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 Values Systems of Alpha Centauri

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PostSubject: Values Systems of Alpha Centauri   Sun Jan 06, 2013 11:23 pm


Values. Just what exactly are values? All of the memetic engineers talk about them and engineering them, so they must be important, but again, what are they? With such a vague name, and an ill-defined role in the government, and yet said to be extremely important, Values are said to be the ultimate pursuits of both a faction's government and its citizens. There are three broad overarching categories of Values that are used, Wealth, Knowledge, and Power. For the most part, they are as their names says, however again with such vague names it is difficult to tell what they really entail. This write-up will examine each value and their tangible effects on society.


Ahh, Wealth. The concept is simple enough, work hard, obtain fortune, and live well. It is an ancient concept, as are all of the values, really. But what does this really mean for society? Well, the idea of "work hard, obtain fortune, and live well" actually encapsulates the effects of the value of Wealth quite well. Let us start with the first one - work hard. Factions that engineer the value of Wealth tend to have higher productivity than others, which has fairly tangible results in giving industry a fair boost. The second, obtain fortune, essentially means "collect energy" on Chiron and indeed factions that value Wealth do it very well, with a leg up on their non-Wealth valuing counterparts. And finally, live well? What does that mean? Well, the primary drawback of wealth is that citizens become much less tolerant of worse conditions, and although usually conditions are good there is one major exception - war. Soldiers from Wealth-valuing factions tend to have worse morale than those from other factions. Now, this description is imperfect, as of the two Wealth-valuing factions, there are major differences in between them. In Morgan Industries, it is a focus on the Wealth of the corporation as a whole, while in the Peacekeeping Forces it is a focus on improving the living conditions of the populace in general. As such it is given the moniker of "Welfare" by Peacekeepers, which is actually a fair description. But what of the next one, Knowledge?


Like the others, Knowledge is also an ancient concept as old as man itself, but again, what does a value for Knowledge translate into tangibly? It should seem obvious that for one it involves a focus on research, and indeed, the factions that value research have a significant advantage in terms of technological development. However, it remains to be said that factions that choose to value Wealth are also quite competitive on that front, as the increase in energy production does correlate to improved research, seeing as energy is usually budgeted between revenue (which is important in paying for maintenance of base facilities) and research. In any case, better research is not the only benefit of Knowledge-valuing factions. Secondarily, they have more efficient allocation of energy than Wealth-valuing factions do. In part, it is in part because of a generally superior understanding of systems, but mostly of a need to be able to put resources put into research to use. As a matter of fact, when large amounts of energy are put into a scientific program, there is a surprising amount of waste if not watched carefully. Without efficient use of resources, waste would be high. There are drawbacks, however. Due to the amount of information-sharing that must go on, Knowledge-valuing factions are more at risk of probe attacks and are generally less capable of preforming them. Of the two Knowledge-valuing factions, who are actually generally in opposition, the values were selected for fairly different reasons. The University chose it for the improved research, while the resource conscious Gaians chose it for efficiency. Both are equally valid, however. This brings us to the final value, Power.


Power of all of the three is the most difficult to define. What is Power, really? Everyone has a different idea of Power. Morgan, for one, would love to think of his massive sums of energy credits as Power (and they certainly are, in a certain way), while Zakahrov would prefer to think of the evermore incomprehensible developments of the University labs as Power. However, on Chiron, Power means something else completely. It is a desire for military glory, a desire for service. If Wealth is the Value of economics, and Knowledge is the Value of science, than Power is the Value of war. Overall, soldiers of factions that value Power have improved morale, being better trained and of better mental condition for war. Civilians of such factions also have an increased tolerance of police and generally repressive social policies, of the believe that they make such sacrifices for the benefit and success of the nation. Indeed, Power is not so much what one would like to acquire for oneself like the other values, but something that one would like to acquire for their faction. This is how the radically different Hive, Spartans, and Believers can have one and the same value. Though there are some differences in how it is put into effect, the way Power is valued in the aforementioned groups is actually much the same. Not at all coincidentally, the factions valuing power are the most independent from Lal's global hegemony and the most opposed to it. Though Lal and his client factions are by far the single most powerful bloc, all of the Power-valuing factions are significant powers and on a planetary war could significantly threaten the interests of the Governate. However they are at lease as much opposed to each other as they are to Lal, and as such do not pose a threat to him... at the moment.
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