The Framework of refers to categories that emerge from our nature as aware psychosocial beings with biological needs.
We all recognize that we belong to more than one type of community/territory. But the immediate reaction to the idea of standardized social territories is disbelief. Many different sizes and sorts of community are regarded as «natural». The variety of political arrangements around the world is enormous.
Experience suggests that the present Framework brings useful order to any serious discussion. However, it does not propose any fixed arrangement in any particular country. In fact, any actual arrangement can be no more than an exemplification of ideas and issues within the Framework.
One Thing is Certain: The present clarification of the differences between social territories that feel right to people, and service territories that are efficient for organizations, deserves wider recognition. Read again.
Q: Does the Framework of natural political territories match what exists in world politics?
Direct matches or perfect representation are not to be expected. What exists should be differing examples of the realization of the Framework.
However, although there is enormous variety in the way nations organize government of their territory, the Framework is readily recognized in the arrangements.
Physical reality is always messy. The rivers, oil-fields, fertile soils, and passable terrain are where they are, not where we might like them to be. Societies and borders adapt to the geography as best they can. They adapt with an unconscious mindset related to the Framework of political territories just outlined.
It is possible to link the evolution of political organization with the evolution of man and society.
Q: People and their societies are never neat and tidy so how can this neat and tidy Framework be applied?
Social community boundaries are messy and problematic in most places. You can expect controversy, often intense, over where the boundaries should be placed and how services might be provided.
In making decisions in such an atmosphere, it is essential to work to a framework of general principles that can command general support. This THEE-Framework is self-explanatory. Its principles are easily acceptable and can be used to constrain and channel thinking about particular social territories—without specifying or demanding a particular boundary or governmental structure.
The decision will always be a matter of fine social judgement based on proper local consultation.The end result is often a compromise. Even then, THEE principles can indicate (predict) problems and issues that will emerge and have to be accepted and managed.
Q: Is there an example of the use of the Framework?
This Framework, like most THEE Frameworks, was developed to deal with an actual serious problem in the UK. Applying the analysis there contributed to the reorganization of local government that was mandated via the Local Government Act of 1992. The Act enabled creation of «unitary authorities» to replace a two-tier system.
The problem in England, Scotland and Wales was the common, but not universal, division ofinto two territorial tiers (larger «Counties» or «Shires» and smaller «Districts»). Responsibilities were allocated for traditional reasons and also according to whether the service required a larger or smaller catchment. In general, the 1974 reorganization that created the tiers had given service efficiency priority over communal realities. Some responsibilities (e.g. recreation, culture) existed at both tiers. Duplicate sets of politicians, duplicate elections and duplicate administrations were a sure recipe for fights over responsiveness to the needs of the same constituents. It led to inordinate confusion, tensions, inefficiency and waste.
Community changes are never easy: there are a lot of vested interests. However, by 1996, unitary councils had come into being throughout Scotland and Wales. In England, with most created in the 1990s and a further tranche in 2009, they have been established in many (but not all) parts of the country.
More UK Experience: It was not possible to just abolish one tier. Some Counties were natural communities (e.g. Cornwall), whereas other Counties (e.g. Devon) contained several natural communities. Some Districts were natural communities (e.g. Bristol), whereas others were artificial (e.g. Wansdyke).
Q: Is size a factor in defining a political territory?
is fixed and unchangeable (until we colonize the moon and other planets).
can cover just a few countries, but the size often increases.
have sizes based on geographic, historical and ethnic factors. Geographically, Iceland is small and Australia is vast. In population terms, Iceland is tiny, Australia is small, and India is vast.
The difficulty with being very small (e.g. Monaco, Liechtenstein) is that the cost of running a national government is far too high. Many such countries realistically outsource their foreign policy and monetary policy to a friendly and vastly larger neighbouring nation-state.
are highly varied and many could well become if things worked out that way. California, for example, is a big US state, has 37 million people, a distinctive culture and an economy that was the 8th largest in the world (by GDP) in 2009.
contain most services and therefore the optimum size in terms of people might be between 100,000 and 250,000. Many local governments run towns or districts with far smaller populations. Physical territory must not be so large or so awkward as to prevent travel across it within, say, a couple of hours. If small towns can collaborate with each other, then they can ensure appropriate services are provided. Often there is a jealousy or rivalry that prevents efficient cooperation.
In large areas, especially with difficult terrain separating communities, themight contain fewer people, perhaps no more than 3000-4000, and perhaps with a distinct dialect or patois.
Smallness has limits: some communes in Switzerland have populations under 1000, which is more like aAt this size, it becomes very difficult to find people willing and capable to take political responsibility and do the work required.
probably commence around 20 households and might comfortably cover up to 250.
contain from 1 person to up to about 10 in an extended family or with friends sharing. If the household is a fenced compound of several buildings, then up to 20 or more family members might live together.
Analyse your own country using the ; and see a brief analysis of the UK.
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010