people will die in wars during the ten thousand years that began with AD 2001 (AD 2001-12,000) because of the sovereign and independent national governments that exist today?

How many people will die in wars during the hundred thousand years that began with AD 2001 (AD 2001-102,000) because of the sovereign and independent national governments that exist today?

How many people will die in wars during the million years that began with AD 2001 (AD 2001-1,002,000) because of the sovereign and independent national governments that exist today?

Nobody knows, because the future is uncertain and will be the result of countless millions and billions and trillions of individual decisions which people will make in the future.

But imagine that a supernatural being gives you the power to decide whether separate sovereign and independent national governments will continue for as long as the human race survives, or a government ruling over all humans that live anywhere in the universe will be established immediately and last for as long as the human race survives.

What will happen if you choose in favor of the sovereign and independent national governments? Suppose that the future is more peaceful than the past, and only 1,000 to 100,000 people die in wars in an average year in the future for as long as the human species endures.

In each such unusually peaceful century, 100,000 to 10,000,000 people will die in wars.

In each such unusually peaceful thousand years, 1,000,000 to 100,000,000 people will die in wars.

In each such unusually peaceful ten thousand years, 10,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 people will die in wars.

In each such unusually peaceful hundred thousand years, 100,000,000 to 10,000,000,000 people will die in wars.

In each such unusually peaceful million years, 1,000,000,000 to 100,000,000,000 people will die in wars.

And beside the people who die in wars, many more people will be wounded, and/or will mourn friends and relatives who are killed, and/or will lose their property to wartime destruction.

And of course those calculations assume that the future will be significantly more peaceful on the average than the Twentieth Century.

So in my opinion, if your protagonist chooses to fight to establish separate sovereign and independent national governments in place of a world government, he is fighting for an evil cause. And maybe as a writer you can demonstrate to the readers that he is being misled by his patriotic impulses into fighting for the wrong cause.


Your hero was the rightful heir of one of the kingdow that was absorbed by the new world government and want back his throne.

Or the leader through political maneuver or other things had to kill the parent of the hero to take the throne (what's 2 people dead for uniting peacefully the whole planete) and your hero is seeking vengance, I mean JUSTICE.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .