Pushing Off From Pommyland : Syston Budding and Merger [MT110]
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
(Full list of references at MTRefs)
. Robert Preer. Innovation, silver lining in the economic cloud. Boston Sunday Globe/ 1992 Jan 26 p66.
. Suharto gambles on logging to save trees. The West Australian/ 1991 Sep 7 p12.
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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.