First Impressions: Morgan Industries

CEOMorgan

“Human behavior is economic behavior. The particulars may vary, but competition for limited resources remains a constant.  Need as well as greed have followed us to the stars, and the rewards of wealth still await those wise enough to recognize this deep thrumming of our common pulse.”

— CEO Nwabudike Morgan, “The Centauri Monopoly”

The next faction presented for your consideration is Morgan Industries.  As you might gather from the quote and the descriptor “The Mogul”, the Morganites are the capitalists.  They’re all about building up massive energy surpluses and living high on the hog, which is demonstrated by their faction strengths and weaknesses.  Inherently, the Morganites generate more energy, which is the resource in the game that can be spent to rush-buy things, fund spy efforts, pacify the population, and power research.  But, in exchange, the Morganites have a penalty to support and a strict population limit per base.  This demonstrates the Morganites preference for creature comforts and unwillingness to sacrifice for the greater good.

Now since this game takes its philosophy seriously, it follows that the capitalists would have a philosophy of their own.  Unsurprisingly, Morgan’s beliefs have a lot in common with Ayn Rand’s ideology (one of Morgan’s in-game books is even called “The Ethics of Greed”).  To hear him tell it, the tragedy of Earth was in allowing the evils of socialism to run unchecked.  Which leads to an interesting asymmetry.  See, in the game’s social policy selection screen, each faction has a policy that they prefer and one which they are averse to.  For a human-controlled faction, the preference is irrelevant.  But the aversion is absolute.

There are seven factions.  Of the seven, there are three pairs that are generally mutually opposed in that their preference is another faction’s aversion.  The Morganites prefer to run a Free Market economy, which is the aversion of the Gaians (who can’t abide the ecological damage it causes).  But the Gaians want to run a Green economy (one that focuses on efficiency and harmony with the planet).  That’s where the asymmetry comes in: the Morganites are averse to a centrally Planned economy, not a Green economy.

That’s an interesting little detail.  But the real genius Reynolds demonstrates is in the character of CEO Morgan himself.  He’s got the life accomplishments and outlook of an Ayn Rand hero, but he’s also got a wicked sense of humor and genuine “big man” charisma.  Which, if you’ve read any Rand, is a pretty amazing accomplishment.  On top of all that, it really drives home Reynolds’s core idea that his future is about ideas instead of genes when you notice that the unapologetic plutocrat is a South African diamond mogul.

The other intriguing thing about Morgan is that his faction is named Morgan Industries and his title is CEO.  This implies that the faction is literally organized among corporate lines.  He’s running a sovereign corporation.  It’s like something out of an anarcho-capitalist’s dream.  And his book is called “The Centauri Monopoly”.  From the very moment his pod touches down, we see that CEO Morgan is planning how he can eventually manage a leveraged buyout of the whole planet.

Now that’s ambition!

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