Ln X wrote:
plus replicators could not produce energy itself ...
I wouldn't think that it would. The replicator would consume
energy when recycling items back into base materials.
and for those reasons you can't solely have a economy based entirely on replicators themselves
I don't believe the Federation's economy is based solely upon the replicator. There would be other means of producing things.
... it explains why characters complain about replicated food ...
Riker: "You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat, but inorganically materialised ..."
The replicator makes a lot of sense under certain conditions. If you're going to be aboard a starship, out in the middle of no-where for years on end, the replicator is better than hauling enough food for everyone aboard the ship. The 1,019 people aboard the Enterprise Dee would eat about one thousand tonnes of food a year, and three quarters of a million liters of fluids. 1 Liter equals 1 Kilogram. The inclusion of a replicator extends a ships range and utility. The same would apply for a space station.
But what about people living on a planet? There is evidence that farming does take place, even on high tech Earth. And the harvesting of fish. Do the people of Earth get the majority of their food from replicators? Or from tradition sources?