"Star Trek" Economics

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Riddick
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"Star Trek" Economics

Post by Riddick » 08-19-2015 02:55 AM

One big, obvious thing is absent in the future society depicted in ST:TNG. No one is doing business.

There is nearly no buying and selling, save for a few species for whom commerce is a form of traditional religion. Food and luxuries are free, provided by “replicators.” Recreation, provided by virtual reality, is infinite in scope. Scarcity - the central defining concept of economics - seems to have been eliminated.

Is this really the future? Is it possible? Is it something we want? When we talk about Star Trek economics, what we’re really talking about is how to get to economic utopia. It’s an important question economists and economics writers struggle with.

One theory is as society gets richer and richer, capitalism and free markets will still exist, but will simply recede into the background. Others describe Star Trek not as a socialist paradise, but as a libertarian one. The future may have a far more radical transformation in store for us - technological advances will actually end economics as we know it, and destroy scarcity, by changing the nature of human desire.

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Post by fos » 08-19-2015 08:50 PM

One of the keys to the Star Trek economy is abundant energy. Energy to produce warp speeds. Energy makes the replicator work. I suspect converting energy into matter: "Energy = mass * (speed of light)^sqr. Or mass = Energy / (speed of light)^sqr, hence a martini, shaken not stirred. The holodeck must take quite a bit of energy, it sure looks like fun as long as the safety locks are operational. Who needs a Lambo when you can fly a space version of the speeder?

Even today, energy is one of the primary keys in our economics. Everything has some sort of basis in energy.

Maybe some day we will harness fusion and become a Type 1+ society. (Or discover dilithium crystals). Isn't it interesting that the best batteries so far are based on lithium? ;)

Dr. Huebner, my favorite undergrad physics professor thought that fusion might become possible around 2025. Maybe he won't be far off.

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Bernie Trek

Post by Riddick » 11-03-2018 03:44 PM

Riddick wrote:
08-19-2015 02:55 AM
what we’re really talking about is how to get to economic utopia.
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