Thread: Were they paid?
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Old May 5 2013, 06:40 PM   #17
Re: Were they paid?

The obvious setup here is that the consumer economy has ceased to use money. Yes, industries still count the pennies so that meals, skyscrapers and starships can be produced and personnel can be trained. But everything is free of cost for the consumer, and no individual person ever gets paid.

That's not particularly different from how things are run today, even. You can be a "consumer" at a school and pay zero pence for your education and get zero pence for homework, for example. Or a soldier who only gets symbolic pay and totally free lunches, until returning to the civilian life. Paying and getting paid is for other people outside your immediate framework, and does not affect your own existence.

It's just that consumer economy today is a fairly large sector of the overall economy, and the various (and numerous) no-salary, charity-labor organizations very much operate within this larger framework. But even in the late 22nd century specified by Paris, consumer economy might have become an utterly insignificant fraction of the overall economy, and nobody would even notice if people stopped paying for food or electronics and stopped getting salaries.

There's no inherent need to have people handle money. That can be left to businesses, corporations, organizations - and totally automated for greater efficacy. Well, there is the aspect of using money to blackmail unwilling people into working, but that is completely dependent on how many people need to work in order to keep the world running for the rest. By the late 22nd century, it might be that only 0.0002% of Earth's population needs to contribute labor in order to keep the planet spinning, and a well-organized IT system will make it trivially easy to get volunteers for all the required jobs.

Say, you need somebody to keep the sewer-cleaning machines working - so you draft a new guy for the job every week, as the work isn't particularly inspiring but isn't particularly demanding, either, and volunteers will line up for such brief, diversionary spells. And you need a brain surgeon - so you draft a dedicated volunteer who just loves being a brain surgeon, because that's what you would have to do in a salary-based system as well, because it takes immense dedication to go through the required studies for that particular job for a potential future financial compensation but current near-starvation.

Basically, money probably did go the way of the dinosaur - it mutated into birds, and now soars high above the consumer, never touching him. Except when dealing with less sophisticated economies, but happily only Starfleet will typically have to get its hands dirty with that sort of thing.

Timo Saloniemi
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