“The Imperial forces must keep their hands off, but they find that they can do much even so. Each sector is encouraged to be suspicious of its neighbors. Within each sector, economic and social classes are encouraged to wage a kind of war with each other. The result is that all over Trantor it is impossible for the people to take united action. Everywhere, the people would rather fight each other than make a common stand against the central tyranny and the Empire rules without having to exert force.”

Issac Asimov, Prelude to Foundation

The context of the above quote is a conversation between the characters Davan, Hari Seldon and Dors Venabili in ‘Prelude to Foundation’. Davan is explaining the manner in which the Empire maintains control at scale. Some obvious parallels can be drawn to the ways in which empires have operated (and continue to) on our own world.


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