Pushing Off From Pommyland : Syston Budding and Merger [MT110]

David Noel
Ben Franklin Centre for Theoretical Research
PO Box 27, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia.

And now in age I bud again, after so many deaths I live and write
-- George Herbert , 1919

When I left England in 1964 to come to Australia, the country I came to was a remote and rural part of Britain. No-one talked about any such thing as an Australian Citizen; the qualification to be able to vote, and the description used on Australian passports, was British Subject. The Australian currency used the same pounds, shillings and pence divisions as the British, and although a conversion rate was applied, it was fixed -- one British pound was worth exactly 1.25 Australian ones.

Trade between Britain and Australia was almost unrestricted by government edicts. The National Anthem of Australia was the same as that of Britain -- God Save the Queen. The Australian flag was just the Union Jack with the Southern Cross and a states star added.

In those days, Australian youngsters approaching adulthood would talk about and take trips 'home' to Britain -- even though they had been born in Australia and had never left it. The emotional, legal, and commercial ties in those days were very close -- even the highest avenue of legal appeal was to the Queen's Privy Counsel in England.

Now all that has changed. From being a much more distant and larger equivalent to the Channel Islands, Australia has forged its own, independent existence. Like its youngsters, who still make The Trip to live and work in Britain for a while, it is moving into adulthood, but as a nation.

No doubt the process was stimulated, even triggered, by external events. Britain was starting the slow process of 'Moving into Europe' -- a syston merger rather than a syston budding. In this process, it was obliged to abandon its parental role towards its former colonies.

The free movement of population between the two countries was wound down, with the introduction of visas and working permits on both sides. The shared citizenship levels, with Australians holding seats in the British Parliament, and vice versa, faded away. 'Commonwealth Preference' in trade disappeared.

A new National Anthem -- Advance Australia Fair -- was adopted. The portrait of the sovereign disappeared from Australian stamps, and on Australian banknotes it faded to an occasional watermark. And well before Britain, in 1966, Australia adopted decimal currency with a new monetary unit, the Australian dollar. These were exchanged at the rate of two of the new dollars to the old pound.

Much of the action was undertaken by the reformist Labor government of Gough Whitlam. The changes were disliked by some, but most accepted them as a logical and inevitable part of 'growing up'. And today, very few Australians would seek to see the situation put back to the old position, even if it was practicable. It was time to cut the apron strings.

Has Something Gone Missing?

The changes just described in the budding of the Australia syston from the British one were, of course, recognized. The diminishment of emotional ties, with a shrinking proportion of Australians stemming from British stock, due to increasing migration first from elsewhere in Europe, and then from Asia, was regretted, but also accepted as inevitable.

It seems to me that as well as all the recognized changes, a further largely unrecognized change took place as Australia moved to assert its new individual identity, and this was a change which has had a profound impact on Australia's current fortunes and world position.

My first job in Australia was at the University of Western Australia. This was a period when Australian universities were undergoing rapid expansion, and staff were being actively recruited from overseas. In the University as a whole, over half the academic staff were from Britain. In the department I worked in, none of the four most senior positions were held by Australians, and few at the next rung down.

Of course universities are not typical of the whole population, and in any event a constant interchange and introduction of new blood into universities world-wide is usually viewed as a good thing. Certainly Matrix Thinking would lead to the view that the infocap transfer and synenergy flows involved were positive factors.

But in Australia, the bringing-in of overseas talent was viewed, and still is, as a device for 'bringing the country up to speed', a device which would be no longer be necessary as the country built up its own talents. And now it is evident that the flow of overseas academics into Australian universities is down to a tiny fraction of what it was in the early 60's. In the MT approach, this cutting of an infocap flow to a trickle must inevitably be a negative factor.

Taking the Washing back to Mum

But back to the Unseen but Profound change. It seems to me that the really big effect of the Australian bud-off from Britain was this: it effectively partitioned off a complex syston into two parts, a parent-home one and a separate, new-adult one. It was a time for leaving the nest.

Almost any young person who leaves their comfortable parents' home, to set up in a flat or share a house with other young people, comes up against a shock or two in their new 'independent' life. All sorts of services and goods which were supplied silently and unrealized by the home-syston suddenly have to be thought about and paid for, and their costs are astonishingly high.

And all the 'housekeeping' jobs, the washing, the cleaning, the shopping -- they do take a lot of time. Even youngsters who know, from what they have been told, that the problems are there, get some surprises and setbacks from their plunge into independence.

To some extent, the home-leavers will have been conditioned for their budding action by what we call instinct, and wise parental 'training'. In the teens, a spirit of independence builds up in children, a disinclination to accept what Dad or Mum says as being right without question, an urge to be different from the old fuddy-duddies.

Even so, those leaving home who are somewhat insulated in this way, often still experience a sense of loss, a feeling of disorientation. What they are suffering from is, in fact, a loss of infocap availability, a decrease in synenergy flow. No longer can they yell out from a distant part of the house "Mum, what time does the bus leave?", or "Dad, where's the bike pump?" and have the home-syston respond. And at a more complex level, no longer is an on-tap source of advice, opinion, and support available on everything from getting the paint spots off clothes to going through all the trauma of buying a house.

And that was the silent loss which afflicted Australia when it broke away from Britain -- the raising of synenergy barriers, the loss of easy infocap flow as the Australia syston split off from the Britain one.

Proposition 110A*. Australia suffered a marked reduction in synenergy flow when it moved toward full independence from Britain

Coupled with this change was an important economic aspect. If one of the basic propositions put forward in this suite of articles is valid, the one that says infocap aggregates and breeds to provide a living wage for its syston, then the gating off of all the British infocap from Australian participation would clearly cut the Australian infocap dividends. Here is a possible base reason for the acknowledged slide of Australia right down the international wealth charts. Let us now try to bring out some instances and parallels to make this occurrence clearer.

The first example is with cultural matters.

Bring on the Cultural Cringe

A well-recognized social phenomenon in Australia is that of the 'Cultural Cringe'. In a feeling that permeates through much of the country, anything in the area of the arts or entertainment that is any good may be expected to come from 'overseas'. Anything that originated and developed in Australia, and is still here, can't be expected to amount to much.

Of course this general attitude is thought to be Bad. The MT interpretation would be that the Australia-syston has a mild case of the equivalent of an inferiority complex. And its reaction to this is typical, a mild case of SIOS (MT104).

The SIOS shows itself in such things as government-imposed minimum 'Australian' content in television programs, and in actors' union agreements on the restricted use of foreign performers in Australian-made films. The negative MT view of such restrictions will be clarified later on, but it cannot be said that the reaction of the Australia-syston in this case is any different to that occurring elsewhere around the world.

The point here is this. At the present time in Australia, the SIOS/ Cultural Cringe feeling applies fairly generally to all countries outside Australia itself, with the exception of 'poor-cousin' New Zealand. A prominent pop singer from England, visiting Perth for a concert, would be similarly regarded as would one from the United States, or from Denmark.

Forty years ago, or even thirty years ago, the British performer would have been regarded differently to the others. At that time, Britain was still 'home' to Australians, and a British pop singer would be regarded more or less as someone from that part of the Britain/ Australia/ Commonwealth joint syston which had specialization in pop singing and culture.

We can bring this point out more in the next section, with an example where syston budding has not yet taken place. But first, the comment should be made that the cultural example is just one of the many areas where the Britain/ Australia split has thrown up synenergy barriers, mostly cutting Australia off from an unrealized reliance on a parent they have moved away from.

Not only culture, but also business, manufacturing, engineering, and languages -- in Australian schools thirty years ago, the schools which taught foreign languages offered French and German almost exclusively. Useful languages for dealing with close neighbours, not so appropriate for a part of the syston sent out to work up a remote colony. Now Australia has started to 'go native' in its Oceania colony, and begun to pick up the local languages of Japanese and Indonesian.

And the most strongly-effective barrier of all -- research. This area, the very hub of infocap generation, was almost entirely gated off by the Australia/Britain division. For most enterprises, Australia was only the Branch Office, and branch offices don't do research. Or set policies.

The University of Meekatharra

Many years ago a colleague offered to support my application for the Chair in Nut Growing at the University of Meekatharra, once the professorship had been established. It was, of course, a joke.

Meekatharra is a tiny and isolated town in the outback of Western Australia, in fact an archetype for such very isolated towns. One would guess that it would be one of the least likely places in the State at which a university might ever be established.

In fact, at the present time, Western Australia has five universities, all established in Perth. Perth typifies the Australian habit of bunching population, as it contains two-thirds of the entire population and is stuck down in the southwest corner of the State.

In addition to education, in line with its population concentration, Perth is also the natural centre for arts, entertainment, business, you name it. Such research as goes on in WA takes place there unless there are compelling reasons otherwise.

All the 'brain' of the state-syston is concentrated down in the bottom left-hand bit. Of course, Western Australia is a huge state. If it was reflected in the Equator, and superimposed at the same latitudes on North America, its colder boundary would be in central California. Its more tropical boundary would extend down to . . . Venezuela.

Even the regional administration of this area gravitates towards Perth. The Bishop of the North West, whose see covers the greater part of the state, is based in Geraldton, less than 400 km north of Perth. His 'parish' goes on for some 2000 km more to the northeast.

So if you live in Meekatharra, or Kununurra in the extreme north, or in one of the new mining towns of the Pilbara, and you want to access higher education, or specialist medical services, or mineral processing research, or a live orchestral concert, you have to turn to Perth. In a more recent development, the 'fly-in, fly-out' operation, you even live in Perth and work remotely. If you work for, say, the Argyle Diamond mines, your home, children's schools, family, shops, and clubs may be in Perth, but your trip to work for your next 2- or 3-week shift will involve a plane flight of over 2000 km instead of a car ride.

There must be few places in the world which have this degree of centralization. For someone in England, the concept of needing to fly the distance to Marrakesh in Morocco to get a new pair of glasses would seem incredible. Of course, this may all change. Much of the gold, iron ore, natural gas, and other mineral wealth of the state is in the north, and the population centres there will inevitably grow and become more self-sufficient as they accumulate infrastructure/infocap.

People have suggested that it could be a logical move, at some time in the future, to divide WA up into two separate states, one in the north and one in the south. However, to contemplate such a move today would be completely untenable -- it would leave the North without most of the necessary control infrastructure, all that would still be concentrated in the South. The separation of Australia from Britain/Australia was by no means as extreme as our North-South split would be, but the parallel does point up the implications of synenergy loss through syston splitting.

Digging the Long Moat

Interestingly enough, Western Australia has itself attempted such a splitting process, away from the rest of Australia. When, in 1901, the various independent Australian colonies entered the new federal structure, the Commonwealth of Australia, WA was the most reluctant and the last to agree. It had its own independent origins, and had never been part of the colonial structure of the East -- all of eastern Australia, and even New Zealand, had once been under the control of, or part of, the colony of New South Wales, which had gradually split off territory to form new independent jurisdictions. And ever since, there has been a greater or lesser feeling of dissatisfaction in WA with the 'heavy-handed control' exerted by the 'Canberra Mandarins' over state affairs.

An example of this control concerns WA's iron ore deposits. For many, many years the Australian Government, which had control over external trade, refused to allow the export of iron ore from WA, on the grounds that there wasn't much of it, and Australia needed to keep it for itself. Of course this notion was completely ignorant, in fact WA has perhaps the largest iron ore deposits in the world.

Eventually the Canberra resistance was worn down, and what is now a very major export earner for Australia began. In an illuminating episode, the Federal Minister for Mining once flew over to WA to officially open one of the new mining sites, and to everyone's astonishment, proceeded to rail at the Company officials in his speech at some perceived bad intent in the way the Company had brought the project to fruition. With considerable aplomb, the Company Head replied that his organization's purpose was to take enough iron ore out of the ground in the West, so that the East would become top-heavy enough for Australia to tilt over and put Canberra beneath the waves! Now that may be amusing, and perhaps similar instances of dissatisfaction with central control may be found all over the world. But in WA, the divisions have gone a great deal deeper.

In the early 1930s, West Australians were very dissatisfied indeed with central power, and there was a general desire for the State to pull out altogether from the federation. The WA Parliament passed the necessary laws, and a Referendum was held as to whether the secession should take place (Figure 110.1).

Fig. 110.1. Title page of the 1934 WA secession document

The Referendum for Secession was passed in WA by a good majority, and the Federal Parliament was duly petitioned to arrange secession. They refused to allow it.

In 1974, another strong Secessionist Movement was active in WA, this time exacerbated by the ludicrous iron ore export matter, and to some extent supported by certain mining interests. The direct government-to-government approach in 1934 having proved fruitless, the mechanism in 1974 was to get Secessionist members into the two houses of the Federal Parliament and work from there (Figure 110.2).

Fig. 110.2. Part of a 1974 Westralian Secessionist advertisement

The secession moves of the 1970s did not get anywhere, either. Other episodes at other times have never got very far. Perhaps we can look for a moment at what is the origin of these recurring urges arising in the WA-syston.

Basically, the urge for independence seems to have its origin in the feeling that the local syston is being short-changed in comparison with other members of a wider syston, who are effectively wielding power to the advantage of their own, local systons. On the face of it, this feeling would appear justified by the facts.

Australians are always being urged to Export, and WA is the major exporting state of Australia, in spite of it having only around one-tenth of the population. Its principal exports are minerals and farm products, typified by iron ore, wheat, and wool. All these products have to compete on an unprotected basis on world markets.

In the case of wheat, the current position is harder still, as our products have to compete against ones subsidized on the international market, for example by the US, or overcome stiff tariff barriers, as with the European Common Market.

On the other hand, the bulk of manufacturing in Australia is done in the Eastern States (which locally means everywhere except WA), particularly in New South Wales and Victoria. In the past, these industries, such as producers of cars and clothes, have been heavily 'protected' by the imposition of high tariffs and taxes on competing products from overseas.

In economic matters there is seldom any general agreement to be found, but even so most economists and politicians would accept that the 'protected' industries are being subsidized by those that are not 'protected'. Whether such action is ever justified or not is a complex affair which will be looked at later. The currently developing general world feeling is that subsidizing for export and penalizing imports is basically not helpful in the long term, and gradually tariff barriers and the like (ie infocap barriers) are being dismantled.

In the case of WA, the 'unprotected' producers of minerals and farm products get their income in open-market dollars, but for their vehicles, clothes, and other consumer items they have to pay prices which are swollen by Federal restrictions and tariffs above what they could buy for on the open world market.

On a straight book-keeping basis, WA would clearly be better off financially if it could become an independent nation, buying all its requirements in a free market, while the rest of Australia would be much worse off. Hence the reluctance for such action in the East, which has the majority of population, votes, and effective majority control.

Taking the General View

Let us now look at this matter through MT eyes. I suggest that WA's desire for independence is just one expression of a general urge to independence which permeates through groupings which exist within a wider syston. These groupings may not yet have a complete set of the trappings and functions which would qualify them as independent systons, but they believe that they can 'go it alone'.

Proposition 110B**. An 'Urge for Independence' will always tend to appear in groupings within a wider syston which believe that they will be advantaged by independence

It is of course a general and natural thing that any group will have have feelings of being disadvantaged vis-a-vis others within their wider syston. In some ways, this 'us against them' feeling is part of the mechanism which holds the grouping together.

In the WA secession matter, the disadvantage is overtly presented as an economic one. In fact, the underlying feeling is more resentment against poor use of effective power, "those idiots from the East thinking they know what's best for us" -- see Fig. 110.2!

In other parts of the world, the Urge for Independence has other overt bases. In WA, at least the argument has been kept non-violent. When control of territory, religious matters, language differences, and unwarranted use of force are involved, the clashes may become violent indeed.

In almost all the worst cases, there are strong synenergy barriers in existence around the participating groups, and SIOS reigns everywhere, 'outsiders' being condemned purely because of their different ethnic, social, or economic labels.

There are current examples everywhere -- in Canada, with the Quebec separatist movement, Yugoslavia, now a collage of different ethnic states, Russia -- independent from the rest of the USSR but reluctant to allow any of its own parts independence, East Timor, Northern Ireland, Namibia, and on and on.

Later we will look at ways to avoid these problems of violence. For the moment we can just observe that the common element in all these conflicts, major and minor, is an urge for independence by a sub-syston which is resisted by the wider syston which encloses it.

Going Off with Grace

All right, we have now identified the two main opposing influences in the syston budding/ merger conflict. On the one hand, we have the Urge for Independence, which if it had no opposition, would fragment society completely down to the last individual. That influence breaks systons down into a larger number of smaller ones.

On the other, we have the urge to accumulate infocap and enjoy good synenergy flows, an urge which leads to the formation of larger systons and the aggregation of smaller ones. This sort of inbuilt clumping tendency has been touched on earlier, as in MT105. We might express it here formally.

Proposition 110C**. Infocap will always tend to move from a dispersed to a clumped state, thus creating infocap-rich aggregations within an infocap-poorer medium

Practical examples of this sort of occurrence are to be found everywhere. In countries with large rural areas, a major factor in modern society has been the drift, or rush, of rural population to the towns -- the 'magnet of the city'. In individual terms, the common wisdom is expressed in such phrases as 'the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer'.

In MT terms, this characteristic is only to be expected. It is another facet of Propositions 105M and 105N, which suggested that when infocap becomes concentrated enough, it breeds or increases of itself, and that the benefits of major increases are felt not only within the local syston, but may propagate through wider and wider systons. So infocap clumping promotes infocap breeding, which leads to general benefits.

In addition, we have all the urges involving synenergy which were mentioned in MT106 -- and, of course, synenergy flows are viewed as the same thing as infocap flows in this suite of articles. Not only is synenergy the means by which infocap becomes redistributed, it is also the driving force behind the redistribution.

What it appears to come down to, when the contrasting implications of Propositions 110B and 110C are considered, is that any real syston situation is the result of a sometimes uneasy balance or stalemate between two opposing forces.

Proposition 110D*. The current state of any syston is a dynamic balance point between two forces, one acting to fragment it into smaller ones, and the other acting to merge it into larger ones

We have looked at these matters in particular reference to countries and states, but as usual the Proposition is intended to be general throughout the Matrix. Another factor to be borne in mind is that no syston is suspended in time, it will always be moving along the cycle of creation, development, maturity, decay, and death, and the dynamic balance point may be expected to change as this cycle is proceeded with.

In summary, the fate of a syston which buds off from a larger one appears to depend on how good its existing infrastructure and reserves of every sort are. Australia obviously had enough infocap to go it alone, and was able to 'leave home' with grace, though not without major inner adjustments. Western Australia could possibly be viable alone, though with a relatively small population it would be hard for it to be a true independent nation. The infocap content of the north of WA is so low that a new State there would be unsupportable today.

There is a way in which a syston can remain both small and independent. The infocap store upon which it depends for viability does not have to be self-owned, only available for use as needed. Smaller nations have always 'contracted out' part of their operations to larger ones.

Examples are in the many 'British protectorates' which once existed, small jurisdictions which made agreements with the British Government for armed protection in case of need. Diplomatic representation is often farmed out -- Australia used to have only one embassy in South America, in countries outside Venezuela it relied on other powers to represent it.

Even in 'internal' matters, the trend is growing to contracting out. In Mozambique, both the principal port and the country's railways are run under contract by the South African government. In a most interesting development in Indonesia, their Customs Service is run for them by a commercial Swiss company, which achieved "the apparently impossible: the end of corruption in Jakarta's port" [Reference 21]. In Queensland, many of the State's prisons are run by private contractors.

In the Iron Ore Country

Some years ago my wife had a contract with the iron ore producer, Mount Newman Mining, to write some computer software to monitor their electricity generation plant. This plant supplied not only the mine itself, but also the nearby town of Newman, where all the staff lived. Newman was, in fact, a company town, established in the middle of the bush to meet all the needs of the populace -- houses, roads, shops, parks, schools, the lot. It was a huge chunk of infocap for the company to find.

Most of the computer software writing was done in Perth, but my wife still needed to fly up to Newman on several occasions to install, test, and refine the software. The company booked her onto the ordinary commercial flights for these visits.

She observed that many of these flights were largely filled with company personnel -- the head office was in Perth, and there was a continual large flow of company staff back and forth. In retrospect, I can see that it was cheaper for the company this way -- most of the Perth infrastructure was already there and not a company responsibility, while all minesite activities they somehow had to finance themselves.

My wife asked the company management if it would not be cheaper for them to run their own planes -- the staff flow was clearly great enough to make this a viable proposition. The answer she was given was a good example of a Voluntary Rule. It was the company's policy not to do anything themselves which they could feasibly contract out to an independent organization at realistic cost.

This Rule went well beyond the airline matter. After all, many companies who are heavy users of aircraft would very justifiably see the airline business as very separate to their own and not an area they would want to get involved in. With Mount Newman, however, application of the Rule went deep within.

The company maintained large canteens to feed the shift workers, but these were serviced by an outside catering company under contract. Rubbish accumulating around the minesite was not picked up by company staff, but by an outside contractor. The company did not even pay its own accounts -- these were handled by a large international service company.

In MT terms, in fact, Mount Newman Mining was moving towards being a composite entity, rather than an isolated syston sitting entirely within its own skin. Even in its legal basis, it was not an ordinary incorporated company, but instead was a partnership between two or more major incorporated companies.

I suspect that this tendency towards 'privatization' or contracting-out of syston-management services is a very promising one, with enormous scope for expansion in the future. From the MT viewpoint it incorporates many major advantages. Included among these is the possibility of competition between tenderers for contracts (which inevitably leads to improved efficiency in conventional terms), and the separation of syston decision-making, the main function of government or executive, from implementation of those decisions.

Proposition 110E****. Systons are advantaged by contracting-out implementation of as many of their functions as possible

This proposition is a major one in Matrix analysis and design considerations, and will be harked back to repeatedly elsewhere in these articles.

The Balkanization of Massachusetts

There is nothing new in the idea of contracting-out syston management functions, even at the political level. Mention has already been made of the status of some smaller countries as 'protectorates', countries which had arranged with some larger foreign power to provide armed support in case of need.

In an article in the Boston Sunday Globe, Robert Preer [Reference 19] has examined the reactions of the many Massachusetts cities and town to continuing budget cuts. Preer states that the situation which he characterizes as 'the balkanization of Massachusetts' has been an enormous barrier to efficiency for decades. Now, under continuing budget pressures, the various municipalities are moving to more cost-effective practices.

Most of the moves involve regionalization or integration of services remaining under nominal municipality control, or privatization. The tiny 'balkanized' entities are retaining their identities but achieving cost efficiencies by ceasing to attempt to carry out all functions within their own tight syston skins. Instead these functions are run as joint services with other municipalities, or are contracted out to private organizations.

These functions cover a lot a ground -- school systems, building inspection services, fire departments, police, accounting, purchasing, rubbish disposal, sewage treatment, even hospital management.

From the MT viewpoint, these moves, which have generally been very effective, are all in the same class of contracted-out functions. That is, something like rubbish disposal is still contracted-out, whether it is handled by a private company, or by a consortium or arrangement under the joint control of a number of municipalities.

It might be assumed that these moves merely take the Massachusetts arrangements closer to those in other parts of the world where they are already fully integrated. In Western Australia, for example, all public schools are under the control of the state's Ministry of Education, and individual municipalities have no say in their running. But there is a fundamental difference.

Contracting-out arrangements can always be altered, can always be switched to another, anticipatedly more effective contractor. Some municipalities have found that they can do some functions themselves more cheaply than any private contractor on offer -- and cheapness or cost-efficiency is not always what the syston actually wanted, it might well be better off rather tidier at a slight increase in cost. But when the new improved offer comes along, it can be tried and adopted easily.

It really does not matter what proportion of municipality-syston functions are contracted out in a particular case, at a particular time. The important thing is that all the contracts or arrangements will be renewed or reviewed at some time, and then advantage can be taken of whatever competition is offered at that time. The municipality-syston retains and enhances its identity not by doing things, but by authorizing them to be paid for at the appropriate times.

In Britain, most schools are under the control of the individual county authorities. Britain is quite densely-packed, and it is quite normal for a teacher to live in one county and travel across some nominal administrative boundary to work for a different county authority seen as offering better pay or conditions. So competition has some effect.

In Western Australia, where the nearest competing education authority may be 2000 kilometres away, there is no such competition.

I believe that there may well be both scope and advantage for contracting-out syston functions at much higher levels, at state and country levels. For the moment, we might might just note that it is a feature of the MT apparatus which we have developed, that it is general over any syston levels.

Syston Expansions and Mergers

So far, we have used country examples to look at the devolvement of new systons from parts of larger ones. We should look also at the expansion of existing systons and the formation of new systons through merger. In practice, these have been two totally different matters, both in the mechanics of the processes involved, and in their longer-term success or failure.

When it comes to countries, the straight merger of two or three comparable entities does not have a good historical record of success. In modern times, we have seen the formation and rapid fall-apart of entities such as the United Arab Republic, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and Malaysia with Singapore.

Mergers with larger numbers of comparable constituents seem to have more chance of survival. This applies to the Commonwealth of Australia, and even more so to the original formation of the United States of America. Perhaps in these cases, and in others going further back in history (Germany, Italy, etc.), the number of players is great enough to prevent any one of them assuming a dominant and hence controlling role.

Expansion of existing systons is quite different. In this case, the important pre-conditions for success seem to be an established, well-functioning single syston which is able to offer the prospective new member equal treatment with existing systels ('integration of services'), real possibilities of benefit through integration, and acceptance of diversity in what the new entrant brings in.

This seems to apply whether the expansion of the major syston is by conquest, as with the Roman Empire, by peaceful aggregation, as with the later US states, or by a mixture, as with the British Empire. All these successful expanding systons offered or offer the three preconditions mentioned. Attempts by large systons to expand through conquest, with the creation of 'under-systels' who do not have full equality, or at least the prospect of it, seem destined to split apart for one reason or another before very long.

Proposition 110F*. Successful expansion of a syston by absorption of out-syston members relies on common and equal availability of syston services and also the acceptance of diversity in introduced out-syston characteristics.

If you look at an area where syston expansion is likely to occur, it is instructive to consider how far these conditions are currently being met. Puerto Rico, for example, has the possibility of becoming one of the US states in the future. Already it uses US currency, the US Postal Service, and is effectively subject to many US laws and rules. But, although many among its population are truly bilingual, there are still many who speak only Spanish.

Language differences represent one of the greatest infocap barriers in the world. We will see repeated instances of this later. Maintenance of more than one working language is a huge overhead for any syston government. In the case of Puerto Rico, the MT conclusion would be that integration within the USA would most likely be relatively unsuccessful unless the working language of the bulk of the population of the island had become English.

It is the same language-difference problem which currently seems likely to tear Canada apart, with French-speaking Quebec going its own way. This might well be the best way, both for Quebec and the rest of Canada. Clearly governments can cope with more than one official language, but the cost in syston management, in supply of syston services in more than language, is considerable. In the long run, a syston government which is even 5% less efficient because of language overheads will inevitably lose out.

Proposition 110G*. Systons needing more than one language to function are at a disadvantage compared with single-language systons

Clearly this Proposition is at odds with earlier ones which declaim the advantages of infocap diversity, among which language diversity is a major example. The distinction seems to come at the point where more than one language is needed to actually function properly. The conclusion is that an entity which offers syston-wide services in a single language, but has the capability of handling as many other languages as possible, will be in the best position.

Of course, in these examples, we have considered only natural human languages. In the case of systons other than countries, the languages may be synthetic, or non-speech based, as with the dance signals of a bee colony, or the chemical signals in an ant nest.

Trying to Find Out Where France Is

Where is France? Why, it is on the continent of Europe, to the southeast of Britain, right? Think again.

Well, it is true that most of France is there where you expect it. But quite a lot of other bits aren't. If you send a letter to someone in Point-a-Pitre, France 97110, you can do so without even realizing that it will end up at Guadeloupe in the Caribbean. Similarly for Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. And there is even a tiny bit of France itself on the North American continent -- Saint-Pierre et Miquelon (France 97500), just off the English-speaking Canadian province of Newfoundland.

The thing is, all these places are run from 'the mainland', officially known as 'metropolitan France', just like any other part of the country. The teachers in the schools are appointed and paid by the same Ministry of Education which does the job for the Paris hinterlands, these outliers vote for the same parliament as anybody else in France, and so on. Of course, everything is done in French -- would you expect anything else?

In fact, France is an interesting example of a 'distributed syston'. This is unusual for a country, but common with some societies or associations. Another relatively new development in true distributed systons, and a very important one, is that of the multinational company.

A Tropical Paradise

There are parallels elsewhere. Some 1200 km southwest of Jakarta in Indonesia lie the Cocos Islands. I touched down there in 1964 on a migration flight to Australia. They were the archetypal tropical islands, with waving palms and splendid beaches, remote and almost untouched. The airstrip was not in regular commercial use, and I remember that staff of the local meteorological station were kind enough to set out fruit drinks on trestle tables for the plane passengers.

With the march of Progress, these magic islands are now part of Australia -- postcode WA 6799. All the usual infrastructure, such as education and health services, roads and communications, and electoral facilities, are provided just as for anywhere else in Australia.

It was not always thus. Australia actually bought the Islands from John Clunies-Ross, as recently as in the 1970's. They had been given to one of his ancestors, 'in perpetuity', by Queen Victoria, for services rendered.

Styled 'the King of the Cocos', the ruling Clunies-Ross scion ran the place like a feudal estate. The inhabitants, almost all of whom were of Malay stock, followed the Muslim religion, spoke principally Malay, and used plastic tokens for currency. This currency could be spent only at the Island Store owned by the rulers.

Of course all this was seen as Bad. Although the islanders' health and welfare was looked after well by the Clunies-Ross family, they lacked political freedom. Eventually the Will to Order prevailed, and this minor messy situation was cleaned up by the purchase referred to, leaving the islanders free to move to 'elsewhere in Australia', where they had the opportunity to live almost as displaced persons in a much less pleasant climate. But two generations on, their children will be integrated.

Another Tropical Place

The Cocos Islands were small, their population few, and it was really no burden for Australia to take the place on and give it all the benefits of the Australian Way of Life. We had the infocap reserves to do this without having any material effect on the general population.

With another Australian Territory, however, the position was very different. Only a few hundred metres off the south coast of Papua New Guinea lies Kussa Island. Kussa Island is part of the State of Queensland, on the Australian side of the border, which almost touches Papua New Guinea itself.

In the 1960's, Australia was still governing the two territories of Papua and New Guinea under various international mandates. Generally speaking, the inhabitants were satisfied with Australian administration, but the era of colonies was over, and it was time to make a break. Against their will, PNG was made independent.

Now possibly Australia could have afforded to maintain the economic costs of providing infrastructure services to PNG. Australia still continues to provide economic aid to them. But with its untamed jungle, precipitous terrain, and primitive peoples, there would have been no way that Australia could ever have taken PNG on as additional Australian states -- the infocap deficiency was so enormous that the concept was not even considered.

In ways such as this, infocap and synenergy stores and patterns determine world events. The forces which cause systons to split or merge, the synenergy barriers which are raised or lowered to facilitate or enable these changes, give the clue to what will or may happen. Let us now look more closely at these barriers (MT111).

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To make a comment on this article, please click HERE.

(Full list of references at MTRefs)

[19]. Robert Preer. Innovation, silver lining in the economic cloud. Boston Sunday Globe/ 1992 Jan 26 p66.
[21]. Suharto gambles on logging to save trees. The West Australian/ 1991 Sep 7 p12.

Go to the "Matrix Thinking: How Society Works" Home Page

Versions 1.0-1.2, printed editions (Matrix Thinking Book I, BFC Press, Australia, 1992-1997)
Version 2.0, 2004, PDFs etc on World Wide Web (http://www.aoi.com.au/matrix/MT.htm)
Version 3.0, 2014 Jul 6-23, Reworked from chapter 110 of "Matrix Thinking" as one article in a suite on the World Wide Web.