View Full Version : Is the galaxy too centralized?

7 February 2012, 03:36 PM
Since we have new forum, I thought of creating a new thread of discussion.

So after so many books, games, comics we saw Coruscant central power of many factions. It was the Old Republic, New Republic, Galactic Alliance, Yuuzhan Vong, Fel Empire, Krayt Empire and Galactic Federation Triumvirate. Whoever controls Coruscant, controls the galaxy. It seems when Coruscant is in trouble, the rest of the galaxy must suffer its problems and mistakes and most of the times engulfs into galactic war, 5 to be exact in less then 150 years:

-Clone Wars
-Galactic Civil War (includes the Imperial Civil War after Endor)
-Yuuzhan Vong invasion
-Second Galactic Civil War
-Second Imperial Civil War

Could decentralization be the answer to the galaxy's problems? Or is the authors and editors behind Star Wars brand lack of originality, beyond Galactic Wars and Jedi vs Sith or Jedi vs a race that goes against established canon that can't be sense in the force crap?

7 February 2012, 05:25 PM
I think the problem with a decentralized capital is that you have a greater tendency for an "us/them" faction to result. Oh, the Coruscant system is in shambles again, and all of the planets under their direct control are experiencing problems. No worries, we're under the direct control of Sluis Van. Our planets are healthy, stable. We won't even both sending help to them. Let them sort out their own problems.

And then you have two factions.

The biggest thing, I think, is that every other author feels they need to have a galaxy-spanning war in their book. The best way to instigate that is to have yet another fall of Coruscant. It's a problem with authors, not with the fact that Coruscant is the capital system. Moscow has been the capital of Russia for a long time. How many times has it fallen to foreign invaders? Once or twice? That happens, you take greater steps to make sure it doesn't happen again. They need to have what Rome had and have a "Senatorial" fleet and army. And I'm not talking some two-bit ceremonial unit, either. I'm talking something on par with the Sardukar of the Emperor in the DUNE universe. They have to be a FEARED unit of such size or firepower that you'd have to be suicidal to think of making an assault on the capital.

This would do a couple of things: One, it frees up the other fleets to roam around and stop invaders from even getting to the capital. Two, it leaves a potently combat capable armada always at the capital so that there will never be a time when the capital system is lightly defended/undefended.

Terras Jadeonar & Raven
7 February 2012, 10:02 PM
Isn't that almost the same idea as what Emperor Palpatine had?

For all the wrong reasons of course; ie: rule through fear and oppression as the main campaign. One order, one rule. Then came the Super Star Destroyers, and the Deathstars to follow.

Given that the Rebellion was as resourceful and determined as it was, with the backing of most of the galaxy behind them for the sake of freedom. And that if the Deathstar didn't have a couple critical, exploitable design flaws which lead to its destruction...

I think that was probably Palpatine's end goal. Finish production of 1 Deathstar, let it vape a few planets, let it become feared as the superweaon it was designed to be. Then build a few more, park one in the Coruscant system, followed by a few SSD's and a small fleet of ISD's for good measure, while continuing to expand the Imperial War machine of fleets and personnel. In effect, becoming that elite defense force that'd make anyone think twice about trying to attack the planet / system.

As Grimace had said about factions, the small body of freedom fighters grown to become the Rebellion, a distinct opposing faction to the Empire, with their own mobile decentralized government / command structure.

Even at some point during the Yuuzhan Vong War, again the New Republic government had become decentralized as Coruscant had fallen to the invaders. And thus the government managed to survive the outcome of the war. (and only to move back to Coruscant some point later on)

The whole point being though, for the majority of purposes, a Centralized government is pretty much needed IMHO to run a galaxy. You need a central regional seat of power, and an iconic building from which all the Senate / Parliament gather for endless debate. And when a war happens (as wars always have to happen in SW, to keep things interesting and from stagnating), there's always going to be that threat that the planet that the galactic government resides on can fall / be conquered.

On the other hand... I could only imagine how much chaos could happen if the galactic government were more mobile; say by periodical term of vote were the seat of the galactic government were to change / switch planets every so often. Kinda like how our world Olympic Games chooses a new host city globally every few years. This could certainly make it way easier for rogue upstart factions to try rise to power if every planet had a galactic government building. It'd also make for easy prey of the senate transport vessels moving the whole ensemble over each time. Security breaches galore too, a hacker's paradise.

Or hey - here's something of an idea, vaguely touched on but in a different light:
Though I suppose a huge man-made space station the shape and size of a moon / planet such as something similar to the Deathstar could make something of a feat actually feasible and possible. Let the station be able to be the galactic government icon, and vessel of mobility. As per periodical vote, the station could jump to a different system in which to reside in, so in essence it'll continually tour through the entire galaxy. The particular current system the station resides in would be somewhat responsible for supplying the resources needed. the station would also be accompanied by an honor guard "Senatorial Fleet" of capital ships for added defense (aside from the station's own well equipped defenses and fighter squadrons). And hopefully built much better, without being riddled with design flaws.

Could call it something like the: Senatorial Star or Galactic BattleStar (yes, a rather obvious play on and reference to another sci-fi series title)...

So, how's that for some discussion and theory? :D

7 February 2012, 10:58 PM
Grimace, as usual, touches the issue with a fine point, both in universe and on the meta-level of the franchise.

It's worth noting that Coruscant has a big target on it by virtue of being the capital... even if there were devolved centers of government, in the case of a galaxy spanning war, the process would just be repeated X number of times over. The Sith or Yuuzhan Vong are not especially concerned with the finer points of confederate government principles so much as conquest.

Putting on my political scientist hat for a moment ( :D ), it should be noted that Coruscant is the home to millennia of records and collective bureaucratic knowledge. Let's let that sink in for a moment, because we poor earthlings have a hard time fathoming that, seeing as how our species does not think in those terms. Indeed, the impulse in recent years is to shorten the expectations as far as the time required for mass societal evolution, which (cough cough) may lead to increased disappointment, since societies don't get the memo (YMMV).

In terms of galactic governance, Coruscant is the key to the castle-- most of the bureaucracy likely could not function without it.

Sort of inherent to the OP's suggestion is a devolution of powers which would eliminate the massive, galaxy wide outfits like BOSS. But then you run into the same structural problems weak federal states like the Articles of Confederation United States (and to a lesser extent, the pre-liberal interpretation of the Interstate Commerce Clause United States) or Holy Roman Empire did.

If there is no one to regulate interbody commerce and legal continuity, things tend to get messy (and/or violent) rather quickly. And as Grimace pointed out, the necessity of state cohesion tends to lose much of its argumentative appeal if you personally are doing just fine where you are. Why should Corellia care if Tatooine is being systematically pillaged by slime mold alien pirates? Unless there is a specific economic or politically viable humanitarian (sentientarian?) motivator, the prosperous, well defended and stable governments have little incentive to do much of anything short an evident, galactic, threat.

In other words, you have something strongly resembling the modern arena of international relations. Sad to say, there are few angels in that particular world.

There is history and an inherent legitimacy to Coruscant-- BOSS and sundry other organs of organization are there, true, but the appeal of Coruscant is in a sense similar to the appeal of a constitutional monarch. While some here may be rabid republicans, most find the presence of that stable, unifying factor comforting... provided it keep a respectful distance from local affairs. That, in combination with questionable legitimacy, is the reason the Empire spawned a large-scale rebellion.

7 February 2012, 11:09 PM
Perhaps I've been reading too much sci-fi lately, but something that's occurred to me is that there's actually no need to centralize the power base in a galaxy with the HoloNet. I mean, in a reality where you could have virtual Senate meetings by projecting yourself via the HoloNet (which we know to be feasible, at least on the scale of the Jedi Council), you could physically decentralize your government without actually losing any of the benefits of living on the same planet.

In fact, it's more the military infrastructure than the civilian government that relies on physical proximity. In fact, in the Star Wars galaxy you could argue that coming up a heavily decentralized threat that made use of distant-but-instantaneous communication could be a huge threat to the traditional governments, like the Republic and the Empire, because there's effectively no "head" to cut off to defeat them.

Vanger Chevane
8 February 2012, 08:19 AM
I tend to agree here. In fact I can see the Rebellion using tactics similar to those used in the Middle East & the recent "Flash Mob" phenomena where ppl use Holonet Access & Social Media to organize.

On a darker level you can draw parallels to the Anonymous group as well, which increases visibility a bit with some Branding, but also requires greater security & stealthier methods as one knows they're being watched by The Powers at that point.

8 February 2012, 08:57 AM
The only issue with the whole "rule through the Holonet" is the possibility of shutting down/interrupting the communication procedures. Try running a government from a hundred different places when the Holonet is shut down.

Reliance on something that can be rather easily controlled/shut down/intercepted and is not something you want to run a government with, especially in a galaxy as violent and unsettled as the Star Wars galaxy. Were the galaxy a more peaceful place, without the evidently common war/civil war happening every decade or so, then I could certainly see a more decentralized government run through something like the Holonet. But if you put that much power to control/cripple the galactic government in one piece of technology, you can guarantee that's where the focus will be to destroy/disrupt.

8 February 2012, 01:55 PM
I'm with Grimace, the Holonet based government could make government be an easy target for hakers and that sort of stuff.

Let's not forget that we as society, the internet brough us closer, but do you see the Senate meeting via videoconference. First of all in our age of technology we would be lucky to each individual videoconference we wouldn't have Bandwith to make connection to half the senate. (I'm lucky to have proper videoconference with my cousin, that she lives in San Diego). Despite Star Wars technology is far superior, I believe they don't have technology to make holographic image of each senator, I mean there are millions of senators representing their worlds. Just see the vast of people on those scenes in Galactic Senate. Also don't forget that in Episode III, the holographic images of Jedi Council wasn't the best and had what 4 to 5 in holographic image, most of them flicker a lot.

But don't forget that making discussion via holonet is not the same as face to face. Our politicians today fly thousands of miles like to meet face to face just to discuss international affairs or national affairs.

For me decentralized power means equally of many factions like Star Trek. But that doesn't mean eternal peace or mean better then centralized power in Coruscant. All the series and movies of Star Trek the many factions had war between them. Despite Federation fought against the Klingon Empire, this last one when enter in decay joined the Federation and Earth despite being no that centralized (let's be honest we would in Star Wars part of Outer Rim), is capital of Federation.

So i believe wars would continue, perhaps even more with centralized power. What I believe is authors and editors have run out of ideas. Despite IMHO, my view after Endor, the Star Wars galaxy in terms of diplomatic and political picture could be more like Star Trek.

Terras, despite being cool that of mobile station of government, that would in my mind not solve things in fact it would make things worse, because In my writer's mind I would explore immediately between a division between the government (elitist society) vs the commoners that live on the planet and their social clashes.

Also there is one thing we can forget is what is ramifications in people's minds in Star Wars of what Coruscant really represents to them. We are talking a capital of galaxy for more then 25,000 years. To put in our earth like perspective, is Washington DC too centralized power for USA?