"Diversity breeds Conflict. Conflict breeds Strength." -Unofficial motto, circa the Orbital Wars.
The East Rim Consortium is a fairly new group, as far as interstellar organizations go, founded a few scarce centuries before the [Qirel Encounter]?. The name is from an archaic term meaning "The direction in which the sun rises", which is meaningless in an interstellar context, but chosen because it reflected a promise of new beginnings, and potential growth.
Many groups settling the planets that would become the East Rim Consortium were fleeing persecution for various reasons from the societies of the older and more established systems. Many also had ambitions of power but lacked the resources to overthrow existing regimes, and sought out the opportunities of the developing civilizations in the Rim. These and other factors lead to the East Rim Consortium's first few generations having quite a "colorful" population. Indeed, the actions of the law association (see Copyright Dispute) removed the incentives of trade and interaction between the various subcultures, giving many a chance to develop without fear of assimilation, as can be seen in the globalization and systemization of the Core Systems. Granted, during the Orbital Wars themselves, this diversity lead to quite a bit of in-fighting and conflict, and it is interesting to note that despite the Qirel Encounter occuring within the ERC, and most of the fighting taking place there as well, a large number of the greater forces, such as the Jatok Fleet and the [New Unified Terrans]? came from outside the Rim.
The "government" of the East Rim Consortium was confusing, complex, and generally ignored unless it had a branch of the military present to enforce its laws. Indeed, at many times the government became a subculture of its own, rather than a representation of the people it was governing, at which point a new government was generally formed, with the old government as a mere member. The new government would then discover the difficulty of enforcing its laws, and attempts to do so would seperate it from those it governed until the cycle began anew.
It is also interesting to note that many of the planets in the East Rim Consortium contain what some claim are ruins of an ancient, prehuman civilization. The Barren Walkers and the much more malignant [Thorn Vessels]? are often cited as works of their technology. Others claim that it was a civilization of humans, older than Terran history, and Earth itself was a colony that forgot its roots, and somehow escaped whatever destruction claimed the rest.