Hydrolic Depotism

“Hydraulic despotism is a term for despotic rule supported by control of a single, necessary resource. In its first instances, it was literally water that was controlled: in ancient Egypt and Babylonia, the government controlled the irrigation channels; good subjects received plentiful water for their crops, while bad subjects were starved of water so that their crops died. The term can be used to indicate any tyrannical rule propped up by control of a vital resource. Frank Herbert’s Dune establishes a universe centered around a hydraulic despotism: The spice, Melange, is essential for, among other things, space travel; it is said that “He who controls the spice controls the universe”.


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