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Delano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 02:07 AM
Original message
Poll question: The Star Trek federation's utopian economic system is:
It seems to work so well. According to several of the movies and episodes, they don't use money, and everybody has enough. What kind of system did Roddenberry have in mind?

The Star Trek federation's utopian economic system is:

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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Bryan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 02:26 AM
Response to Original message
1. How do we know?
I mean, there's the intratextual theory that the Star Wars movies are basically propaganda films from the terrorists' perspective and maybe Joe Sixpack has a swell time of it under the Empire.

Along those lines, maybe the idea that the Federation is a paradise is just some Manifest Destiny cover story. Life in the Federation is great? According to whom? Starfleet? Operatives of a semi-militarized expeditionary force? Yeah, sure. If Earth is so great, how come they spend all their time in space, huh?

Face it. The Federation is a hellish feudal combine, and Starfleet are basically Heinlein's citizen soldiers, struttin' through space, blowin' shit up, taking long liberties on Risa with six-breasted green women, and spreading the company line to all the backwater ridgeheads. Sure, the Federation will solve all your problems... we're adding new planets every day... it's a big happy family... oh yeah, we've conquered disease and poverty... throw in with us and maybe we'll share warp technology with your leaders, too...
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T Town Jake Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:21 AM
Response to Reply #1
7. All that said...
Edited on Sun Jun-13-04 05:25 AM by T Town Jake
...I'd STILL take life in the United Federation of Planets over being a drone in the Borg Collective; or as a draftee in the service of the Romulan Empire; or as a subject of The Dominion in the gamma quandrant....

On edit: deleted "and I agree with a fair portion of it" after a second reading of the post responded to. After further consideration, I agree with none of it.
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jobendorfer Donating Member (429 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 02:32 AM
Response to Original message
2. one of the great unsolved mysteries for me
is how you have any kind of an economy at all in the
Star Trek universe. Energy seems abundant and too
cheap to meter. Replicators are everywhere -- remember
the befuddled air policeman who got chicken soup from
a replicator in the _transporter room_, fer goshsakes?
So what basis do you have for an economy if literally
anything can get replicated, anywhere, in seconds?

'Cepting dilithium, of course. Or maybe Geordi's figured
out some double-reverse-negatroid-radiation-wavy-purple-
shit-phase-inverter to fix that.

People look at me like I'm crazy when I say this, but
technology in the here and now may make it possible for
a few thousand people to produce widgets in quantities
of billions. When that day comes, what will the other
99.990% of the population do to keep themselves fed
and sheltered? Forget Swedish-style socialism -- we
might have to do some serious reimagining.

secretly covetous of Geordi's DSP toolkit
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gold_bug Donating Member (485 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 04:29 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. if it's technology
then why are the Ferengi still practicing savage capitalism? I assume they have a similar level of technological development as the Federation.
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Baltimoreboy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:14 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. The Ferengi are a separate empire
And yes, at least THEIR economy can be understood. The Federation doesn't have one or is wildly inconsistent. You can replicate anything, but people still have money, still hold jobs, etc. More than that, they still SPEND money, but seemingly don't care.

When asked about it in Next Gen when they found frozen folks from the past, Picard said humanity was beyond that. I think the writers have no f---ing clue.

I will say one thing. It seems the replicators are better are making components than things like food. There are a lot of comments criticizing replicated foodstuffs.

That is my geek for the day.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 03:02 AM
Response to Original message
3. Roddenberry's never really worked it out...

I challenge anyone to explain to me fully what the ST economic system actually is. I'm a fan of the series and have watched every episode, including ST:TNG multiple times. I've read several books staged in the ST universe. But I see no real economic system. I simply see an outline of a result of some theoretical system that the viewer/reader simply accepts as a part of this fictional universe.

He, personally, seemed to lean toward socialism, or at least highly managed capitalism. But his stories are based on a matter of faith that this all works out to perfection in the end. The actual details aren't there.

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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 03:57 AM
Response to Original message
4. IMO, ST is a system based on technology that makes greed and avarice
non-factors in society. Also there are no 'needs' or 'wants', anything can be had thanks to replicators and holodecks. I believe the principle behind the Star Trek Universe is that mankind has moved beyond the collection of material objects as an indicator of class or social rank. Supposedly we persue intellectual ideals, though it seems that every other episode someone is blasting the BeJezus outta someone else (seems we still love to kill in the future).

"We come in peace - shoot to kill!"
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Kinkistyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
9. Well the Klingons and Romulans were kinda big jerks.
Its kinda tough to NOT blast the Borg as they try to assimilate the entire human race ;)
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Kinkistyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:29 AM
Response to Original message
8. A welfare-state close to Socialism.
In the utopian Star Trek universe where you can make a steak out of air molecules, heal people with a laser-beam and everything is powered with a magical high-energy element called Dilithium, Socialism becomes eminently more viable and I picture it as a welfare state that provides all basic needs like healthcare, food, higher education.
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Disturbed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:44 AM
Response to Reply #8
10. A Military scenerio
The shows I have seen are of the people on the star ships and they are structured as a military is and of course the military provides almost everything. The military functions like an Authoritarian Communist group.I have never seen one that shows non-military futuristic society and what that is like.
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Kinkistyle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:54 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. I saw it as if NASA kind of became the most important department.
Like NASA suddenly became the center of the government. So everything started to fall under the control of NASA and existed to further the cause of NASA, including the military - and thus scientific exploration was combined with the military and we were watching from that standpoint. But I think Earth was still very much a democratic place (I seem to remember presidents, ambassadors and various civilian officials popping up now and again).
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daleo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 05:59 AM
Response to Original message
12. If material things were easily available
Then other things would take their place in the wants and needs of people, which we would still care about and compete for in some sense (at least in the supply and demand sense):

- love, belonging, esteem, reputation (one could conceive of others along this line).
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 06:00 AM
Response to Original message
13. It's not properly worked out
The stories were written too much from week to week (or decade to decade) to be consistent.

If you want a better worked out space utopia, try the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks. The Culture is run by the computers who are artificial planets, space stations, spaceships etc. Humans (and robots) are effectively pets - cared for, free to do what they want if it doesn't hurt other people, but there's not democracy or voting or anything. If you don't like what your ship decides, you ask for a transfer to one you like. The ships etc., known as Minds, see the humans (any sentient beings, actually) as counting chips - a proper Mind keeps its inhabitants happy, and gains prestige amongst other ships for this. The Minds also construct new Minds - which they'll do to have the same outlook, so they agree this benevolent control is a Good Thing.

If humans or robots want adventure, they join 'Contact' - a cross between the CIA and the Peace Corps, dealing with other civilisations (who haven't worked out that it's best to let computers run the whole thing).

The whole system is run by access to huge amounts of energy, which means no-one need go without any reasonable desire. Most people just order their lives in terms of friendships, lovers, and peer approval. Meanwhile, the Minds play politics a bit, spend time in n-dimensional Fun Space, and dabble in the other civilisations, either interfering or observing. There's faster than light travel, of course, to give a large canvas of planets etc., and allow for the endless number of ships etc. to give people a realistic choice of how they live.

The novels are far better written than most science fiction (he writes 'normal' fiction too, a couple of which have been filmed for BBC TV), and have a good sense of humour.
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Solon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 07:12 AM
Response to Original message
14. I would say that it is highly regulated Capitalism...
with basic needs provided by the Government. For example, both Sisko's Dad, and Picard's brother OWNED their own businesses (Cajun Restaurant, Vineyard). We get a poor view because almost all activities are protrayed from a Military/Government Spacecraft. Of course the Starship would provide all the crews' needs, that's a given, and how many times do we see them on shore leave outside the Holodeck? Greed and accumilation of wealth seem not to be motivators in society. It seems that the prime motivator of the various races is to improve all of their conditions, through individual effort. BTW: I wouldn't call it a utopia, there were problems protrayed in the society, particularly in the TOS but even in TNG and DS9 (including an attempted military coup, problems with Bajorian relations).

To complicate things, there is the Federal system of the Government itself. Planetary governments deal with planetary problems, while the Federal government deals with mostly common defense and trade deals between the various worlds. This means each member world can have its own semi-independant economy, though not radically different, no slavery for example. BTW: I think the Ferengi would be a libertarian's wet dream.

This has been the Star Trek Geek, Solon, I'll take off the Vulcan ears now. :)
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kalian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-13-04 09:57 AM
Response to Original message
15. Militaristic, regulated socialism.....
there is no doubt that the Federation is not really a "free" society
since just about everybody is either a direct participant in its
military branch or indirectly supporting the military branch.

I think this is what shrub wants....
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