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World domination (also called global domination or world conquest) is a hypothetical power structure, either achieved or aspired to, in which a single social or political authority holds the power over virtually all the inhabitants of the planet Earth. Various individuals or regimes have tried to achieve this goal throughout history, without ever attaining it.
The theme has been often used in works of fiction, particularly in political fiction, as well as in conspiracy theories (which may posit that some person or group has already secretly achieved this goal), particularly those fearing the development of a "New World Order" involving a world government of a totalitarian nature.
Historically, world domination has been thought of in terms of a nation expanding its power to the point that all other nations are subservient to it. This may be achieved by establishing an hegemony, an indirect form of government and of imperial dominance in which the hegemon (leader state) rules geopolitically subordinate states by means of its implied power - by the threat of force, rather than by direct military force. However, domination can also be achieved by direct military force. In the 4th century BCE, Alexander the Great notably expressed a desire to conquer the world, and a legend persists that after he completed his military conquest of the known ancient world, he "wept because he had no more worlds to conquer", although he was unaware of China farther to the east and had no way to know about civilizations in the Americas. However, with the full size and scope of the world known, it has been said that "[w]orld domination is an impossible goal", and specifically that "[n]o single nation however big and powerful can dominate a world" of well over a hundred interdependent nations and billions of people.
An opposite view was expressed by Hans Morgenthau. He stressed that the mechanical development of weapons, transportation, and communication makes "the conquest of the world technically possible, and they make it technically possible to keep the world in that conquered state.” Its lack was the reason why great ancient empires, though vast, failed to complete universal conquest of their world and perpetuate the conquest. Now, however, this is possible. Technology undoes both geographic and climatic barriers. “Today no technological obstacle stands in the way of a world-wide empire,” as “modern technology makes it possible to extend the control of mind and action to every corner of the globe regardless of geography and season.” Morgenthau continued on the technological progress:
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