I like Star Trek but I am still bothered by the flaws in it. The flaws don't bother me enough to ruin the franchise for (though there are a few individual episodes I skip or fast forward to the end). The best thing Star Trek did is popularize the notion of a sci-fi futuristic setting that is more or less optimistic. I don't believe Star Trek is the first sci-fi story to do that, but it's the sci franchise that made that popular. Once in a blue moon, I write a dab of science fiction myself and I created a very similar (although smaller) organization to the Federation, there are only about 1000 worlds that can sustain life and only about 10 sapient species. The more I know about politics, the less I think the idea of every planet acting like an independent faction is plausible. Requirement One is almost a requirement for interstellar sci-fit stories. Scientifically impossibility/implausibility aside, this is not a problem. Requirement three would be difficult, but not impossible. Martin Luther King said "The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends towards justice." For all my negativity I don't find it implausible that various forms of discrimination will be less prevalent and extreme in 200+ years. At the very least, I find social justice of this sort at least as plausible as faster than light travel. When Star Trek tells a story about racism or some other prejudice they usually use this trope, sometimes they do it artfully. Sometimes they are (accidentally?) offensive. Requirement two is the one that strikes me as the thing that would keep Earth out of the Federation. I don't think it's possible for Earth to unify under one government. I don't think Earth would peacefully unit under one government. I don't think we could have one world government imposed by violence would work either. Maybe you could write a controversial backstory where some ruthless dictator brutally conquers the world and the government he or she sets up creates reforms to make things nicer so 200 years after WWIII ends, the unified world government turns into something pleasant. Could you have a brutally installed world government that lasts for 1000 years constantly maintained with an iron fist. No. This sort of government style requires an external foe to rally the populace against. If such a force conquered the world, said empire would split into competing factions within a generation or two. I don't that would work because real world historical conquerors, even when they win, have not been able to set up lasting governments. The closest we got was Ancient Rome which at it's peak, 25% of the world's population owed fealty to Rome before it began to decline. Whether you have a peaceful utopia or a dysoptian nightmare, I think differences between religion, ethnicity, philosophy, language, haves/have-nots, and a gazillion other things would prevent true world unity. Even if a peaceful cultural homogenization occurs (everyone listens to the same pop songs and wears the same jeans or to go sci-fi universal translators) or a non-peaceful cultural homogenization occurs (genocide), I think a large enough group would create new splits. My conclusion is the planets have unified governments because it's easier for the writers that way. It'd be hard to keep track of Russia and Germany were allied with each other and Klingon Nation A and Klingon Nation B and were fighting an alliance of Brazil, Canada, Scalenexland, Nepal, and Klingon Nations C and D. That's just a headache. I do think that the knowledge of life on others planets would create more human solidarity than we have now. Humans living outside of Earth would probably be more prone to overlook differences with other humans than humans on Earth. Me against my brother, my brother and I against my uncle, my uncle and I against the stranger. I also am not saying that Earth would keep warring amongst itself for the end of time. You could have world peace (or at least relative peace), but I don't think enough people would give up their sovereignty to form one collective. What do you guys think? Do you agree with me, or do you think a universe where interstellar space travel would lend itself to planetary governments?