The Stockmen's Association is an alliance of wealthy brahmin barons operating in New California. The organization's head, Duppo, operates the entire enterprise from the NCR capital in 2241. In 2281, 40 years later, the already sizable influence of the barons only grew further. With the abolition of regulations limiting the number of cattle head per rancher after Tandi's death, barons providing the nation with meat, leather, and beasts of burden gained unprecedented wealth and exert a great deal of influence in the Republic. The Stockmen's Association is one of the most powerful tools the barons have to further their interests and agenda. It is used by some barons, like Heck Gunderson, for hostile takeovers of land belonging to small time ranchers.
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.
↑Ethel Phebus: "That was before we lost some land to Heck Gunderson. The bank demanded payment in full the day after the Stockmen's Association bailed it out." (Ethel Phebus' dialogue)