Temis the Vorta wrote:
I still say: the replicator did it. Remove scarcity, and you change the economic system completely.
I recently finished Makers: The New Industrial Revolution
. It predicts that replicator-like technology is coming soon. People feel compelled to create open-source parts that can be shared and replicated on the Internet. The value of manufactured goods is already decreasing. This will continue as people manufacture open-source parts they share over the Internet, similar to how personal Youtube videos (provided for free as a labor of love) have replaced some commercial TV viewing.
I don't know if this is true, but I could see elements of it happening and realizing some of the Star Trek economy. Maybe all the cost to produce goods by replicator is trifling, like the cost of water from a bubbler. Maybe the patterns, designs, and software are produced as a labor of love and for recognition as an expert in the field.
I don't know if this could work because it seems like eventually there would be some things that are scarce, esp things that require someone else's time.
It requires stretching my imagination, but I can imagine people ordering dinner the way we stop by a bubbler in the park. If they want something special, they go to a place like Sisko's father's restaurant where you give them respect and publicity for providing something special.
Another book to check out in the vein is Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
. It provides cases where paying people paradoxically makes a task a chore and not paying them makes it a fun game that they are inclined to work harder at.
I am not predicting a future with a Star Trek economy. Based on what I've seen with open-source hardware and software in the past few years, though, it's much easier to suspend belief when Star Trek economics comes up.