"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Leo Tolstoy
The zone is a place beyond good and evil, perhaps it is a place for the occasional ubemench to rise, but the most important note is that misquoting Nietzsche gets you nowhere fast. Instead, it is a place seeking results, where those with good ideas and the ability to force them forward advance. Good intentions are the rule, that these intentions often conflict is the law.
Some people do rule small settlements with an iron fist, but in the larger ones, that is often counter-productive. In a place that has trouble feeding and protecting everyone - sending the guardians out to bring more people in just doesn't help. However, a more reasonable goal may seem too long in coming, or not doing enough to others.
For example, New Birmingham often seems to be the villain, yet it has some redeeming intentions.Certainly, its a somewhat regressive theocracy against woman's rights and with its eyes on the territory of its neighbors. But it maintains the atmosphere of suburbia, and is trying to create a system where the additional working hours of women isn't needed, a big change from settlements in wilder territories that see sixteen hour days for young and old of both genders. There are people who believe that change begins at home, and thus the policies must be amended, but there are also people who claim there is no point in being the exclusive city on the hill, and that the current laws must be brought to more sinners, across the zone.
Even raider groups are prone to these sorts of problems. Remember, any that have lasted this long is because they have long term ideals and driving purpose. Tower Reversed exists as proof the government is inadequate to the task at hand - but the question remains, does that mean they should become a ruling body that can do something, throw in with someone who can, or continue to simply enrich themselves because they're the only ones who can? The "Ambulance Chasers" Raider group is going to need someone to manufacture more medical supplies if they want to continue their "mercy runs" but with who? New Birmingham controls one of the biggest and most advanced hospital complexes in the hemisphere - but their stance on certain medical procedures clashes with that of the doctors.
Risk unlocking areas currently overrun vs current safety
Local currency vs socialist practices
Old Social classes vs new order based on knowledge
Who to allow in
Degree to focus on the various trans-human projects
Tesla first, or help humanity