The Walking Dead: Negan and the value of people

Dwight (Austin Amelio), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) in The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 5Photo by Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Dwight (Austin Amelio), Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) in The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode 5Photo by Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

People are resources and Negan doesn’t like that his lieutenants were about to kill a bunch of workers to save their tails on The Walking Dead. But what does “people are resources” mean?

For a guy who likes to bash in skulls with a baseball bat, Negan is also someone who values life. He says as much in The Walking Dead episode “The Big Scary U.” But when he says that people are resources and shouldn’t be thrown away, what is he talking about?

At this point we all know that Negan is a complicated leader and he seems to enjoy that no one ever knows what he’s going to do next. He’s someone who upholds traditional values like working hard. He likes people who do their jobs to the fullest extent, and those that don’t feel his wrath.

After “The Big Scary U” we see that the workers kneel for Negan not because he’s the boss, but because they respect him as much as he respects them. They work hard and he protects them. He’s not out there beating anyone into submission. If you don’t like his system, that’s a wholly other issue. While you might have expected his workers to run away when he was out of the picture it’s actually the exact opposite. The workers were afraid because Negan wasn’t there.

The world of The Walking Dead has reached a point where communities are starting to spring up in various states. You have people working together to perform daily activities like maintaining crops, cooking, repairing things, making weapons and caring for livestock. No matter if it’s Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom or the Sanctuary, there are a few people at the top who run things and a bunch of workers at the bottom doing the work. They might look different, but they’re all essentially the same.

Negan wields a big stick (literally) and looks scary. If you had to guess, he was forcing people to work for him. But that doesn’t seem to be the case at all. His role as the Big Bad helps him to maintain order, but since he provides shelter and order for his people, they serve faithfully under him. 

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When Negan talks about people as resources, it’s because he knows that without those workers, life at the Sanctuary would come to a standstill and nothing would get done. Some of his lieutenants are power hungry and looking to take power for themselves, but they don’t see the bigger picture, that power means nothing if you don’t have food and shelter.

As we have seen numerous times before, those with food and shelter have a big target on their backs, so in a lot of ways Negan’s role as the Big Bad makes sense. It sends a message that you don’t take anything that belongs to Negan, and trying to take things from Negan is a bad idea. If Negan will protect you, then why not pledge your allegiance and do your job like a good worker?

Clearly Negan is a guy who can see the big picture and the smaller picture at the same time. He needs the Sanctuary to run smoothly so he needs his workers. People, therefore, are resources in Negan’s world.