You have a choice when it comes to governments. That dictatorship getting you down? You have the choice to revolt. That "democracy" a little too socialist for you? Well, you can get the local megalomaniac elected on a nationalist platform, and watch as the government you've chosen casts itself into chaos with neighbor states. Want more humanism in government? No problem, you can choose it--and stand paralyzed as the world around you erupts into glory and violence and your neutrality and social programs prosper on their ill-gotten gain. But you will forever remain uncompetitive in the world market. You may be a successful tourist destination, but a super power? C'mon.

To really seize and consolidate power, you need the people's consent. To give them too little is too doom yourself to paranoia and the need to oppress and monitor. This is bad for business. To give them too much is to doom yourself to too little power, to become a footstool and an object of ridicule. This is also bad for business.

To rule a people effectively and maximize your world market share, you need to give the individual just enough power. Freedom of movement, freedom of speech, and a few other freedoms to achieve bleak prosperity on their own will give them the sense of enough personal power that they will not cast you out. What's left over of their works, their loyalty, can then be effectively applied to extending your sphere of influence domestically and abroad. You can work their freedom--indeed, propensity--to gather and talk into an ever-churning reactor that puts out consent to your plans in the guise of debate. The question then is not "Should we acquire Country X's holdings?" but "Should we acquire Country X's holdings through diplomacy or force?" Either way, your business grows, and you end up controlling another country's assets and natural resources, wiping out its less competitive government and replacing it with one that fits your model.

Why does this work? Because the consumer wants freedom. This is what the dictators never understood. People want a choice: you can't sell them a government that says they have no choice, they have to wear beards and veils. That never lasts long in the modern market. You have to place before them a proper choice: Coke or Pepsi. Foreign or domestic. Republican or democrat. Military war or economic war. Their perception that their wills are working and their choices have real power are a necessary part of your marketing plan if you want to truly amass power.

Representative democracy is the superior product. When it's administered correctly (for which you need a relatively competent and duly elected layer of middle management in local and national legislators), people buy and keep buying. In a matter of decades, it's possible to build enormous brand loyalty that will have people calling it treasonous to question your strategy.

Some will protest your acquisitions and partnerships, but your vehemently defending their right to do so will eviscerate their movement. There are no martyrs without oppression, and in a representative democracy, the only discernable oppression among consumers is the absence of a complaint department. "We hear you" is your slogan, "we listen to you" is your warranty policy. You depend on them to tell you which way you should go about the business of consolidating power. What cinches the sale is that you give the consumer choice, and he or she can see it working in the market.