Measuring purchasing power in support of policy

With the rising popularity of agriculture and alternative energy sources in territorial micronations, as they strive for self-sufficiency, a better statistical measure of the related economies becomes important to bureaucrats and politicians alike. At present, save for basic budgetary or financial statements, most of the micronational world’s territorial economies, while burgeoning in potential, lack useful statistical data in support of policy planning.

Often very limited in nature, the budgets of a micronational government can be strained to meet the expectations of its citizens, as well as its leaders. It is partly for this reason that some territorial micronations embark on programmes to reduce reliance on macronational sources of goods or services by undertaking such self-sustaining activities as growing local food crops or installing alternative sources of electricity, such as solar panels.

These activities in theory have the ability to reduce the cost of imports for the micronation; however, without any useful statistical data available, it is difficult to objectively measure the impact of such activities on the purchasing power of the micronation or its population. That is, does the savings related to these local offsetting activities have any significant effect on the long-term costs carried by the micronation’s citizens or government? Are the programmes viable economically, or are they simply beneficial from an ethical or political standpoint?

The fundamental way to collect data in support of answer that question is through the creation of a simple Consumer Price Index within the micronation, based on the concept of a “Basket of Goods”. Not as comprehensive as that used by macronations, the micronational Basket of Goods must be lean in its contents, and the related cost data for each item within the Basket must be collected at regular intervals, such as quarterly (for example). It must be structured such that it contains contents that are regularly consumed by the micronation’s citizens.

The Basket must in its most fundamental state include goods that the residents of territorial micronations commonly purchase and consume, regardless of whether they are locally produced or otherwise imported. It can essentially be thought of as the value of one’s monthly grocery and utility bill, though the contents of the Basket can be expanded as necessary to meet uniquely local circumstances (perhaps a local population has a particular fondness for a specific food crop that other micronations do not, for example).

The Basket must also not contain so many items that inputting the related cost data into the tracking survey becomes burdensome, so as to detract participation, as it is important that the citizen maintain participation across reporting periods for accuracy and usefulness in policy planning. The level of complexity of a macronational Consumer Price Index need not be religiously mimicked, and the use of free services such as Google Forms and Google Sheets can facilitate ease of data collection. By sticking to the basics, one arguably gets only a basic snapshot of purchasing power, but that basic snapshot is nonetheless a ten-fold improvement on the current state of data in micronational economics.

Beyond tracking individual and overall costs for its contents, how can the Basket benefit a micronation’s government? Let’s look at a scenario: in quarters where an item in the Basket was locally produced (such as lettuce, for example), for simplicity, it could be assumed to have no cost. In quarters where one had to buy (import) lettuce as it was out of growing season or locally produced stock exhausted, the cost to purchase it would be recorded in the Basket.

The overall cost of the Basket would then be tracked to determine what, if any, impact the “no cost” instance had on purchasing power for the micronation’s citizens. If growing lettuce locally had no measurable or useful impact on the Basket’s overall inflation, that finding might support the micronation’s government redirecting agricultural efforts to other crops that would have more of an impact.

To be meaningful using the “no cost” assumption, the basket must include imported goods, which is reasonable given that few, if any, territorial micronations produce all the goods that are consumed locally. By including such imported goods, one can see how local production compensates, or doesn’t, for the inflationary costs associated with imports.

Arguably the system described above is noticeably rudimentary and certainly not something that an economics professor would consider adequate, but it is a means of creating a simple Consumer Price Index that is easy to maintain for any micronation, and one which can be used as a basis for further development and refinement by those micronations that desire a more complex snapshot of their citizens’ purchasing power. Most importantly, it provides a starting point by which a government can collect useful economic data in support of its micronation’s development.

[table]
A basic example Basket of Goods (track the cost of each item and calculate the sum):
x1 loaf of fresh white bread
x1 litre of milk;
x12 eggs;
x1 kilogram of tomatoes;
x1 head of lettuce;
x1 kilogram of potatoes;
x1 kilogram of onions;
Total unit cost of 1 kwh of electricity (total billed amount divided by total kwh consumed.)
[/table]

Measuring purchasing power in support of policy

Making micronational universities relevant

OPINION – The ultimate goal of a micronational university must be to build a better micronation and, in doing so, support its longevity. This requires that it develop local skills and knowledge that help focus the population toward the needs of the micronation, its customs and its environment. Losing sight of this primary purpose will ultimately make the micronational university ineffectual, causing it to eventually languish into oblivion, and robbing its micronation of important local education.

There are three key considerations one must be mindful of in developing a micronational university: it must be aware of its purpose, it must be relevant, and it must not limit access.

Purposefully – and practically – aware

A micronational university will never have the necessary resources – financial or otherwise – to compete with macronational institutions, even if the micronational university somehow accrues the necessary resources to achieve macronational accreditation. There simply is not enough of a population within the micronational community to support such an endeavour, and to focus on achieving such an end will only divert limited resources away from making the educational institution a practical benefit to your micronation.

A micronational university must set its purpose and structure its course offerings with the realization that it is complementary to the macronational educational system. Regurgitating basic skills that micronationalists already learn macronationally, like English or Pure Maths, is senseless as is focusing on highly complex subject areas like engineering or pharmaceuticals that no micronational university’s budget or teaching resources can hope to support the proper and safe instruction thereof.

Make it relevant to your micronation

A micronation’s universities, or other educational institutions, need to support its internal development by offering specialized courses that contributes to the building of a practical local skill base. For example, it can offer courses to help those individuals who enter government within the micronation, either as a civil servant or a minister, learn the local governing processes and procedural jargon, while supporting the development of a specialized skillset, such as legislative or policy writing. It can also offer courses on diplomatic protocols, constructed languages, or micronational history (in general or specific to the micronation itself, or its allied micronations – what a great way to build on those diplomatic protocols just learned when one is made ambassador to an ally!)

That is not to say that taking material from macronational courses is forbidden; but the micronational university that does must adapt such material to the needs or policies of the micronation specifically, as opposed to simply rehashing the same material the instructor learned macronationally. For example, a course in law will undoubtedly have to include background information on Common Law or Civil Law, whichever inspires the micronation’s legal system; but, the bulk of the course content should specifically focus on local examples of law and practices within the micronation rather than discuss the peculiarities of, say, the Common Law practices of the United States versus those of Britain.

Such a requirement is also likely to play out particularly in technical courses – for example, for the micronation that wishes to teach its citizens home gardening, it will have to utilize macronational course material, but the university can teach such techniques with respect to a specific climate of, or crop grown within, the micronation rather than provide a wide-ranging generalized course that loses focus and thus becomes less effective in fostering local development.

Access-limited means limited usefulness

Remember that the primary purpose of founding a university in your micronation is to support its ongoing development, not to act as a revenue stream – major or minor – for your micronation. In a small community where most participants are in their teens or early-twenties, money is always less than freely accessible, as incomes are limited, especially for those who have moved out of their parents’ house.

A micronational university should not charge cold, hard cash as tuition as this will limit access to a sizeable portion of the population – as a result, you cheat your micronation’s internal development by preventing citizens from acquiring relevant skills. Further, the degree that the micronational university grants is worthless paper (as it is macronationally unaccredited, and your micronation is unlikely to be a real country anytime soon), so charging money for it is foolhardy at best. Such a practice will only deter students when in a small community, such as micronationalism, the proliferation of knowledge and skill is of utmost importance.

The provision of courses must allow them be done in such a way that there is open access. A learning management system is the best course of option, as it provides a secure, convenient, environment for registering for courses, reading the associated material, and undertaking any desired examinations. A large number of micronations make use of WordPress for their national websites, and the author has personally found the Namaste! LMS plugin, with its complementary Watu testing plugin, to be very handy – and free – tools. There are many other LMS (learning management systems) available through those with full-service hosting packages, such as Moodle.

Not only will such systems make learning enjoyable for the student, they also reduce the burden that micronational universities have on a micronation’s limited resources, as once the course is programmed into the system the first time, it will not have to be “put together” for future offerings, which reduces the dependency on the instructor being available. As such, long-term access is improved by embracing this technology over less “advanced” methods of emailing course material on predefined schedule.

Making micronational universities relevant

One-on-One: Stellus Yastreb

For those readers who are unacquainted with you, would you please give us some background as to how you came to participate in micronationalism and what it is you do in the community today?

A stupidly long time ago, there was a communistic micronation called the PRNSE (People’s Republic of the New Soviet Empire). It existed in a more volatile age when micronations were created as flimsy pretexts for attacking other micronations, and wiping out forums with Denial of Service attacks was considered good clean fun. The PRNSE, or more accurately certain individuals who happened to be closely associated with it, engaged in its fair share of various micronational dark arts under the leadership of, among others, an enigmatic individual known as Yuri – one of those high archons of micronationalism of the same blisteringly unassailable calibre as Ras Diga, Scott Alexander and Ardashir Khan to name but three. I didn’t cross paths with him until the after PRNSE’s demise, but the encounter remains important as he is the one most responsible for luring me into the eternal pixelated maelstrom that is the Micras Sector.

I arrived among the PRNSE folks in late 2002, sometime after its grand poohbah Siberian Fox span it off into a largely non-micronational Soviet-themed social debating type community (Soviet-Empire). However some of their regulars still kept a hand in the old micronations game full-time, and I guess it was inevitable that I was recruited for their latest project in that sphere, a largely forgotten place called Noviykrazniystan. Aside from the aforementioned Yuri, the intermicronational master criminal known as William Jesmer had a large hand in dragging me into this business. What neither of them told me at the time was that they were some of the most reviled people on Micras on account of their various misdeeds, and that by mere association with them I would be treated with vitriolic contempt by pretty much everybody for no discernible reason. It was a hard upbringing, to be sure.

Between then and now I was mostly involved in Baracão, Yuri’s USSR reboot and its better-known spinoff Novaya Zemlya, and of course Shireroth. I have kept an intermittent presence in the latter since the back end of 2003, and over time it has become my home. My current roles in Shireroth are limited as I’ve deliberately avoided high positions in anticipation of real-life time constraints this summer. My two last big roles were Imperial Steward (second-in-command) and Minister of the Exterior. I do however maintain the rule of Lunaris, a county in Goldshire which is quite convenient for expressing my floridly effeminate side without attracting too much ridicule. I love that place like the very stars themselves, and it makes a good retreat for when Shirerithian politics are getting too hot.

Congratulations on winning the RIMA Award for Excellence in Micronational History during the 2014 FNORD Awards for your work on documenting a historical timeline of Shireroth’s Duchy of Goldshire. Should we expect any new history-related projects from you this year in an attempt to make it two awards in a row?

Shireroth’s Kaiser has put out a renewed call for updates to the ShireWiki, particularly the legal records which are abominably outdated. I may work on that. I have also been tasked with more medium-term recordkeeping by my appointment as Imperial Malarborist. This is a formalisation of the fact that I have been unofficially updating the Malarbor news box for the reigns of several Kaisers now. I seem to step into these roles as an emergency measure and end up being stuck with them. I also made that mistake by being the last Minister of Trade to run the Imperial finances with some semblance of function, prompting incessant calls for my resumption of that role ever since …. I guess that makes me some kind of sucker.

Regarding the longer-term histories, although I am able to inject small nuggets of knowledge to suit the demands of the day (usually the heartily Shirerithian exercise of berating my peers for their historical ignorance), sitting down and actually writing a comprehensive weighty tome on anything requires far more time than I have available at this point. I may try to incorporate some history into another cultural work like a theatrical play at some point, killing two birds with one stone – but the fact is that my Goldshirian timeline, although badly needed, was a rather rushed affair. My FNORD for it was only awarded due to an embarrassing absence of alternatives. Certainly when I look at the other winners of the RIMA over the years, it doesn’t feel right to be counted among them.

Speaking of Goldshire, you have played a central role in the development of its identity since your return from your micronational hiatus in 2013 and just a couple of weeks ago you were made its Ducal Steward. Would you tell us more about what motivates your dedication to Goldshire, where you want to see it developmentally in the next couple of years and what, if any, immediate projects you have planned to aid that development?

Goldshire is a strange one. All the other “traditional Duchies” of Shireroth have had a famous identity since almost day one. Brookshire was the mean and moody realm of the God of Death, Yardistan was the rebellious BO0O0//ist basket case, Elwynn was the beacon of social liberalism and political histrionics, and Kildare had all the trappings of the old Apollonia that it once was (and since its secession, kinda is again). But Goldshire? What is Goldshire? It never really had an identity for a long time, possibly because it was historically inactive and constantly dissolved and absorbed into other territories.

When I came back to Goldshire, I decided simply to promote an image of the place based on the very few things that were associated with it, in combination with whatever my deranged mind decided was best to fill the gaps. The rurality of the place is the main thing, as typified by the rolling green hills of Ransenar. It has a slightly supernatural streak thanks to the fey folk of Ynnraile and the shape shifting witchery of early Lunaris, as well as the more recent dose of arcane mystery currently running through Suthergold. The image of the modern Goldshirian as an ale-sodden drunkard, on reflection, is entirely of my own making but people seem to enjoy it. It probably helps that I grew up in rural England, and that environment is arguably infused into Goldshire as much as urban Sweden drips into Elwynn, for instance. To his credit I think Ryker, the current Duke, has picked up the Goldshirian identity ball in a fashion more competent and confident than I ever dared to hope.

There is something quite timeless about Goldshire, so the idea of plans for its future aren’t too important beyond building on an identity which, at last, seems to have taken root. The same, but better and prettier would be the preferable objective. The rest will take care of itself.

As for what motivated me, I guess I saw a gap that needed filling. For a long time Shireroth has been dominated either by the bitterness of smouldering malcontents, or the manufactured scandals of mischievous sociopaths. I felt Shireroth needed a place where you can leave all that behind and enjoy the simple pleasures for a while, a peaceful and pretty place which actually gives the fighter types something to fight for. Some soft filling in the hard shell. That’s what Goldshire is.

Let’s keep with the same theme of development, though let’s look beyond the state-level focus of the last question. What three things would you say to someone to help guide their goal of creating a successful micronation?

1. Humility. This is probably the hardest one, as micronationalism is and always will be a game of egos. People bursting onto the scene with yet another absolutist vision are as common as dirt, and they don’t impress anybody. Feel free to practice said vision in a one-man micronation, but don’t expect anyone to take any notice. If you want your work to be taken seriously, treat it for what it is – a small island of curiosity in a sea of far more established institutions, customs and philosophies. If people like it, you will get their respect. But the more you tell them to like it, the more you shove it in their faces, then the more you will be ignored or, in extreme cases, permanently shunned. Other micronationalists aren’t pawns on your chessboard, and resent being treated as such. They’re free-thinking, creative individuals just like you, and you need to accept the possibility that their goals, while different from yours, are no less legitimate.

2. Teamwork. It is all too easy to make your creative domain into an island whose references are entirely internal. This can happen with a micronation, a province of a micronation, a religion, a character or family of characters, anything. Many such bubbles are quite magnificent and have had a lot of work put into them, but if you want your work to be appreciated by anybody but yourself it is essential that you tie it in with the work of others. Letting your neighbours see a nod to themselves in your work, even if it is quite tenuous, is a gateway to public acclaim. Study the geography of your micronational patch hard, get to know your neighbours, and most importantly work WITH them, not AT them. Allow their creative domain to bleed a little into yours, and if you do a good job of it they’ll return the favour. You can achieve far better things as part of a greater whole than you can alone; but as the above point demonstrates, it requires you to put away your ego to an extent.

3. Culture first. Micronationalism and Political Simulation have different names, for good reason. The former encompasses far more than the latter. There are micronations out there with constitutions numbering in the hundreds of articles, a well-oiled legislature and perfectly meritocratic executives; but aside from a flag and a forum background, it is often hard to visualise the kind of people in whose name all these laws and edicts and treaties are made. What is their national dress? Is their poetry any good? In what fields of academia do they excel? What languages, dialects or in-jokes are floating around the place? They have all this government but nothing to govern. It has always been my conviction that the machinery of state should start minimal, and develop organically over time by precipitating from an established cultural foundation. Otherwise it’s invariably a cut-and-paste job from some real world nation of the type that a great many micronationalists start the hobby to escape. A lot of people, while complimenting my own cultural work, have lamented that their own attempts are not up to the same calibre and that it demotivates them from trying at all. But ultimately, I don’t judge if somebody’s cultural work is a little rough around the edges. That’s a cosmetic irrelevance. It’s the concept that counts and as long as somebody displays that, I’m not going to laugh at their delivery.

You took particular offence to Kaiser Ayreon III’s recent announcement of his vision that “Shireroth can rise again, become great,” noting your opinion that the micronation has never fallen from greatness. What do you feel makes Shireroth great?

Shireroth is great because it survives. It literally needs no other qualifier. A micronation does not maintain an unbroken sovereign rule stretching back to the days of Tymaria by pure accident. Yet there seems to be this terrible idea that the only legitimate measure of Shirerithian greatness is the amount of territory it controls on a map, and that every loss of said territory is matched by an equal loss in national prestige. I would advise those feebleminded souls afflicted by this delusion to refamiliarise themselves the Imperial Shirerithian motto: Tempus In Parte Nostrum Est. Shirerithian greatness is not measured in land, it is measured in time. Every second that Shireroth survives, in defiance of all the jealous schemers who have tried to bring it down over the years, makes it greater.

Of particular irritation to me is the perception that the recent secession of Kildare (now the Apollonian Confederation) was somehow a defeat for Shireroth, yet it ought to go down as one of Shireroth’s greatest victories. Until now, the realm was parasitised by a cabal of certain individuals orbiting the Bastion IRC channel who essentially used Shireroth as their plaything, completely assured that no matter what happened in the realm, its general direction could be controlled at will by the strategic injection of scandals and rebellions and other such disasters.

The secession of the eastern territories marked a sudden change in that state of affairs whereby those individuals responsible succumbed to their own complacency. It has become public knowledge that their plan was to stage a temporary secession, in order to hold Shireroth hostage and essentially take it over by placing ridiculous conditions on their re-entry. The idea was built upon an incredibly outdated image of a Shireroth that would do literally anything to keep hold of territory. As history has shown, this strategy quite spectacularly failed, and the amusing amount of impotent rage (as well as a pathetic attempt to double down by repeating the process in Aryasht), which subsequently poured forth from the east, reminded me of the archetypical Prussian general who cannot comprehend that the actions of the enemy have diverged from the predictions in his supposedly infallible battle plans.

What actually happened was that the more strategic minds in Shireroth’s Imperial Advisory Council realised exactly what was going on and knew that the only hope for Shireroth’s survival lay in allowing and formalising the secession, thereby calling the Apollonians’ bluff and making their temporary release of grip from Shireroth a permanent arrangement. Suddenly the Apollonians found they had gone from being the prime influence on all Shirerithian decision-making to having no influence in the realm whatsoever. It was a delicious victory, not least because moves are now afoot to reform the Imperial Charter so that opportunistic psychopaths no longer have the chance to hold such knives to the Shirerithian throat. They had one chance, they blew it, the lizard shed its tail, and Shireroth got away to live another day. History, in its dry manner, will record the event as the secession of Kildare from Shireroth – yet morally, spiritually, it was far more akin to the secession of Shireroth from Kildare. I think in time Shireroth’s actions in the matter will be completely vindicated, and this subtle aspect of its greatness will get more recognition.

Your Shirerithian compatriot, Malliki Nur Pinito, has used the recent controversy over the inactivity tax proposed by SCUE to reignite his criticism of micronational economics as an abject failure. Are you of the same opinion when it comes to this matter or do you see some use and hope for a micronational economy?

I can only speak for my own motivations during the times when I participated in micronational economics with any degree of enthusiasm. One was in Novaya Zemlya, which used the Bottle of Vodka (BoV) as currency and controlled inflation by imposing periodical targets for the consumption of said vodka by the citizenry. Wealthy individuals were forced to charitably redistribute their own funds, as the amount of vodka they were ordered to drink simply could not be survived by a single human body. It was good fun, and I think micronational economies need a little fun if they are to be seen as something other than mechanistic number crunching.

The other time I got involved in economics was in Shireroth, during the time when one’s bank balance lent strength to one’s vote in the Landsraad. I often catch myself admiring that system as a decent example of economic Motivation without Compulsion, but then I remember that if it were implemented today, Giles Melang would be Eternal Kaiser. For this reason alone, I now consider it a very bad idea.

I think in the long run, micronational economics is doomed to be a fringe pursuit. I don’t consider it to be a bad thing either. If people treated it more like a casino to play in at their leisure, rather than an faceless, nigh-on omnipotent demiurge exerting an unnecessary stranglehold on every walk of civilised life (another real-world feature that some arguably come to micronations to avoid), I think all the fussing about its role and future would be unnecessary.

Looking back over your years of participation, how do you think the Micras community has evolved, or devolved, since you joined in 2003? If you were to envision the community five years from now, what would you expect it to be?

There’s a lot more formality and professionalism than there once was – a simple consequence of the rising age of Micrasians, and the resultant maturing influences of learning to speak English properly and/or entering the workplace having a knock-on effect in their micronational work. It does mean the sector has sacrificed some of the chaotic silliness that once made it fun, but it also means our cultural work is far richer, and our political work far more masterful and statesmanlike than it was when we were all sixteen years old. The bar is set a lot higher.

In five years from now, if current trends in social media and consumer tech continue, the embarrassingly obsolescent medium of the discussion forum will have become so pronounced as to be cringe-worthy (though one could argue that is a purely academic point as we’re already swanning around pretending to be rulers of imaginary kingdoms with an obsessive level of detail, which was never entirely fashionable). I think in this respect the MicroWiki nations, for all the ridicule they get from we forum-goers, are somewhat ahead of the curve by virtue of occupying a medium that, as the years pass, will become increasingly relatable to the casual visitor while old-fashioned forums become less so. Which forum nations make the jump to more trendy media and keep some relationship with the wider public, and which stubbornly cling to what they know as their membership calcifies into isolated cliques, will be an interesting thing to learn five years from now.

If your micronational participation ended today, what would be the one thing you’d consider to be each of your greatest contribution, your most annoying failure, your fondest memory, and your biggest regret?

My greatest contribution is probably something which doesn’t bear my obvious signature: one extra vote in Shireroth’s Landsraad, one notable voice in Shireroth’s Imperial Advisory Council, one inspirational observation in a storyline, something subtle without which certain achievements might not have come to pass. I often wonder what state Shireroth would be in by now if I had never returned in 2013. Goldshire wouldn’t exist, to be sure. Perhaps that’s my greatest contribution – keeping Goldshire alive thereby enabling the Kaiser Redquill era in which Goldshire rose to become Shirerithian hegemon. That arguably assured the survival of Shireroth itself, but perhaps I’m blowing my own trumpet a little too hard. Ultimately my greatest contribution is for my peers to judge.

My most annoying failure was my cack-handed attempt to reform Shireroth’s Duchy of Brookshire during my brief Dukedom there, by a series of comitial amalgamations. It cast a shadow over my entire tenure of that office, and my (in hindsight justified) cultural smack down by one Erik Metzler eventually drove me to quit micronations for five years from 2008-2013. Luckily I think only Malliki remembers all that crap, so I don’t get reminded of it too often.

My fondest memory is the short but beautiful existence of the Soviet Republic of Novaya Zemlya. I worked with some quite frankly amazing people there and I’ll never forget them or what we created together. For a time it was the purest manifestation of the three goals of micronational success I gave in your previous question, although a humility breakdown on my part caused the eventual downfall of the place. Speaking of which, my biggest micronational regret was pulling the plug on it in the unceremonious way that I did. My fellow Zemlyans deserved better than that.

Any final thoughts?

Tolstoy famously observed that hierarchical power and privilege are largely illusory, and that each man is as much enslaved to the bubbling, frothing processes of history as any other. We are all equals before the Gods, and we all taste their favour and wrath in equal measure. Yet, as Tolstoy also observed, to act in recognition of this process instantly makes you a heretic among your peers, whose egos are so invested in the idea of their own power that they cannot dispense with it without also sacrificing their entire sense of self-worth.

Luckily the presence of those solitary heretics – ignoring the ridicule of their peers and doing their business according to the higher laws – stubbornly persists for the very simple reason that their methods work. If you can put your ego away and play the long game, if you can weave yourself subtly into the greater fabric of a place like Shireroth, you can achieve things that the jabbering paper-crown kings around here can only dream of (and subsequently are bewildered by, envy, and seek to destroy). Many of these great things are barely perceptible and forever hidden from the public eye, but they bring a little smile to the eyes of their creators when their light discreetly twinkles in the background of other events.

That is the essence of my motivation these days, and it may seem rather occult and bizarre when compared to the tacky old Tymarian/Apollonian screaming ‘n’ backstabbing cycle which some idiots profess to be the alpha and omega of the micronational hobby. But other more subtle ways exist. I will always reserve the right to practice them and defend them, and to defend them in others.

Also, I like cats. Meow.

One-on-One: Stellus Yastreb

Crunching the numbers – Micras territory reductions

As the primary cartographic organization for the Simulationist Internet Micronational Community, the Micronational Cartography Society (‘the Society’) has played a key role in the depiction of micronational territory since December 2000 through its Micras world map projection.

The popularity of the Micras world map amongst Simulationist micronations has often resulted in politically-charged accusations of misconduct and favouritism on the part of the Society’s executive, even resulting in the founding of rival cartographic organizations, such as the Geographical Standards Organisation. Often such accusations were a result of the Society’s leadership being perceived as insensitive to the requirements of certain member micronations or otherwise favouring others. These accusations resulted from the autocratic structure of the Society in its first six years. As a means of standardizing its treatment of all member micronations, in order to eliminate such accusations, starting with the leadership of former Administrator-General V.C. Vehendi, the Society began to implement reforms from 2007 onward to address concerns over the democratic-deficit within the organization. ((MicrasWiki – Micronational Cartography Society))

Vehendi’s reforms would soon be followed in subsequent years by policies designed to alleviate concerns over favouritism playing into the allocation of territory on the Society’s primary political map projection, which it calls the “Claims Map”. This map displays the amount of territory held by individual member micronations. The amount of territory held is often in flux as a means of assigned a level of relative diplomatic power to each micronation, based on the micronation’s performance across several indicators: cultural development, population, and activity levels ((MicrasWiki – Micronational Cartography Society)). The latter of these indicators is often the most referenced, and forms the basis for the analysis undertaken in this article.

The authority for the acceptance and modification of all territorial claims on the Claims Map lies with the Administrative Council (“the Council”) that Vehendi originally founded. The Council has since 2009 adopted a systematic approach to the granting of territory that is directly-correlated to the active presence of the applicant or member micronation. A micronation must provide evidence that it is an active online community to support its initial territorial claim on the map. The Council accepts evidence such as the existence of a forum, bulletin board, or mailing list, and a website. ((Micronational Cartography Society – Frequently Asked Questions))

The active and regular use of a forum, or other similar social platform, is critical in the administration of territorial claims by the Society, forming the basis of a system that must cater to the demand for limited territorial land. Aside from intensively-detailed cultural projects, such as exploration narratives, the easiest – and most commonly utilized – method by which a member micronation acquires further territory on the Claims Map is by demonstrating a heightened level of activity (which may or may not reflect the micronation experiencing a population gain). ((Micronational Cartography Society – Frequently Asked Questions))

Crunching the numbers – Micras territory reductions

The Sky’s the Limit for Madronan State

EDITOR’S DESK (CS) | Secessionist micronationalists have never played coy with their insatiable desire to have their “state” recognized by international organizations, such as the United Nations, or their belief that planting a flag in their backyard legally designates them as sovereign from their macronational overlords. That sovereignty is a Holy Grail that no micronationalist has yet to find.

It is a stubborn persistence in the face of a stark reality that one can only offer commendation for, if only in passing. One can almost feel the frustration of the secessionist who spends his days trying to find that Holy Grail yet knows in the back of his mind that sovereignty is a pipe-dream at best. Carefully crafting a pathway to sovereignty and the measured improvement of the post-statehood micronation is after all not a quick process, if it is to at least sound good on its face. All that time wasted planning and devising a route to a goal that can never be achieved – how frustrating that is, no matter how seditious the goal may be.

Perhaps that is why some secessionists simply forego any logic or effort in their planning and simply embrace the pipe-dream as a guaranteed eventuality that will have immeasurable success once that magical sovereignty and the loving-embrace of the United Nations are achieved. It saves the frustration and the associated unhealthy blood pressure, no doubt.

In my travels through the MicroWiki Community today I encountered such a secessionist, who goes by the name of Shamus, the King of Madrona, who seeks independence for his state from Canada. I found it interesting to read the micronation’s profile page, as it confirmed that not only is Shamus one of those who forego any sort of half-believable planning to achieve sovereignty, he is horrendously trapped within the context of the Madrona delusion.

It’s hard to decide where I should begin to explain the context of the Madrona delusion to the unacquainted, but I figure it’s best to start at the beginning of its fantastic assertions.

Introducing Madrona: a secessionist micronation whose seditious agenda to breakaway and take with it one-third of Canada’s sovereign territory in 2015 is being reputedly entertained by the Government of Canada through “discussions”. The Quebec separatists must be drooling in amazement at this accomplishment.

The Sky’s the Limit for Madronan State