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In actuality, we have no idea for sure what a post-scarcity world would look like. I rather doubt we would ever have a post-scarcity society, because what would motivate each person to get up every morning and pursue a purpose other than paying the bills and saving up for retirement? Pursuing your artistic passion is well and good, but if you didn't have any discernible artistic talent? What would convince talented engineers to build starships and to operate and maintain them? Will they receive in return more transporter credits? I suspect we become stagnant as a society and the dream of interstellar travel will wither and die.
Star fleet and the Federation employees exist in their own corporate bubble. Like the free cafeteria at the company. No money needed for anything until you leave the property . Also means talented people would NOT go into Starfleet and simply set up shop as a civilian earning latinum for their talent. Starfleet is the untalented public servant of the Galaxy. The real winners are buying moons, and flying around in their warp 9.99 space yachts.
A: no they are not really viable
B: you did miss the fact that in the old series some kind of currency was used by the federation when dealing with aliens out side of it's union in several instances. also other races (Klingons ,Romulans , and a few other less noted races) use currency as well, quite often through out the series and those races are not cast in a bad light for doing so (but others are such as the ferengi).
C: no the federations economy is not feasible in reality , it's just a Marxist pipe dream , dreamt by some one that has never lived through how such a dream can turn into an actual nightmare due to the human greed factor. given the choice most people wil not choose shit jobs , that's why every communist country ahs ahd to "assign" people to a given career , and as soon as you start doing that , well there goes your personal freedom (another big thing in star trek) right out the window.
Why do you look at Star Trek and not see the reality?
In the beginning they talked about credits. But in a society like the Federation, where clothing and food are truly free, what are your expenses?
Shelter! Free on a ship! In any military organization, you would be getting an awfully good salary.
“Who would build the ship?” If you’re the Captain of a ship, what do you care? You’re busy enjoying your adventures through life!
Now, toss in the idea that anything not needed for the plot of a show won’t be discussed, and there’s even less concern to discuss those who are working ‘the menial jobs’.
If there are roads to be repaired, it will be dealt with by those where needed.
Who will pay also is linked to How much will it cost. And THAT must lead to a discussion of how many are paying over a vast area. Trillions? Quadrillion’s? More contributors, less per payer. Kirk had some land on Earth, he couldn’t manage his payments on Earth, needs an account?
But my main point is, in a story about people on a navy ship, is the economic system never brought up because it’s not important to the story?
And Picard might be discussing more of the philosophy of the Federation than the economy.
This seems like an antiquated term. If work becomes obsolete due to technological advancement people wouldn't be sharing what they produce for the community, machines would make what is necessary. I think the term you're looking for is "Automated society", a society in which humans have engineered machines to make all that is necessary.
Isn't asking if Star Trek is Capitalist or Communist kind of like asking if your local community lights their fires with rubbed sticks or flint?
They're a Post-Scarcity society with access to Replicators. The very concept is just obsolete.
In Enterprise, they talk more about WW3 and the Eugenics War. They say that they fought each other and billions died until someone came to their senses and talked them out of it. It was then that the new mind set came into being.
Federation didn't banned private onwership, but again, iits just a legal status. If you want something the other guy has, you can replicate it. Even, you like some girl, you can recreate one on your private holodeck, as Jordi once did.
They have replicators, industrial replicators. We can see how efficient those replicators are in Star Trek: Enterprise. Clearly, in the area of TNG, DS9 and VOA, the federation's replicators can only be more advanced than the NX-01 encountered. So, they can distribute commodities according to everyone's need. They even solved the "fiont row of a theather" problem by way of hologram. Everyone can has their own "front row". Due to the invention of replicator and holodeck, no needs (at least the ones we can think of today) can not be meet in Star Trek world.
It's a fantasy, there are certain elements to the series where you should suspend your disbelief and not think too hard about it. I mean there is the "credit" system which is probably similar to money and offers incentive. Perhaps you can use icredits for more Holodeck time, or better quarters, perhaps increased status. Or perhaps the "credit" system is a drug of some sort that sends them a rush of euphoria that makes their mundane activities seem fun to them. A system in the Star Trek universe would only work if people considered their jobs fun so they are willing to volunteer and do it for free. Perhaps there is some sort of technology that enhances their sense of duty and enjoyment from their jobs.
Without money, resources would have to be allocated from source to their optimal destination by... what? An incorruptible entity with transcendent economic insight which could manage resources properly? People don't produce goods and services simply to give them away.
Zero g environnement work perfect for robotic metal worker. After 100 years the space robots factrory will produce more spaceship than eart will ever need.
My biggest question is mostly how they can fill these flying coffins with so many useless civilians.
It's not Communism but Socialism. Actually, a kind of Democratic Socialism because the president and the council are all voted into office. Also, everyone contributes their talents to the best of their abilities while having access to all of the benefits of the society.
Well Earth people may not work to support themselves (because of the rations like you mentioned) but they might be motivated for some type of universal currency that they can spend traveling to places like Risan, a vacation paradise, which means all work is done for future other-worldly recreational purposes. Especially if the citizens have everything they could ever want/need to survive on Earth, then what's the point of living? To thrive. Humans might be able to thrive on Earth with what it offers, but eventually they'll want to explore and stretch their experiences beyond the planet.
It seems to me that the later eras of Star Trek seem to work on an expanded principle of gift economies present, amongst many places, in feudal villages. Most people in those villages wouldn't have any currency, currency was for the rich. What they had was what they made. They needed things they didn't have, but the things they did make other people didn't always need. Rather than having everyone work on the capitalist model we are used to and everyone dies because they don't have what they need, you give things to people. Say I make shoes. I give my shoes to the other people in the village. I do not demand payment, unless there is something they produce that I do need right now. Rather, I expect that, some time in the future, when I need something they produce, they will reciprocate and give to me. Now scale this up, and remove occupational restrictions due to education. I produce what I do because I am skilled at it and enjoy doing it, under the knowledge that others will do the same for me, and provide me with the other things I need to survive and carry out my life. The drive to do things is out of a combination of a love for the craft and societal pressure against being deadweight, provided by an expansive and competant education system, family care system, and sense of community provided by the technological connections between people. Not a perfect analogy, but it has worked on Earth before with lots of limitations Star Trek doesn't have, I don't see why it can't scale under different circumstances.
Sorry you're entirely wrong, financial incentive is not necessary in order to have the prestige of being the best and brightest. Pride in one's work is the incentive. Also, by this time, monetary concerns are completely gone in the earth economy. People do receive energy credits but those credits are hardly used within the same system while serving in the federation or utopia planetia. What they use them for is for items not necessary for life, such as a private ship or trading for goods with other species.
There is clearly some kind of economic system referenced in cannon, the federation credit. They just never really explain it. They also never showed the bathrooms, but we know the ships must have had toilets.
I can speculate, given what we know, that the economy must be energy based. Sort of like the old gold standard, only instead of being something physical it is a measured amount of energy. I.E. each credit gives the owner the right to a certain amount of power output which can be used for replicators or anything else.
Additionally it is also clear that non federation currencies exist as well, like the latinum from DS9.
The federation is post scarcity for all needs required for you to live comfortably (food water clothing housing education medical transportation) but luxuries and artisan goods and certain services still exist and are limited.
The federation basically provides all basic needs for free and have some sort of universal basic income for all citizens for buying limited services and goods which can be increased above the basic level by taking critical infrastructure and service jobs as incentivization they also probably reward innovation and creativity as well.
We can see this in numerous episodes where federation citizens buy things or use "credits".
Federation credits are probably valued via agreements that they can be exchanged for later use of federation services energy and infrastructure.
Seems too complicated, although I’d love to own a replicator and Mr laforge to fix it when it breaks down. Notice I said own mr laforge like he’s my slave lmao, like, like he was Picard and rikers slave 🤣 somethings never change 🤣🤣🤣🤣 someone’s gonna kick my ass for this comment 🤣🤣🤣🤣but I can not stop 😂😂😂😂🤪🤪😂😂😂
In the future, the biggest difference will be that the minimum income and maximum income will be limited. It is not rational that some people take zero and others infinite. With the interest of money diminished, many people will pursue other interests, work on what they like, etc. Get the free ebook on uniorder.org
No one will be scrubbing plasma conduits in the trek future. There will simply be 'conduit bots'. Machines will do everything better than humans. 'Money' will never cease to exist. The value of human labor will rise because the cost of it will shrink.
Human labor will keep evolving into doing things we can't yet imagine and things that many people will want to do. People will be paid more and more for doinng less and less. Of course this only happens if we can tamp down socialism.
A few factors in these debates which folk seems to be missing. 1 star trek is set post ww3 meaning the human population is vastly reduced leading to a greater abundance. 2. Automation is fundamental to this society therefore you have to opt out of it through personal choices so menial jobs are taken care of. The enterprise B onwards is self cleaning for example
Utopia is viable and is in fact the only way the society in star trek and ours will survive the current spree of economic crysis. There is a book written about that subject called: Uniorder- Build yourself paradise. Where it describes how to achieve the problem of our society if it keeps with the capitalist system is the waste of resources, human and material alike. What am I talking about, I'm talking about throwing away to keep the prices high, or human, you know, kinda like when you don't have a job. So in a resource based society, A.K.A. Utopia, where we deal directly with the amount of manpower and material resources available, the ocurrence of waste is minimal. Whereas with the capitalist model, it simulates lack of resources. What do I mean? What I mean with this is that the resources in this kind of economy are so poorly used that people still live in poverty because machines exist and they take all their jobs.
So in fact those matter replicators in a capitalist society would be catastrophic because it would mean that people couldnt work thus creating poverty and misery. Oh, and by the way, there was one episode of star trek voyager where and there where minimal resources, our hero's still chose to share and guess what, that was what saved them
I really don't see why people find it difficult to grasp the idea that you don't need to threaten people with starvation to get them to do work - people like doing work, for the most part, as long as it's rewarding, and even then different people find wildly different things rewarding.I know people who voluntarily pick litter, help out in old people's homes, work in charity shops, who dedicate their own time and scant financial resources to campaigning on issues which really matter to them, and who voluntarily put themselves on call 24/7 as search and rescue operators. I don't think for a moment that you'd struggle for engineers and scientists to build freaking spaceships in a voluntaristic system, as long as people's material needs were already met. It's drudgery and poverty which breeds apathy and laziness.
Simple answer, Star Trek economics is bullshit.
The term "limitless resources" keeps getting thrown about but there is NO SUCH THING.
You can only have ONE original VanGoh's Starry Night.
There is only ONE piece of land at Latitude X, Longitude Y for the beach house you, and many others desire.
The unique services of an individual are just that, unique, and the more people who want them the more valuable they are.
So either everyone in the Star Trek future has returned to some archaic form of trading of goods for services or some universal unit of value would exist... MONEY.
What money is NEEDED for is something else. With limitless power, food, shelter, etc. that money can be used for other pursuits but it must be there. Claiming it wouldn't is empty headed utopian thinking.
Case in point... Harry Mudd! Mudd's women, where he traded women making themselves look beautiful to miners as wives for compensation which CLEARLY HAD VALUE exists.
I get the feeling that Trekkies are reading too much into the Star Trek mythology. The writers of ST were intentionally vaque about the economic system of the federation for the simple reason that nobody at Paramount (when the Roddenberry Star Trek universe was alive) really knew what it was.
if you have a planet of like 14 billion (lets say population is huge in TNG time) only a few of them have to be altruistic enough to want to enlist in a starfleet and explore the galaxy. if i just had to show up at starfleet willing to give them my life for like 10 years and they do all my training -- i totally would.
i think like 5% of the population does anything of use, the rest are just people living and shit. if you have godlike magic tech basically, you only need a handful of people making ships if you have a global power. and if only the ones who are driven towards things like science and research have to do it - then you get lots of the best people.
It sounds great until you think of the shitty jobs. Its like when modern marxists talk about how we wont have to work soon because of automation they forget every single job that you cannot automate.... often not very pleasant jobs. Whos gonna drive the bin lorries and collect your trash? A robot would cost WAYYY too much and if it had a fault, would still need folk to come out and fix it and the mess it left.
Also while some things aren't limited like actual resources... services are. Risa for instance.. its gotta have a capacity and it services all races (ferengi are seen) so the "customer" base is immense.... bearing in mind its a galactic swingers party of relaxation and awesomeness apparently, thered be BILLIONS of people who just wanna live there so there has to be restrictions. You know that those with status or the powerful will get the preferential treatment and time slots there.
Then you got restaurants like Siskos dads... thats just a come dine as you like with no worry about paying so you can go often as you like too since theres no worry about affording it? What if a place gets too popular because the gumbo is just that delicious? Queuing out the door, round the block or massive wait list type thing?
On Earth everyone has what they need with matter replication, unlimited sources of cheap power and if you have a holodeck in your home then you can basically be God or Q while your in there with absolutely anything or anyone you can imagine.
While I do believe the Star Trek Federation is a Communist Utopia, it doesn’t include the rest of the universe. There also are ferengies, Klingons and Cardassians, who represent the worst of mankind, especially in Socialist Societies. Star Trek shows how Communism can work and not work. You take perfect moral humans and stick them in societies where socialism and communism fail on every level. While Communism works in Star Trek, it only works, because those in charge are moral people. That’s why characters like Worf never take the title of Starfleet Command.
Unfortunately, humans are not good and are just as vile as the Klingons, ferengies and cardassians. Just like those societies, we can’t live in Communist or Socialist societies or we will fall apart by our vile nature as seen in Star Trek why other races can’t live in a Communist Society. Mandkind in Star Trek explore the flaws in other societies, telling us that Star Trek isn’t condoning communism, but explores it.
That’s my interpretation anyways.
Look up the Venus project and Zeitgeist movement, and Watch the documentary on Netflix, Zeitgeist Moving Forward. Where you will wear in the real psychology of incentive, and human nature. Also, about a Resource Base Economy.
The Dave Cullen Show
You don't get it. Once commodities are infinitely reproducible by machines, there is nothing one needs to do, and the motivation to do anything is strictly avocational, a hobby interest. Sitting home, watching videos and listening to music and eating only lasts so long before people begin to invent sociopolitical structures that allow people to compete for the most choice academic and skilled positions so that they get to do fantastic things, like build and serve on star ships, FOR FREE, all needs are met. Lesser avocational positions are to be had on planet in their society. We want ONLY people who are interested in fields, like medicine, and engineering, to fill those avocational positions. With virtually infinite access to energy, we can expand technical society as much as there are people who wish to join those fields as their hobbies. Those who do art and music and video are also free to do those as well for those who want to stay home and merely watch. And this kind of society doesn't even require infinite energy or commodities, as many will probably wish to undertake crafts and make things for others and get applause and enjoyment from others for their efforts. In any society where all needs are already fully met, and all are vying to produce things they enjoy making, the abundance of such societies will be so vast that no compensation is needed, nor will anything have to be paid for. When the sheer number of our structures, homes, workshops, industries have outstripped the population so completely, no one needs to buy housing or workshops, or tools or anything they seek to produce craft with. We will simply have too much of everything, and even food will be overproduced so that we may have 30 years supply for the planet over what we currently need. Life will be completely avocational and even the highest paid jobs now will both have too many qualified people to give them all positions, and continuously require new avocational endeavors be started merely to occupy everyone's time to the degree they wish to recreate.
Star trek seems to be a mix of the very best of socialism( health care limitless resources for all wich are only possible with a magic wall) and libertarian values. "my species is founded on freedom and selfdetermanation" capt. Jaun luc Pecard
Its merely post scarcity capitalism. Being "post" scarcity doesnt mean everyone has equal access to all resources. In a world where matter replicators can convert raw materials into usable objects the idea behind economics is you still need those raw materials. So lets break it down: this incentivizes some people to mine resources of various types from the ground, they exchange these raw materials to people with the machinery and knowhow to convert them into usable parts which other people are incentivized to buy so they themselves make their self worth higher by receiving training etc. etc. Its basic economics its just the matter replicator acts like a more advanced (and thus needs higher skill to design, build and maintain) 3D printer of today. Without automation true communist "utopia" cant exist. And we wouldn't want it to anyway. People crave responsibility, it gives their live's meaning.
These peaceful explorers arent exactly all nice people. Most of what the Enterprise crews do is trip traps and scout resources as a first wave scout. Then the markers, miners, startups and colonists start rolling in in waves. Then the cargo haulers are incentives to tap this new resource market. Its classic capitalism since you constantly here about how freighters are privately owned and colonists are legally free to do as they like. The only government agency that gets any screentime is ironically the Enterprise herself and other Navy ships.
It is inconceivable to us how people will in star trek age get motivated, but since it is fiction let be fictional =)
today we have a money-driven society, exchange that with professionalism driven society, just like you said there is someone who wanted "this" ship be made. What about a new crew who just ended their education under the professional guidance, or ended their education and needed a ship to work. Won't go into today examples they are too political.
Space is really big and you can never end/stop exploring it. Furthermore, the amount of knowledge needed to be a first level engineer on a spaceship I would boldly presume is almost like being a top engineer at NASA, go and count them not very many.
Star Trek is true communism. Communism is a classless society. There is no war or poverty on earth. Communism doesnt mean that u dont have private property, it means that the means of production are not in private property, and in Star Trek (as long as I understand it) its not. There a communist theorys with free market (Eurocommunism, NEP), and people rights. Star Trek is communism, but not stalinism or maoism. Star Trek is communism as it should be.
A lot of the early and most important physicist were wealthy men--Like Sir Isaac Newton. They had all the money they've ever wanted, so why would they slave away trying to uncover the mysteries of the the Universe? Especially since none of their discoveries actually earned them money. Some of the greatest artist, like Van Gogh, were never recognized in their time and they live in squalor. Yet they continued to paint.
I think the idea of Star Trek was people "worked" doing what they liked. Sisko's dad probably liked to cook and liked the different people the restaurant attacked. If he didn't want to peel potatoes, he could simply replicate peeled potatoes. It is probably the case that people earned the privilege of serving on star-ships and they came with a lot of benefits--like visiting strange new world. I'm sure it wasn't only away teams that got to go on adventures. If you have a scientific fascination, but not necessarily the best of the best minds, you would jump at the chance to be next to so many gifted scientist and serve on a scientific vessel.
This... this is not one of your better videos. There is so much that's so wrong that I don't know where to start, so I won't start at all, but I will say this: by the time of TNG, the UFP has about 150 member worlds, all with their own histories, philosophies, technologies, expertise, and experiences. To suggest "Trekonomics" must necessarily be framed in the primitive terminologies or ideologies of post-Industrial Revolution Earth is simply a dismissal of the collective knowledge of a fictional future human society, as well as the (again, fictional) sum total of knowledge collected by other 149 worlds.
If you're having trouble trying to describe the Federation with words like "communist" or "capitalist", it's probably because you've forgotten that there's likely an entire vocabulary of socioeconomic and sociopolitical terms derived from a vast collection of shared knowledge from literally billions (or possibly trillions) of sentient beings across hundreds of species over tens or hundreds of thousands of years.
P.S. There is a huge difference between personal property and private property.
No-one is coming for Worf's tooth-sharpener. And not just because it's Worf's.
Why would anyone want to better themselves when you have holodecks and replicators?
Bettering yourself is hard and boring.
Holodecks are easy and fun!
You want sex you got it. You want to fight Goku? Congratulations you win!
Humanity would be extinct in short order.
The fact you consider financial incentive to be the only one to encourage excellence only demonstrates your own failings and narrow-mindedness. Not fit for the Federation of the future old son ;) Many studies have been done in workplace environments with regard to productivity and creativity, and beyond a certain comfort level of remuneration that removes financial stress increased financial reward is a NEGATIVE factor as opposed to other forms of satisfaction and achievement.
Gold pressed latinum holo suites cost credits everything on dps9 cost money. The federation is a kind of communist system but it is only one of the many different systems we've seen on star trek, some might say every star system they visit has not been like the federation including political, economics, social issues, then there's simple fact that the federation allows and in some cases push relegion remember the whole point of the emmesary ds9 arch. You answered you own question with do bars and restaurants charge for their services the answer is yes. In the case of captain telling the earth engineer that money is a thing of past. That's either the captain trying to steer the situation in the future he sees are just lazy script writing. The forengi system is based on making profit, the klingon empire is an empire. So no star trek is not a cummumist utopia, and matter of star trek fact there are no utopian civilizations within the federation.
The big difference is. The definitions of private property and personal property differentiate the two types. Private property is the ownership of businesses which exploit the surplus labour of others.
Essentially, self employment, free trade solely as individuals or in the case of the Federation, the collective ownership, of the means of production means that they are socialist/communist.
Starfleet is, despite their objections, the military. But everyone else you see usually is either self employed or works as part of an agency/project. Overseen by a committee (such as the Oceanic Engineering project when Picard returns from BoBW) Besides DS9 and the Ferengi/Bajoran communities (which aren't Federation worlds) and of course the Klingons (who are just allies). Everyone is either state employed or self employed. Even Jake works for the Federation News Service. Not a privately contracted paper.
As a communist myself i'd say it boils down to how democratic and how horizontally organized the Federation is. If each member world is free to act, and indeed free to leave. If every Federation Citizen has the right to vote and stand for office. If every decision save that of military decisions, is made collectively by a core representative group pertaining to each part of the Federation's economic and social structure. Then I'd say they were Socialist, or as the meme goes, Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communists.
If its very top down and representative democracy by an oligarchal group. Then I'd say its State Capitalist. Or at least Social Democracy.
Anyway, Good Vid.
Yeah, the Economics of Star Trek did seem nebulous and poorly defined. You're really hit the core of the issue, when you mentioned replicator technology. If we today had the capability, and I think in some ways we're getting close from what I've read of the potential of 3-D printers, it would be as much of a titanic shift as the one from the Agrarian age to the Industrial, particularly with the advent of the Assembly Line.
Additionally, some form of monetary exchange exist within the ST universe at least between the Federation and other galactic "nations." If you recall the TOS episode, "Mudd's Women," the Enterprise burnt out it's dilithium crystals and need to buy them from a mining planet that, if I remember correctly, wasn't part of the Federation proper. The Federation worked out some sort of agreement by which Starfleet would offer the planet protection and supplies, and the miners would provide the Federation dilithium, if I'm remembering correctly. Also, Kirk request for crystal was beyond the contractual agreement, which is why the Enterprise needed to make an special requisition and pay for them---again it's been several years since I've seen the episode.
And finally, in Deep Space Nine, the Federation officials and Starfleet personal are often seen trading "gold-pressed latinum" with the Ferengis for goods and services. So, clearly, there is some sort of monetary exchange system in place.
What I think Picard refers to Star Trek: First Contact is that Federation citizen don't order their lives solely around rapacious, predatory capitalism, such as was written about in The Big Short or The Wolf Wall Street would be incompatible in Federation society.
Maybe you have to do work to earn the right to replicate certain items and without that right you can't replicate anything besides the things you need to live. That would give people a reward to work towards. I also expect that education would be freely availible for everyone throughout their whole life and that people would take that opportunity because they wouldn't have to worry about debt or feeding themselfs without an income.
Because it is post scarcity it is neither capitalist or communist. As for "property of the federation". Consider this. In the real world right now almost no one really owns real estate in the true sense of ownership. What is known as Allodial title, with no higher landlord, falls only to nation states, and perhaps native tribes in the US (as Aboriginal title). In the federation "property" exist but in the truest sense of the word no one really has it. No one needs it everyone has so much of everything that the concept of "this shirt is mine" is almost irrelevant. As soon as you are done wearing it for the day you put it in the matter recycler and the energy it is made of becomes someone else's steak for dinner.
As for motivating people. The truth probably is that the people we see in star trek are not the majority. Mostly we see the intrepid explorer's and their families and friends. People who are internally motivated. Most people in the federation could be living in one room holodecks, living out whatever fantasy life they want as long as the power stays on.
The closest to a description of Federation economy comes from Voyager...however this is due to the ship's limited energy supply so it may not apply to the rest of society...
In Voyager, there are several instances where crew members deal "replicator rations" in exchange for favors, or to repay a debt to someone else.
It IS entirely possible that Federation economics in general are energy-based instead of currency-based. Sisko's father could be paid in terms of energy credits, which in turn allows him to keep his business running and obtain things he desires outside of his workplace. This would mean that "money" still exists, but has been changed from legal tender/Resource-based to energy, which is readily available and controlled by the UFP government.
Also, some things would likely be difficult to replicate. For instance, Ferengi have access to replicators, so why don't they replicate vast quantities of gold-pressed latinum for their economic needs? This is never even touched on in DS9, but it's something that makes little sense, unless there ARE some things which, for some reason, simply cannot be created with matter replicators.
In Star Trek Voyager shows a team of holograms (looking excactly like the Doctor) doing the dirty job in a mine.So,there is no need for people to do that kind of jobs.But if you want a carrer in Starfleet as an engineer,you have to start at the bottom just like we do.
I don't think "we work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity" would be enough motivation.
Is there anyway that Federation society could be improved? Not materially unless we assume scarcity, in which case there would probably be a need for an economic system.
Just humanity, what about the other races?
A lot of people are saying that there isn't any scarcity in star trek. I think this obviously isn't true.
If there is no scarcity of any resource then:
In war, why can't star fleet just produce an infinite number of star ships?
Why does star fleet need personal?
Why bother researching and developing technology?
Well, in the star trek universe ‘according to First Contact’ there was a third world war that crippled all governments leading to a social collapse. Then warp drive was invented and attracted the attention of aliens, Vulcans, who then helped dig humanity out of an economical hole and helped advance their technological expertise to invent replicators.
The idea is that if you can completely collapse the old world, our current world, and rebuild it then you can make it anything you want. The corruption and greed we have now would need to be wiped out with a third world war so that a better world can be built on top of it.
Star Trek is just an idealistic representation of what we can do if we truly put our collective minds to it. Work to better ourselves instead of being at each others wallets and throats all the time, like we always are.
Ok so you're born into a post-scarcity resource based economy. Anything you could possibly need is a button press away, no demands are made of you, and the only real scarcity is social in nature. What do you do now? I, a hypothetical federation citizen, want to do more than watch holodeck porn all day, that would make people think I was useless. Maybe I wanna see the galaxy, I want a little danger, a little structure, and a little organized respect, and I just so happen to have a knack for scrubbing plasma conduits. Well, if you ask me, if that's my ticket in to working on a bona fide high tech star ship, then I'm gonna sacrifice (pay) some of my freedom to purchase that spot. If I work hard I will see returns for investment (promotion) and eventually come home with thousands of stories everyone I grew up with are dying to hear, having accomplished what my peers could only dream of.
It's not *just* for the benefit of humanity imho, there are powerful social pressures there too.
communism is a political ideology, and socialism is an economics model, so please don't mix the two. yes, star trek seems socialist, but in the far future where socialist democracy exists, just as it starts to exist today in most advanced european countries.
I think one of the things you're missing is their ability to use non-sentient AI technology to do some of the dirtier jobs, as in the way they used the rest of the mark 1 EMH's to clean up those plasma conduits you mentioned. In fact, anywhere a menial task was repeatedly performed, they could simply install holo-emitters and generate holograms to do the work. And that's not even getting in to their robotics capabilities.
Working to better themselves is a very nice idea, however, who would really scrub toilets without pay. In reality, no matter how much we better ourselves, we will always have some kind of money system. That being said, it should also be noted that in the original series and even in some of the episodes in the newer shows, there is some sort of money. Star Trek continuity on this matter has never been consistent.
I feel as if the world of Star Trek is predominantly Socialistic in the way it is run, in a post-scarcity economy, Capitalist economics become practically redundant, the technologies necessary for such a society render the need for menial labour redundant also.
There is infinite resources (practically) and no requirement for human beings to work in menial labour, as an extension to this, those who do still work with their hands, for example the cook you mentioned, would almost certainly do it because they wanted to, many people love working with their hands, creating food, works of art in their eyes, after all, in a world where replicators exist, one would only go to a restaurant for the work for a master, which is almost certainly why he still worked in the kitchen.
The motivations of work aren't just money, and as a Communist myself, I find that many whom support a Free-Market seem to discount satisfaction as motivation for work, people don't like doing nothing all day, generally, people aren't lazy, we try to find something to do, a purpose in this life, and for most people, work could provide that, in a society where work is a choice not a demand, most people would almost certainly still be working, they'd just be working on things which granted them enjoyment rather than working in places which made them miserable just so they could survive.
Now, of course, a Communist society is presently impossible in any human society of scale, we can't expect all humans to suddenly become extremely empathetic and try to create this society, the human element required is still too large, and prone to corruption, it is for this reason, after all, that societies like that in the Soviet Union fell.
I find, generally, the quest for wealth beyond the point of comfort is generally for the aim of attaining social status, wealth alone isn't worth much to people beyond a certain level, it is what wealth represents in our society. Wealthy people are beloved by much of society for enriching the economy and working hard for their wealth, money becomes a social reward, not a material one, and so in a post-scarcity society, where everyone is comfortable and currency is abolished, the means through which to gain social standing shift from the acquisition of material wealth to good deeds and actions. Human beings are fundamentally self-interested, but self-interest isn't necessarily selfish, and in the case of a society like we see in Star Trek, self interest, more specifically, the need to advance one's social standing, is made possible through merit, going beyond the norm and doing great things.
Essentially, if money no longer existed and we lived in a post-scarcity economy, it stands to reason that many people would be motivated to work both by the need to fill our lives with something other than constant boredom, and that society would likely reward talented individuals with social standing rather than money.
TL;DR: In a post scarcity society, social standing and meaning in life will motivate people to work, as beyond comfort, money essentially motivates people by offering increased social standing.
This question is discussed in the book Trekonomics by Manu Saadia. This book is a serious scholarly work which investigates life in a post scarcity society. It refers to an essay published by John Maynard Keynes, the greatest economist of the 20th century, in 1931 titled "The Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren." In this essay, Keynes asks what life will be like 100 years in the future: in 2031. Keynes postulates that society will be four to eight times wealthier than it was in 1931. (He is off in his estimates; our society is currently twelve times wealthier than it was in 1931.) In Keynes' view, life and values in a post scarcity society will be quite different, since the main problem in economics has been solved. For example, the acquisition of wealth in such a society is viewed as a form of mental illness. Currently, we live in a post scarcity society, which argues for an abandonment of the 19th century thinking which dominates our public discourse.
I see most, if not all "menial" tasks as likely being either aided by specialized machines, or automated outright, with the only exceptions being tasks that are relevant to your chosen career path where a better alternative that doesn't exist.
In this way, you would be free to pursue things that interest you. In my case, I'd probably spend most of my time on art and politics.
And I'm not sure that the Federation economy classifies as Communism in a pure sense. It doesn't match the definition of Communism, in which all classes are abolished, all property is owned by the public, and people are paid according to their skills and the demand of those skills, even if you excluded the thing about advocation for class warfare.
While it does appear that there is no lower, middle, and upper class in the Federation, and hence that all financial classes are abolished, that's it. It is established that you are not paid for work. It seems that everyone is provided with what they need to live, plus comforts consistent with what you expect in a middle-class lifestyle plus 200-300 years of progress.
And while there was an attempt to define Data as property, there are laws that establish that anyone or anything who can prove their sentience cannot be owned. And the fact that Benjamin Sisko's father owns a restaurant on Earth likely means that Federation citizens are entitled to some form of property, something that I'm guessing that Karl Marx's vision of Communism would not allow for.
I think that credits are mentioned in TOS, so I think that Earth transitioned from Capitalism to a form of Socialism over time. But the Federation that we see doesn't match the definition of Communism, and that's a good thing.
I think the reward is social standing, personal growth, for charity (working menial jobs because it's necessary and you choose to fill that need to benefit the whole), and just for something to do.
You could also encourage competition by allowing anyone and any group to have the opportunity to develop and make things, and then the best is chosen, or the people can choose which they like. The motivation is to be the best, instead of being paid the most. It could work with a social and internal shift of priorities, values, and ethics.
You could still have shops, and people pick the things they like, without worrying about the cost of buying something.
You could still encourage competition of efficiency, and instead of that being to save money, it is to be the best at being efficient.
All of this is doable, but not without dedication and a real change in our values and attitudes to life in general.
I recall Crusher telling the merchant on Farpoint station to charge Crusher on Enterprise for the bolt of fabric.
I imagine credits aka crypto currency like bitcoin or Litecoin is used for items that are above necessities.
No one goes without food, water, clothes, education, housing, or healthcare but any luxury above that is earned via credits or crypto currency.
You only ever see (as far as I recall) the military/bureaucratic part of The Federation (either in a space ship, space station, or the like) and for the most part those attracted to such careers do so out of a sense of service and are partly paid both from the duty for filled and from status earned. Not to mention other non-monetary forms of payment - power, authority, doing something that interests you, seeing the universe etc. I am sure the people building the ships and the corporations contracted to build them are earning good coin - we are human after all no matter how much that may vex the leftards.
Capitalism pretty much exists in tandem with scarcity. Removing scarcity from the equation - especially given the advent of technologies like replicators - would greatly impact any currently used economic structure. Defining it as a communist utopia, however (especially given the general misconceptions of what that means based on how it has been practiced), wouldn't be accurate or fair.
It's meritocracy, with ambition being driven by Status, and Passion rather then by the goal of question of wealth. People nativally want to be valued and want to find status in their respective societies money or not. Money is just one way of showing status in star trek it's more measured by your merits and your passion/talent. Not by resource extraction or the seizure of wealth. Even though there is still wealth it is not what drives the basis of federation, or the behaviors of it's people. Though there are exceptions, just like there are in other alien races like unhonorable klingons.
I always believed they were getting compensated with time off. Part of how communism works is that you get from society if you give to society it isn’t just free money. To be Chief Engineer you have put in a lot of time and energy and are rewarded with your rank. Nobody just ages into their position. IIRC the episode where Picard almost dies and Q sends him back Picard ended up and elderly Ensign. He didn’t give to Starfleet in the same manner as he once did so he didn’t get a life he considered fulfilled. Also that is the economics of Starfleet. Let us not forget that wormhole episode where different species were bidding on the rights to the wormhole. Clearly there is still money going on at the top, but at the bottom it means nothing since you have replicators and virtually infinite energy.
Star Trek is very obviously a communist utopia. But like all utopias, it wouldn't work in the real world... and not even in the technological wonderland that is federation.
On another note, Marx himself predicated Communism on disappearance of scarcity. In a world of total abundance (presumably as a result of technological advancement) everyone is infinitely wealthy and therefore there is no need for money which is basically a tool of measuring relative wealth between economical subjects. And private property wouldn't be needed anymore as well for the same reason.
His contention was that Communism was an ideal, an utopia, something which is to be the consequence of other conditions... conditions that would quite probably never come to be. A thought experiment, really. What if... In its essence, what he claimed is that you can't have communism along with scarcity. It would inevitably produce tyranny. Socialism on the other hand....
That's why he famously claimed that he, Karl Marx, is not a marxist. He saw that people claiming to be his followers and advocating "communism" are either disastrously wrong or have ulterior motives. Both of which proved true.