Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization

First Edition

© 1975-1979, 2008 Robert A. Freitas Jr. All Rights Reserved.

Robert A. Freitas Jr., Xenology: An Introduction to the Scientific Study of Extraterrestrial Life, Intelligence, and Civilization, First Edition, Xenology Research Institute, Sacramento, CA, 1979; http://www.xenology.info/Xeno.htm


21.1  Dimensions of Extraterrestrial Government

The first task before xenologists is to devise a comprehensive taxonomy which subsumes all forms of alien governments. The job is fantastically difficult, for there are dozens of different ways to describe a given system of governance. (See de Blij,725 Etzioni,832 Katz,1768 Krader,1745 MacIver,818 McLennan,1866 Parkinson,2600 Rodee, Anderson and Christol,821 Wescott,264 and Wit.817) Human political scientists don’t even agree on how to categorize human polities, and it is virtually certain that Earthly political forms fail to exhaust the universe of possibilities.

But xenologists must start somewhere. So, despite the enormity of the task, theorists have attempted to isolate a few of the most critical dimensions of government. Each dimension, or "governance scale," may be thought of as a coordinate axis which helps to define the geometry of government.

Ordinary physical space as we know it may be described with three coordinate axes set at right angles to each other. Each object in the universe may be uniquely located using a three-dimensional geometry. Political space, as provisionally identified by xenologists, can be viewed as having six primary dimensions. Theoretically, each alien government occupies a unique position in this 6-dimensional "space." Any governance system thus may be described -- albeit incompletely and imperfectly -- by a series of six "political coordinates." These are as follows:

1. Cultural Scale;
2. Leadership System;
3. Organizational Centralization;
4. Economic Basis;
5. System of Exchange; and
6. Sociopolitical Freedom.

The entire proposed taxonomy for extraterrestrial governments is summarized in Table 21.1 in Section 21.1.


Last updated on 6 December 2008