Brahmin barons often form the political base for NCR congressmen, and use their money and pull in politics to direct policies in the NCR to their needs, much like pre-War cattle barons. Agricultural barons fill a similar niche but through the operation of large farms for producing foodstuff instead of animal husbandry.
Existing in a limited form before 2241, brahmin barons are a relatively new "profession" that has only recently arisen in the past 12 years from the events of 2281. When President Tandi was in office, she put forth regulations that set limits on the number of cattle and land any one person can own, much to the ire of the Stockmen's Association.
Following Tandi's death, pressure from the Stockman's Association on the new presidents whittled away her policies, starting with President Wendell Peterson in 2269 until President Aaron Kimball overturned them completely, effectively making brahmin ranching a completely laissez-faire business and allowing free reign for the Stockmen's Association and its partners.
Brahmin barons appear in Fallout 2 and Fallout: New Vegas.
- The Courier: "What about the troopers?"
Hanlon: "You've seen it yourself. Some of them don't even have proper service rifles or armor. Our heavy infantry, power armor units, they're back in NCR territory protecting the interests of Brahmin barons against small-time raiders. Brahmin barons only have one vote at the ballot box, but they have a lot of money to throw around."
(Chief Hanlon's dialogue)
- The Courier: "So you're a rancher?"
Heck Gunderson: "Yep, got a whole mess of brahmins to my name. Bighorners, too. Used to just have the one ranch, but land was easy to grab before the soldiers moved in. Before I knew it I was running one of the biggest ranching operations east of California. Now everywhere I go, folks I never even met shake my hand and call me "Mr. Gunderson." Don't know quite what to make of that."
(Heck Gunderson's dialogue)
- Mercenary note
- Roger Westin was as close to a brahmin baron one could achieve with laws in place during his tenure.
- Fallout: New Vegas Official Game Guide Collector's Edition p.456: "Controversy over Economic Development
The NCR's economy is based on two resources: its great Brahmin herds, and swaths of land that have been restored to arable condition. These provide the nation with meat, leather, and starchy vegetables. During President Tandi's presidency, regulations limited the number of cattle head and the acreage of fields that could be owned by a single person. Despite constant pressure from the Stockmen's Association and Republican Farmer's Committee, such regulations loosened only a little so long as Tandi was in office. Following her death, however, they eroded until President Kimball overturned them completely.
As a result, the past 12 years have seen the rise of the Brahmin Barons and Agri-Barons: captains of industry who are, by post-apocalyptic standards, spectacularly wealthy. This has given birth to a number of cottage industries, from the rebirth of luxury goods production to "journalism" that reports on the latest purchases, commissions, and "life lessons" of the newly rich and famous.
The past 12 years has also seen a change in attitudes towards collective welfare. Citizens of the NCR rarely face significant dangers on a daily basis, and survival is an assumption rather than an aspiration. Citizens are far more reluctant to share food and other resources, and the person who provides services free of charge, whether it's something as quotidian as sewing or as rarefied as surgical expertise, are now the exception rather than the rule.
An added economic strain is the scarcity of salvageable goods. Sixty-five years of scavenging has done a good job of picking clean the wastes of what was once Southern California. Rare are those individuals who can make a living by scavenging and hunting what they need.
A consequence of these economic and cultural transformations has been the rebirth of wage labor. Whereas one's labor was until recently seen as benefitting and belonging to a collective (whether a family or small town), it has now become a commodity. To earn their keep, many citizens must seek an employer and trade the sweat of their brow for Caps.
Citizens of the NCR hold a variety of opinions about these developments. Many boast of their nation's economic strength; others decry what they feel has been lost. Many curse the selfishness of their fellow citizens, usually while pursuing aims that will benefit only themselves or their families. Here in the Vegas wastes, however, nearly all citizens will agree on one matter: opportunity has dried up back home, and to earn a fortune, one must come East."
(Behind the Bright Lights & Big City)
- Bruce Isaac in Cobwebs and Rainbows
- The Courier: "What's life like as a Bighorn rancher?"
Ethel Phebus: "A good life if you don't mind hard work. The only real fuss is the constant bother with varmints. Fail to catch Molerats early in their breeding, and you'll have three or four head breaking their ankles in Molerat holes every day. That's a problem you can't solve with a Varmint Rifle, though I fear my husband's apt to try. He's got Heck Gunderson in his sights right now."
(Ethel Phebus' dialogue)}}
- The Courier: "What did you do?"
Mortimer: " Needless to say, this could be a disaster if things aren't put back the way they should be. And I still need somebody reputable to serve for dinner. Strictly speaking, we're no longer allowed to eat people. But I'm hoping the right person and preparation might sway Marjorie to see things my way."