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August 30, 2005



And didn't Kirk and the gang seem just a bit too familiar with money after they traded in his specs? "That's all there is so don't splurge".


And in Star Trek, The Next Imitation--I mean Generation--the crewmembers play passionate games of poker. How does one play poker passionately without money?


I'm actually more curious about the monkeys.

If we let them loose in the wild and allow their society to go through a few generations, will we be able to finnaly find a replacement source of cheap goods so we can stop depending on China?


From the DS9 episode "In the Cards" in which Jake wants to buy his father a baseball card and is trying to get Nog to give him the money:

NOG: If you want to bid at this auction, use your own money.

JAKE: I'm Human, I don't have any money.

NOG:It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement.

JAKE: Hey, watch it. There's nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity.

NOG: What does that mean exactly?

JAKE: It means,it means we don't need money.

NOG: Well if you don't need money, then you certainly don't need mine.

Lt. Cmd. Worf

How does one play poker passionately without money?

Does the word "honour" mean nothing to you humans?



The showcase episode (IMHO) for the problem you describe is DS9's In the Cards. Jake wants to buy a rare antique for this father but, being human, doesn't have any money. So he goes to his Ferengi friend Nog and talks him out of his money! LOL!

The dialog is great:

It's my money, Jake. If you want
to bid at this auction, use your
own money.

I'm Human, I don't have any money.

It's not my fault that your
species decided to abandon
currency-based economics in favor
of some philosophy of self-

Hey, watch it. There's nothing
wrong with our philosophy.
(with pride)
We work to better ourselves and
the rest of Humanity.

What does that mean exactly?

It means...
... it means we don't need money.

Well if you don't need money, then
you certainly don't need mine.


Publius is one smart guy... fast too... =P




I think the Ferengi are just our capuchin monkeys who have evolved in the future.

The first encounter with them in (I believe) TNG compared to how they are in DS9 shows that their quick evolution in such a short time frame is possible.


The first encounter with them in (I believe) TNG compared to how they are in DS9 shows that their quick evolution in such a short time frame is possible.

Unless, of course, you count that one episode in Enterprise - which I don't, since I consider the whole of said series to be a false history written by Romulans in the late 25th century in order to make the Vulcans look bad.


Jimmy accurately points out that it was in a TOS movie that the prospect of a moneyless future was proposed--possibly as a joke.

Jimmy also--accurately--points out that it is in TNG that the idea of a moneyless society is actually taken seriously.

Between TOS and TNG, Jimmy fails to mention, come along a fairly significant development of economic import: Replicators.

Replicators are an amazing concept, capable of constructing anything from mere particles in the air; the only person who seemed to have trouble with Replicators was Geordi, and he's been blind since birth!

Assuming that you are not handicapped with blindness from birth, Replicators would be a cinch. All you have to do is program whatever it is you can imagine--a Babe Ruth rookie card, a Ming Dynasty vase, a Gas Station that will fill your car for $0.69.9/10 a gallon--and the Replicator makes it for you.

Given all of these economic goods flooding the market, it would be no wonder that the economy transmogrified (or collapsed) into a moneyless system.


Out of sheer boredom I've read various rants from various angles on the whole "Star Trek is Communist" Theme.

For numerous reasons I think Star Trek in most incarnations was bad. Sure ST:VI was pretty good and I admit DS9 had some stellar moments. But TOS, TNG and the rest of the movies sucked about 98% of the time. Anywho...I have always felt that the economics of Star Trek will not work in the "Real World", it is in total disregard of human nature, whathaveyou. But, I also never took the ridiculous opinion that Star Trek's (extremely lackluster) writters are attmepting some Marxist coup in our society. After all Star Trek is on TV to make money (or did you all assume that urging the viewer to buy soda, aftershave and athletic shoes was some confusing sub-plot?).

As I've said Star Trek won't work in the "Real World". Luckily, Star Trek is a work of FICTION. I think the no-money-in-in-the-future situation is no mistake or conspiracy. It's simply a reflection of Roddenberry's belief/hope/faith/whatever that (right or wrong) deep down people are kind and compassionate and honorable. The realities of life (mainly the scarcity of resources) means that we have to be cruel, callous, and unjust to our fellow Man. But in the future technology will make goods available, cheaply, efficently and in a decentralized way. And with lots of new worlds to explore and colonize there will be more property than we know what to do with. In this situation, Men will stop fighting over resources and cultivate that compassion and honor inside.

Why do so many people rail about the impractical nature of ST's socio-economic system, yet think faster than light travel is just fine despite any laws of physics to the contrary. Maybe ST writers just want us to have an hour a week where we say to ourselves -- "Despite all the ruthless s**t in our history, people are alright." Does every half-conceived notion regarding ST eventually transform into some ideological manifesto?

For Chrissake, its damn TV show people. And not a very good one at that.


try this website. http://vanparecon.resist.ca/StarTrekEcon/

I think that's the only way you could come close to having a "moneyless" society.


Stumbled across this Web page. Great topic, LOL. Goes to show you that most Star Trek scriptwriters probably hated Economics 101 and became English majors instead.

However, I applaud the witty DS9 writer who wrote that scene between Jake and Nog -- I bet he was on the TNG writing team before that, and found the currency-less Earth economy idea stupid. (But try telling that back then to the head writer, or Gene Roddenberry!)


The society is radically and completely communist, specifically it is organized as a series of soviets. The "credit" is a ration for specific goods, that is, that to which an individual is entitled by his or her needs. Individuals have credits for specific needs and, beyond that, desires. Scotty, for example, saves up credits for his retirement that he can buy a boat. There is no money because there is no need for exchange between individuals. No one owns anything but their own physical property, all of which is rationed and plentiful apparently. The means of production is communally held and administered by the state.

The lack of money does not represent a technological weakness, but rather is a sign of technological progress. Think about it like this. For a while in human civilization, it was uniform practice to function within a system of codified slavery, either as master or slave. This was a far more efficient arrangement than the tribal state before it, and the lack of a sufficiently evolved morality allowed slavery to flourish for many thousands of years. But technological progress and moral development eventually resulted in a society in which slavery is not only an inefficient but immoral mode of production. The same has happened to feudalism. In the Star Trek future the capitalist mode of production has been surpassed by socialism, which included currency, and finally communism, in which there is no longer any need for the practice of exchanging currency. Capital prevents the full expression of the self because one can accumulate capital endlessly. Further, the society of plenty means that there is little need to determine comparative valuation between individuals.

Reasonable people can disagree about whether the sort of soviet communism in Star Trek is possible, but the show is more fun if you take the communism at face value. It's a caricature of radical soviet communism (n.b.: soviet as in the organizational theory, not Soviet Union obviously) just as it's a caricature of space travel.

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I've read most of the comments here, but have yet to find anyone who can get away from the concept of money or compensation. In the episode of DS9 that has been used as a prime example, Jake wanted the card, but needed money to get it. Who had the card? The reason Jake needed money at that time is because the owner required the card to be purchased, that's it. It's not an argument for why money is necessary, it's an example of how greed works. Jake wanted something for his father, the owner of the card wanted money. If the owner of the card lived in the human society where money had been abolished, Jake would not have needed money in order to obtain it. When the Ferengi were made into the moneychangers of the galaxy, it was as a warning against greed. They are viewed as dispicable creatures by every other culture except for those that also share the same values. The human society set forth by Gene Roddenberry may be idealistic, but it's not bad. Just think about it, what do you spend money on and why? Utilities to be comfortable? Housing for shelter? Food to eat? What if these were provided free of charge? Not as a communist society, but as a true democracy. I'll get back to the communist society and the true reason why they abandoned a moneyless society in a moment. If everything necessary for the comfort of every person were provided free of charge and luxuries were also provided free of charge, would you need them or would you just want the things you enjoy? The person who buys a huge plasma screen TV does not do so because he needs a huge plasma screen TV, he does so because he wants it as a status symbol. He buys it in order to show to his friends and family and everyone else "Look how good I am, I can afford this". If everyone else can get the same thing for free, just like him, the idea that this is a status symbol goes away, it's no longer a way to prove how good he is, it's a way to prove how foolish he is by getting something this big and useless and putting it in his home. Instead, the new status symbol would be personal value, non monetary. In order to prove your value, your worth, and thus have a higher status than someone else, you would need to find another way to prove yourself more valuable. This is what is being strived for in human society in Star Trek. They aren't being altruistic just to be altruistic, they are trying to prove their own personal value to the rest of society. By being a better engineer, they gain more prestige and thus, they have attained a higher status. By being a better person, they are recognized as a better person.
As for why the Soviet Union gave up on a moneyless society, anyone who realizes that the Soviet Union was ran by a dictator also realizes that in a society that does not use money and provides goods free of charge, the people have the power. They are more capable of recognizing corruption and of doing something about it. An army that does not rely on the government for pay because it no longer needs to be paid in order to live will not fight for a corrupt government and the corrupt leader cannot stand. The reason the Soviet Union started using money again is corruption, plain and simple. The leaders wanted power, the only way to gain power is supply and demand. If you control the supply, you can demand anything you want. If you don't control the supply, you can't demand anything.



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I don't recall anyone else citing much evidence for other POV's.

read me

As for the idea that a poker game can only be played intenesely when money is involved, has anyone noticed that they use poker chips when playing poker?
There's no need to wonder why, when you play a video game, do you play it because you're going to make money from it or do you play it because it's fun? If you're going to make money from it, you're one of the very few. Most people play for fun, the same reason you sit down and play any board game with your family, such as monopoly. You're not playing for real money, you're playing for fun. They aren't playing for money, they're playing for fun and companionshipand even competition. When you sit down for a game of cards with your friends, do you really want to strip them of their money because you need it or even want it because it's money, or do you just want to play the game to beat them? The reason the poker games are so intense is the same as why a game of checkers is so intense between two competitive people. Everybody wants to win, so they compete with each other.

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By the way, Marxism doesn't have a leader, the Soviet Union had one, therefore, it was not being run according to the ideal. An advocate of true Socialism and not the perverted ideals of it which have come to be would use this as proof of why the Soviet Union fell and why China is becoming a Capitalist society rather than a true Socialist society. According to Marx, true socialism must spring forth from capitalism and will form a true democracy as its core government. In other words, the most democratic of governments is Marxist Socialism, because everyone has an equal say in how things are, a one vote for one person system.


I'll take that as a "No".


But, then, Marx didn't have any evidence, either. Of course, since 1917, there has been plenty of evidence, but that doesn't deter a True Believer.

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Since there has yet to be an actual attempt at full socialism, there's still no evidence. And since you don't seem to have anything to say in this thread except to knock other peoples ideas, I really don't see why you should be saying anything at all. However, if I'm wrong and you actually have an idea of your own, I would love to know what it is. By the way, did you even look at the link I provided? It outlines Marx's ideas as opposed to Lenin's. Do you remember which of the two was more influential in the running of Soviet society? It certainly wasn't Marx.

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Also, if you look at the beginning of the United States, the Founding Fathers didn't exactly have any proof that this experiment would last more than a day without falling apart. They just wanted something better than they had, so they created what they wanted to. All they had to do is convince the people here that the ideas they had come up with were worth trying out. Doesn't seem to me like there would be a United States if everyone had been waiting around for proof that it would work.


Posted like a True Believer.

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guessing you have nothing to say except an attempt to make yourself seem superior by saying nothing at all. Don't you have any opinions of your own? I really thought maybe there was a brain there, but I guess we can all be mistaken.


interesting that Star Trek has endured long enough to be discussed 40 years after its initial run


People wouldn’t chose to work with boring and straining jobs if they didn’t have to. With nuclear fusion reactors and replicators, somebody or something has to do the boring and straining jobs for that technology as well. In an large society without currency and where people doesn’t know each other there will bee no cooperation, helping, giving credits for example. Everybody want to be an scientist or an culture worker but no one wants to do the necessary things. communism is an stateless structure with no military or government, there wouldn’t be any federation, president or star fleet. There will yet be people with more resources than other. As far as I know that goes against the communistic manifestation, why work when you can have fun. Maybe you will have the pleasure of being flying with an state of the art star ship if you chose to do the cleaning on board.


Have you ever thought about what REPLICATOR TECHNOLOGY would do to any economic system?

In fact, have you noticed that planned obsolescence is not discussed by economists or any other talking heads on television?

I haven't been to an auto show in 30+ years. I don't give a damn what any of that crap looks like.

Sci-fi is about technology. The SR-71 Blackbird started flying in 1964. A plane could do 2000+ mph before the moon landing so what does that say about the aerodynamics of cars these days? They could do it right if they wanted to but physics doesn't change.


REPLICATOR TECHNOLOGY wouldn't change anything. Germany had the space technology, TV and computer technology etc. long before the Sovjet or the United states. Its the wars that gives fast results in technological development but only in restricted areas and with some terrible cost.


If the rich gets replicators the poor can have our food.

With an ecological economic the nuclear fusion energy will bee financed by externality cost and benefits ex: fines, taxes, subsidize and credits. The world will hopefully in our future become an socialistic reformation capitalism based on ecological economic instead of economic growth.

Al originators material can be financed by taxes based on all democratic elections. If you wanna replicate something out of the ordinary you simply have to pay for it.

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