A central part of this Klingon philosophy was that every system, from a living organism to a society to a major government, could exist only in one of two states: either growing and living, or shrinking and dying. This facet of Klingon psychology and philosophy does not recognize the concept of an equilibrium or zero population growth. By their definition, if something was not growing, it must therefore be dying. Khesterex was the second half of this dichotomy with the root word khest, which is a vulgarity that even implies a translation of khesterex as "a structure that allows itself to be subjugated" in a very base sense. Komerex was the opposite first half of this dichotomy, "the structure that grows", more commonly and simply translated as "empire".
All cultures were described by either khesterex or komerex. One that did not expand, conquer or otherwise grow was a khesterex, and treated as stagnant, dying or dead. It was therefore only useful for producing kuve (or servitor races) and slaves. (FASA RPG module: The Klingons, TOS novel: The Final Reflection)
The two concepts were represented by several Klingon sayings. "Nal komerex, khesterex" meant "That which will not grow will die" while "komerex tel khesterex" put it more succinctly: "grow or die". (TOS novel: The Final Reflection)
Though the Andorians were a warrior culture, they were classified as a khesterex because they willingly joined the Federation and chose peace rather than fighting for independence from the other member races. For this, an Andorian was the target of the ultimate Klingon insult: "willing slave". (FASA RPG module: The Klingons)
The Orions were also considered a khesterex, a dying and decadent culture with no interest in conquest. Worst of all, they were not even worth conquering – "not worth the blood" when Klingons prized spilling blood. They made for poor slaves and only mediocre kuve, but somehow, wherever Orions went their rotten culture still followed and thrived. (FASA RPG modules: The Klingons, The Orions: Book of Common Knowledge, Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update)
- As Orion expansionist aims at the time are based on economic power, it is possible that the khesterex/komerex dichotomy does not recognize economics as a form of growth or decay.