Squatter Problem LO19720

AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Fri, 30 Oct 1998 17:37:21 +0200

Replying to LO19646 --

Dear Organlearners,

Leo Minnigh <L.D.Minnigh@library.tudelft.nl> writes:

>But here, I will focus on the squatter problem, as you have
>called it.
>I like to make an important distinction in the large mass
>migrations that occur at the moment all over the world.
>REFUGEES: migrants that fled from an unsafe (because
>of military actions) country
>SQUATTERS: migrants that are mainly attracted to rich
>countries for economical motives.
>Here we have thus two fundamentally different reasons
>of movement:

Greetings Leo,

Thank you for a careful analysis -- and showing why the concept of a LO
has to be part of the solution. I know (because of your particiaption on
other lists on creativity) that you will soon bring in the creativity
angle. I expect -- no I beseech -- you to bring in creativity because
learning and creativity are intimately connected.

The two reasons for migration may be fundamentally different elsewhere in
the world, but here in SouthERN Africa they are intertwined through
poverty. (How is that for complexity?) The members of some "goverments"
here in SouthERN Africa use the very "government" and its military arm to
"free" themselves from poverty. To enrich themselves in safety, they have
to make it very unsafe for their fellow people who still live in poverty.
Those who then flee as refugees, become squatters when they arrive in the
country of destination! Think of recent news reports on Rwanda, Congo,
Angola, ....

No one knows precisely in terms of numbers what is going on in South
Africa itself with respect to the squatter problem. Some of the squatters
are South African citizins. Many of them became squatters because of the
policy of aparthed. Others became squatters because of not being able to
transform from a third world life style to first world life style. Others
became squatters because the unpredictable climate destroyed what they
had. Others become squatters because then they will get houses for free.
But other squatters are from SouthERN African countries. Many of them
became squatters because of the paradise dream. Others became squatters
because they had to flee their countries as refugees. Others became
squatters because the climate made them destitute. Others became squatters
because they seek education for themselves or seek medical help for
friends and family members. Others became squatters because its the best
undercover to commit crimes.

The squatter problem is complicated by lies. Most squatters have to tell
lies in order to survive. The immigrants among them have to lie because
they will be expatriated if caught out. The SA cictizins among them have
to lie to qualify for help -- compensation is given the wrongs of
apartheid, but not for the climate wiping out their future or their own
crminal record making it impossible for them to get a job. Political
parties and religious factions also lie to simplify the issue or to suit
their own ideologies. Some parties use apartheid as the prime culprit to
win favour. Some other use the policy of neigbouring countries as culprit
to get even with them. Some use one religion as the culprit to win favour
for their own religion. Countries in the rest of the world who have
pledged support, but went back on their word. The World Bank and IMF who
have to serve the interest of their sponsors, but telling that they serve
the interests of their debtors.

I can go on and on. But I have to stop because we must get to the
solution. What I tried to do with the three paragraphs above, is to
convince you that the migration problem, manifesting itself as the
squatter problem, is VERY COMPLEX. Any person or organistion who are
not commited to understand the full complexity of the problem, are not
part of the solution, but part of the problem by making it even worse
by introducing their simplified solutions. Leo, this is in essence
what you did by writing:
>refugees driven by rejection; squatters driven by attraction.
>Of course, all sorts of combinations of motives may occur.
But I had to paint the picture richer so that we all can realise just
how complex and complicated this problem is!

Some people may think that it is Southern Africa's problem and hence they
are not part of the problem or its solution. This is typical
organisational thinking. But every person who have some knowledge of a
Learning Organisation, will think otherwise. They know that all countries
of the world are linked together in one global web through many channels.
They also know that life is always changing - that what happens now in
Southern Africa can easily become their own future through some yet
unknown catastrophy. Finally, they know that creating Learning
Organisations results in fruits which makes life more enjoyable for all
involved. Thus they know that the squatter problem have to be solved from
a global perspective and participation.

>Squatters were poor and are beggars. What do they
>lack and what are they begging for? Is it food, money
>or knowledge?

Leo, again I have to thank you for showing us (which I had to snip) how
three factors (food, money and knowledge) influences the squatter problem.
I appreciate especially the way in which you showed the problem is
non-linear with feedback loops.In what I am now going to write, I do not
imply at all that you were thinking of three factors (food, money and
knowledge) only. What you have done, was to select, as an example, three
important factors and how they are related to the problem. What I now will
have to do, is to make us aware how the problem looks like in its full
complexity with its many feedback loops.

You have correctly pointed out (taking all your contributions to this
dialogue into account) that the squatter problem is part of a bigger
problem which we may call the "Hurting Migration Problem". It concerns the
migration of squatters and refugees. They come from a source place
(country or region) because of many kinds of hurt and when they arrive at
the destination place (country or region) they get hurt again by many
kinds of hurt. But in your last few lines which I have quoted, you go even
deeper into the real nature of the problem by using the words "poor"
(source place) and "beggars" (destination place). It is also how I
understand the problem. Thus I do not want to call it the "Hurting
Migration Problem", but the "Poverty Problem" or PP.

By calling it the PP problem, I wish to point to another facet of the PP
which we did not yet discussed in the Squatter Problem. It is people who
do not become squatters at the destination place, but who become squatters
in the source place. In other words, they do not move a single kilometer
from one place to another place, they merely become more and more
squatters at the place where they have been born and where they will die.
Their clothes regress into tatters, their houses into ruins, their gardens
into arid lands, their community life into strife enclaves, their schools
into indoctrination shacks, their shops into grave yards and their
religious buildings into gangster centres. They repair little. When they
do replace something because the old is even beyond repairs, the
replacement shows no progression.

The squatter problem was also immense in the history of my own people, the
Afrikaners (or Boere) or the perpretators of apartheid as they are better
known. Afrikaner squatters (migrating from one region to the other as well
as the non-migrating ones) had the name "bywoners". (The official English
translation is "squatters", but a literal translation liht be "byhomers",
"subhomers" or "besidehomers".) The bywoner was a direct consequence of
the Anglo-Boer War (1899-1902). Great Brittain thought the war would last
only a few months. But soon GB realised that although they cannot loose
the war, they will never won it like their other wars. So they began with
a stragey to make the Boere as poor as possible by destroying whatever
they could lay their hands on so that the Boere will loose the war because
of the induced poverty. After the ABW, GB did very little to compensate
for what they had destroyed. Thus the bywoner problem came into existence.

Some Afrikaners in a better position tried to solve the bywoner problem,
but slowly it became worse. Then WWI caused the bywoner problem to explode
into a crises. Now comes one of the most wonderful (and also tragic)
periods in all history of Southern Africa. The Afrikaners took control of
themselves in the sense of irreversible self-organisation. They began to
transform existing organisations and create new organisations on ALL walks
of life with only one overriding purpose:- save the Afrikaners from the
Poverty Problem. It is a pity that you people cannot read my mother tongue
Afrikaans and that there will probably never be money to translate
Afrikaans doucuments into English. Why? Because most of these
organisations began to emerge into Learning Organisations!!! If you want
deep insight into LOs on all walks of life, these documents have much to
offer. And in about 3 decades the PP of Afrikaners was solved.

But as they progressed in the solution, they become aware of a new danger.
Other people from ALL walks of life wanted to share in the LO fruits
without wanting to particapte in LOs themselves. And since these
Afrikaners did not know anything formally about LOs (it was 50 years
before Peter Senge's book), they had to protect themselves not to fall in
poverty again. Thus they began to design and implement apartheid as their
biggest experiment ever to solve the Poverty Problem among all the peoples
of South Africa. (To do it, they delved in their 300 years of hurt as a
result of WARS made on them.) You all now knows into what a disaster it
ended. Why? Because, although apartheid was a grand organisation on all
walks of life, it followed disciplines which prevented it from becoming a
Learning Organisation. Apartheid failed because it was impossible for
apartheid to become a LO!

(Wars suggesting to them apartheid? Well, that one I will have to explain
to you one day!)

The report of the TRC (Truth and Reconcilliation Commission) on apartheid
has been made availble yesterday. As soon as I have information on the
website where it will be availble on Internet, I will give you the URL.
But I must warn you that the TRC, neither the ANC in government, nor any
of the major political parties in opposition have knowledge on LOs (except
for a few individuals few and far in between.) So do not expect to see any
LO insights in the TRC's report. If you want such insights, use the
information in that report and work towards insights within yourself. As
the ancient Greeks have said:
Tarssei tous antropous ou ta prachmata,
alla ta peri ton prachmaton dochmata.
In English and our context it means roughly the following:
It is not the pratices (information and technology)
which matters, but the explanation of them.

OK. I hope I have written enough on the Poverty Problem (PP) to have made
you all sensitive to the importance of this problem and how it leads to
many other problems, the Squatter Problem being an important one. In hope
that you are all under the imprssion that the PP problem is even more
complex than the Squatter Problem. So let us now look at the PP in its
full complexity. Remember that Leo, by example, discussed three major
problems in terms of lack of food, money and knowledge. Now how will we
handel with any number of important problems (factors) culminating in the

Let us say that there are seven of them that we know of and let we
symbolise them by A, B, C, D, E , F and G. Let us also say that there
are other major ones which we still do not know of and let us
symbolise them by X, Y and Z. We all know that not all the problems
will contribute with equal weight to the PP problem. In Leo's example
he showed that the lack of knowledge has the greatest weight. So let
us symbolise the weights of A, B, ......, Y, Z contributing to the PP
by a for A, b for B, ...., y for Y and z for Z. Thus we may symbolise
the PP problem as
PP = aA + bB + .... + gG + xX + ... +zZ ----EQ(1)
The + sign means that these problems connect together ("add up") to
form the PP. The ---EQ(1) is not part of the formula, but is only a
short name (read it loudly as "equation one") to refer to the formula.
The next formula looks almost the same:
aA + bB + .... + gG + xX + ... +zZ =PP ----EQ(2)
Most mathematicians (except the purists) will consider it the same
thing because of the "reflexsive" property of the = sign.

Now, this formual brings in all sorts of memories to you.
Mathematics -- ugghh. School -- grrrrr. I wish it was otherwise
because EQ(1) and EQ(2) let me think of many things.

For example chemistry. When caustic soda (NaOH) and sulphuric acid
(H2SO4) reacts, they produce Glauber's salt (Na2SO4) and water (H2O).
The chemical equation for this reaction is
2NaOH + H2SO4 = Na2SO4 + 2H2O --EQ(3)
In EQ(3) the 2 before NaOH acts as the "weight" of NaOH. (This 2 is
called a stoichiometrical coefficient.) The weights of H2SO4 and
Na2SO4 is 1 (chemists do not write these 1's) and the weight of H2O is
also 2. Chemists speaks of EQ(3) as a balanced equation. It means that
EQ(3) is consistent and coherent for chemical calculations. When
chemists have many equations like EQ(3) and they want to refer to all
of them at once, they will write
aA + bB + ... = qQ + rR + ... --EQ(4)
where A, B, ... symbolise the reagents and P, Q, ... the products
while a, b, ... p. q, ... symbolise the "weights" (stoichiometrical

Should we compare EQ(4) with EQ(2), what can we learn from it? Well,
we really do not have to write the + gG + xX + ... +zZ part of EQ(2).
We merely did it to introduce a sense of completeness. Thus it seems
EQ(2) has some chemistry in it. Problems A, B, ..., Y, Z is the
reagents (factors) which produce PP. And in the light of our precious
discussion, PP itself produces the Squatter Problem, the refugee
problem, the crime problem, the hight tax problem, the inflation
problem, ..... . We can symblise all these problems by Q, R, S, .....
having weights q, r, s, ... Incredible, is it not? The PP behaves like
a chemical reaction. But there is more to it. When the chemical
reaction is very simple in the sense that it consists of only one
step, the PP in
aA + bB + ... = PP = qQ + rR + ... --EQ(5)
does exist phsyically. It is called -- and hold your breath -- the
"intermediate complex".

Similarly, the Poverty Problem PP of EQ(2) is the INTERMEDIATE COMPLEX
of all our other problems.
Now fasten you seat belts. The reaction desribed by EQ(5) is not one of
the tens of thousands of reactions which chemists have to deal with in
industry and laboratories. No, it is rather like the thousands of
cyclic reactions in living organisms which biochemists have to deal
with. It is very much like the Brusselator which Prigogine and his
school of thinkers (irreversible self-organisation) are so fond of
writing about. The Brusselator is their generalisation of most
biochemical cycles just as we generalised EQ(3) into EQ(4). The
Brusselator describes a cyclic reaction which soon runs down into a
limiting cycle -- a atrange attractor -- a groove from which it cannot
escape, except when dissipated far enough, it suddenly switch into a
non-cylic path to enter its grave of equilibrium -- the common

It is clear that we will have to break the cycle. But how? We will
have to rip out its heart! The heart of the Brusselator is that unique
compound which acts as autocatalyst in the autocatalytic step. It
sounds so sophisticated and technical. How will we people find that
problem of all problems which occur in the autocatalytic step? Well,
we have to look for a problem which just increases and increases as if
we have no control over it. Is it not the PP? No. the PP is the
INTERMEDIATE COMPLEX. This other problem is one of the contributing
problems A, B, ..., Y, Z. What fat chance will we not have if it is
one of the problems X, Y, Z which we still do not know! Are we doomed
to failure?

NO, there is much hope. If we carefully search through the history of
humankind, we will find a number of cases where people of a region or
country solved the PP (although the solution did not persist through
the ages). I have pointed to the Afrikaner's solution to the "bywoner"
problem. (Tell that to the New South Africa in which Afrikaners have
become the hunted.) Study Philip of Macedonia's solution of the
problem. Study the solution of the problem in the 14th century in the
lowlands region of northern Europe. We must study these cases to
become convinced that
* a solution is possible
* no two solutions were the same
* in each solution the autocatalyst had to
be destroyed
* the autocatalyst in each was one and the
same problem -- ignorance

In the solution of the Poverty Problem PP as described by
PP = aA + bB + .... + fF + xX + ... +zZ ----EQ(1)
it is very important to understand how A, B, ..., Y, Z as well as Q,
R, .... contribute to PP.

So let us do some mathematics. If EQ(1) represents an equation where
PP, a, A, b, B, .... are real numbers, then may speak of EQ(1) as
graph. Here a, b, .. represent constants and A, B, ... represent
variables. The simplest case of EQ(1) is
PP = aA
which describes a line, i.e a "linear" curve in two dimensional space.
To make it a NONLINEAR curve, we must have an expression like
PP = a(a1A + a2A^2 + a3A^3)
which is called a power series. But do not break your mind. Read on.
Just one step more complex is
PP = aA + bB
which describes a plane, i.e a "linear" surface in three dimensional
space. To make it a NONLINEAR surface, we must again have power series
on A and B. I will not even try to desribe them because I want you to
see something else. So hold your breath. Eight steps more complex is
PP = aA + bB + .... + gG + xX + ... +zZ ----EQ(1)
where we have 7 (A to G) + 3 (X to Z) contributing problems, not
counting the Q, R, ..... what do we have here? A "linear" figure in
11th dimensional space. To make it a NONLINEAR figure, we need power
series on all ten varaibles. Can you imagine you complex it is?

But fasten your seat belts once again. All the nonlinearity introduced
in the last paragraph is still superficial, even for all the power
series introduced. Think of a geneticist who have to breed a certain
strain of a plant species or animal species. He (she) wants the strain
to have 7 traits A, B, ... G. She assumes each trait to result from
one and only one gene. Thus the traits A, B, .., G also represent
genes. Consequently he has the following equation in mind:
PP = aA + bB + .... + gG ----EQ(6)
Compare EQ(6) with EQ(1). The unknown genes X, Y and Z are missing.
To select his breeding stock (parent material) among living specimens
of the species, he will have make a "multivariate regression
analysis", measuring traits A, B, ..., G in tens of thousands of
individuals. He then feeds this data into a real number cruncher of a
computer who churns hour upon hour until it finds the best possible
values for a, b, ..., g so that EQ(6) describes the most likeable
breeding stock to look for. He selects the stock usisng the values of
a and A, b and B, ..., g and G and starts with the breeding. To his
surprise the result is a complete failure. Mendel's laws for two
traits, which gives a 2x2 matrix, are a relatively simple procdedure.
But for three traits it becomes a 3x3x3 matrix (27 possibilities) so
that for seven traits it becomes a 7x7x7x7x7x7x7 matrix. Calculate
yourself the staggering number of possibilities he has to cope with.
(Lesson? Beware of paying too much importance to 2x2 schemes.)

What went wrong? I suggest that you study a book "Path Analysis" by
the geneticist C J Li. It is a delightful book, a real primer, because
in it he uses simple school mathematics to take the reader along on an
exciting course, his discovery of Path Analysis (PA). Most of you will
be able to follow the mathematics to the end. The difficult thing is
that as he takes you along the course, the complexity build up and up
until not the mathematics, but the complexity might trip you. Anyway,
what he does, si the following. I will use our A, B, ..., G scheme in
this contribution to maintain consistency and coherency.

What Li shows, is first to show that the pattern
PP = aA + bB + .... + gG ----EQ(6)
is doomed to failure. It has only "one level". It does not provide for
more than one level, each emerging from the former. In other words,
what he shows is that we have to work with a mutilevel equation. (Do I
here some of you, probably the chemists among you, saying "aha". Is it
not in chemistry that we find a reaction like EQ(5) to have many
steps?). I will not use his schemata to show it, but will rather keep
to the pattern we had been using. What we have to do, by using PA , is
todevelop EQ(6) into the follwoing form
PP= aA + fF +
cC + eE + xX +
dD + yY +zZ +
bB +gG --EQ(7)

This equation is most interesting. But I am not going to speak anymore
of traits like in genetics. I am going to refer to problems.

Firstly, it has four levels. The lowest level bB and gG is the most
important level because the other three emerge from it. Problems B and
G causes PP, but they also causes directly problems D, Y and Z as well
as indirectly the rest which all adds up to PP. Thus problems B and G
are the real culprits of PP.

Secondly, note how PA allowed us to discover the major unknown
problems X, Y and X. In other words, PA helps us to see the pieces of
the jigsaw puzzle still missing. It does not tell us what they are,
but it tells us to look for them and once we have found them, to find
out what they are, i.e the idenity of each.

Thirdly, the path coefficients a, b, .., g differs considerably from
the linear correlation coefficients a, b, .., g of EQ(6). For example,
in EQ(6) b might be 30%, but in EQ(7) b might be 5%. Thus B adds up to
PP through what we now know as the butterfly effect (positive
feedback). Another example, g might be 2% in EQ(6), but 30% in EQ(7).
This is a case of dampening (negative feedback). In Eq(6) we might
think of G as a relative unimportant factor (2%), but actually it is
very important because it contributes to the emergence of all the
problems in the three higher levels.

C J Li's book has helped me to look with from a new viewpoint at
problems as I have tried to explain above. I do not try to make the
actual calculations because I simply do not have the time to do all
the measurements and calculations. What I do, is to paint as rich
picture as possible in my mind. (I have a dialogue with myself -- ok
certify me.) A physicist, chemist, engineer or statician would say
they plot the data. What I then do, is to look at the whole picture
from a distant point of view, trying to perceive all the patterns in
it. (I will tell you a secret -- guys like physicists do the same.
They look at the plotted data from very slanted angles to see a line,
a parabola or some other curve. Then they begin with the drudgery of
making the actual regression calculations to satisify the needs of the
purists including themselves.) I then move my mind to some other
viewpoint, again trying to see patterns in the picture.

These different viewpoints are the different subjects in which I have
become operative - some good, some bad, but it does not matter that
much. I will look at the rich picture like a mathematician, then a
logician, then a physicist, a chemist, a botanist, naturalist, farmer,
explorer, language, history, psychology, economics, education,
theology, art and philosophy. In other words, what I have done with
myself in life, is to "make me spontaneously a team" since it is so
difficult to convince people to become an actual team committed to
team learning. I know that "making me spontaneously a team" sounds
crazy and that the result is very bad when compared to a team of
proffesionals, but if such a team cannot be found, "making me
spontaneously a team" is still far better than nothing. The key is
that the team has to form SPONTANEOUSLY. If not at least ONE person
act spontaneously, then nothing important can happen because all
self-organisation happens SPONTANEOUSLY.

This phrase
"making me spontaneously a team"
is still far better than nothing
is really very, very important. In education it is called "broad",
"comprehensive" education aimed at developing "all faculties of the
whole human". In all cases (which I could lay my hands on in the
history of mankind) in which the PP was actually solved for a couple
of generations, it was solved through SELF LEARNING (personal mastery)
and self learning alone. Furthermore, the teachers who guided this
self learning in these cases, did not only TALK "all faculties of the
whole human", but also did WALK it. Since each one was "making me
spontaneously a team", they found it so much easier to actually form
spontaneously such teams committed to team learning.

Let me stress it again. The solution to the Poverty Problem PP is
spontaneous self-learning. This is the only thing which can rip out the
heart of the PP -- that heart or autocatalyst which keeps the PP alive.
What is the heart of PP? IGNORANCE. It is only spontaneous self-learning
which can replace ignorance. Why? Spontaneous self-learning is the only
activity which can begin at ignorance itself. Money cannot. Even food
cannot. What is the value of even food when the spirit gets impoverished.

I hope all you people are more tired of reading than me putting this long
contribution together - it really exhausted me. But before I shut up, let
us all read Leo's wise words again (and please remember that Leo's mother
tongue is also not English):-

>And here we have closed the circle: we must change
>these countries into Learning Organizations. We - the
>attractive countries - must set up an action plan for such
>a program. It is not simply a brain drain towards the third
>world, it starts with the chalk for the blackboards. The
>next step will be the teaching of thinking. To teach
>the way how to transform information into knowledge. This
>could be done nation wide, but also in our own countries.
>And also towards your neighbour or colleague. There are
>lots of places were learning organizations could be created.
>It will be a long, but inspiring path for all of us.
>Is it not nice to think of the time that the future Nobel
>prize winners will come from Afghanistan, Sierra Leone,
>Guatamala or Cabo Verde?

Leo, thank you for your inspiring words.

Best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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