Capitalism could not work in the TNG-verse. Capitalism only works in a world with limited resources and we assign value to that resource based on the quantity of it available and how difficult it is to make. However, in TNG it appears that energy is near-limitless, and replicators can create whatever you desire in a matter of seconds. As a result, there's no value to anything, everything is practically in infinite supply. In the TNG-verse, capitalism is simply obsolete.
Personally, of all the fantasy and sci-fi universes I know of, the TNG-verse is the one I would most like to live in. It's not perfect, and the laws of physics say that it's impossible, but I would love to live in a world where there's no war or poverty, and whatever I want I can have. A universe where a man like Joseph Sisko runs a restaurant because he enjoys it, not because he feels he has to pay off his mortgage. It's not quite paradise, but it's better than what we have now.
I suppose if there was literally no limit on the production of resources, then socialism might
work. However, I personally would still have problems living in the Trekverse, even though it would indeed be a comfortable life.
For example, it seems to me that the UFP government exerts a vast control over the lives of citizens - given what little we've seen of the government or civilian life. In one episode of TOS, Mudd's Women
, miners who live out in the boondocks still have to submit to regular Starfleet examinations and health check-ups simply because they're told to. If they don't, they lose their mining license. The episode plays it like the miners are essentially their own independent group which sells dilithium crystals to the Federation. So, the government can insist on overseeing the work environment and health status of people who don't even work "for" them and live, by all accounts, outside the Federation?
In one episode of DS9, Doctor Bashir, I Presume
, Starfleet exercises legal authority over the crimes of a civilian, Richard Bashir. The military operates civilian courts?
I guess I'm just too much of a limited government supporter. After all, that's why I didn't vote for either Obama or McCain - they're both supporters of massively big government.
I felt the same way when I was watching season 2, I found the show mostly enjoyable but it didn't appear to be anything special. However, season 3 was very good and I awarded it the highest score of any season I've reviewed so far, and season 4 is off to a very strong start. It's not a perfect show by any means, but for its time it was leading the way for science fiction, and looking at the sci-fi produced over the last decade it seems that it was a major influence.
I have to say, it was your review thread that got me to watch it.
I've just finished the fourth episode of the second season and am racing through them as fast as I can on Hulu.com to catch up (I'm watching four or five a day). It really helps to have next to no social life sometimes.