Hegemony is a hard thing to maintain — just ask Ancient Rome. How are you to reaffirm your iron grip on this planet when its countless parts remain in perpetual, cloying motion? Never fear, master, there's always a new toehold to be gained on the steep and dangerous cliff; there is ever a method, when the status quo looks ready to dissolve, to cement it in place once more. Here are five simple strategies for ensuring your continued eminence in 2014.
Let Other People Do The Sweating. This year will witness two major international sporting events: the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and soccer's World Cup, to be held this summer in Brazil. It may prove worthwhile to touch down a few days before these athletic contests to bribe referees and officials, or simply extort a star athlete into throwing a game. If Uruguay upsets Brazil, the region will fall into such chaos that seizing control of a oil company ought to be easier than scoring an own goal.
Become A Cryptoentrepreneur. Hadn't you heard? Swiss bank accounts went out of style with whoever Leo DiCaprio played in The Wolf of Wall Street. These days, it's all about the thrillingly unregulated market for virtual, encrypted currencies like Bitcoin, which can trade hands in far shadier circumstances than cash ever could. You needn't bother setting up the next Silk Road, however. Bitcoin is traded mainly by libertarian paranoiacs who think they learned everything they need to know in Econ 101. Slip them some misinformation through a reliable source (or Reddit) and watch their smug attitude crumble into panic, then buy on the cheap. When they feel safe inflating the bubble again, cash out. Rinse and repeat!
Political Puppetry. Maybe money and industrial monopolies aren't so interesting to you as naked influence. And in an election year, there are plenty of opportunities to back a hapless politician who promises to stay in your pocket for several terms to come. You're better off going with the sure thing, of course — and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, recently sworn in, presents a mixture of inexperience and ethical conviction that makes him an ideal target for Machiavellian shadowcraft. Start small, offering his family the use of your table at Rao's one night. Move on to suggesting your prep school chums when he needs to fill a vacancy in his inner circle. After that, you can talk business. Let's turn Ellis Island into a casino? Sure, why not.
Get A Head Start On Living Forever. As the old saying goes, you can't take it with you, so you may as well stick around. Why do you think the powers that be at Google decided to create Calico, a company devoted to defeating aging and death? It's important to set unreasonable expectations — if you end up being able to freeze your brain and upload your mind directly to Facebook, great, and if not, well, you'll be remembered as the crazy guy who tried to do that. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Find Another World To Dominate. I hope I'm not the first to point this out to you, but there are plenty of worlds in the universe to choose from, many of which impose no property tax. While the anti-science mob tears apart NASA piece by piece, you should be pulling together a private space program, one capable of launching a manned spaceflight to Mars, Europa, or even the planets orbiting Alpha Centurai. In the distant frontiers of the future, you'll find a decadent freedom unmatched in Las Vegas, Bangkok, or even the high seas. Welcome home.
[Photo credit: Getty.]
Miles Klee is a reporter for The Daily Dot and author of the novel Ivyland, a finalist in the 2013 Tournament of Books. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Lapham's Quarterly, BlackBook, The Awl, Salon, The Village Voice, The New York Observer and elsewhere.