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Old January 14 2012, 06:05 PM   #1
The Overlord
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Ferengi Corporations

Since the Ferengi alliance is supposed to be an ultra capitalist society, why didn't we see more of Ferengi corporations? In the age of colonialism many private companies went on colonial ventures. India was originally conquered by the "East India Company", it wasn't until later that the British crown assumed control over India.

It make sense that a lot of the Ferengi starships the Federation would meet would be under the command of a corporation, rather the Ferengi government. I think seeing more of privately owned Ferengi starships would have made them more of an interesting villain (when they were supposed to be villains) and different from other civilizations. You could have Ferengi Corporations trade with and end up colonizing less developed civilizations.
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Old January 14 2012, 06:19 PM   #2
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Slug-O-Cola?
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Old January 14 2012, 06:20 PM   #3
horatio83
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Quark is a businessman and he has employees. The basic idea has been that Ferengi are a bunch of privateers, not people who are docile enough to work in gigantic bureaucratic structures.
The part of the Ferengi government we see, the Grand Nagus, is as capitalist as it gets. Note that colonizing has often been done by governments. Take a look at what the Chinese are currently doing in Africa, that's only possible with a strong autocratic government (which is basically the same as a large corporation). Hard to picture Ferengi being engaged in such activity.
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Old January 14 2012, 06:45 PM   #4
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
Slug-O-Cola?
#the slimiest cola in the galaxy...#
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Old January 14 2012, 08:39 PM   #5
The Overlord
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

horatio83 wrote: View Post
Quark is a businessman and he has employees. The basic idea has been that Ferengi are a bunch of privateers, not people who are docile enough to work in gigantic bureaucratic structures.
The part of the Ferengi government we see, the Grand Nagus, is as capitalist as it gets. Note that colonizing has often been done by governments. Take a look at what the Chinese are currently doing in Africa, that's only possible with a strong autocratic government (which is basically the same as a large corporation). Hard to picture Ferengi being engaged in such activity.
Quark's business is a sole proprietorship, not a corporation.

Also I think if the Ferengi were supposed to be a commentary about capitalism run amok (specifically American capitalism) the Ferengi should have had corporations. In their first appearance they seemed like a generic warrior culture, rather then business men.

Also I don't think that just because Ferengi society is about acquiring profit, that doesn't mean every Ferengi is suited to be business leaders, its the reason why Quark ran the bar, while Rom was just his subordinate, because Quark had a more forceful personality and better business skills, despite the fact Rom had better technical skills then Quark. I do think some Ferengi would be docile enough to work in a corporation rather then everyone in their society trying to be an entrepreneur.

I think one of the problems Ferengi as villains is they had no patience and a desire for instant gratification, almost none of them seemed like more sinister, subtle long term planners. So yeah written like that, they can't create corporations, but they also don't work as effective villains either. Lex Luthor is driven by greed and ego, but he comes off as a rather subtle, long term schemer.
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Old January 14 2012, 11:32 PM   #6
Rojixus
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

I always thought of the Ferengi Alliance as one big corporation.
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Old January 14 2012, 11:48 PM   #7
horatio83
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

The Overlord wrote: View Post
horatio83 wrote: View Post
Quark is a businessman and he has employees. The basic idea has been that Ferengi are a bunch of privateers, not people who are docile enough to work in gigantic bureaucratic structures.
The part of the Ferengi government we see, the Grand Nagus, is as capitalist as it gets. Note that colonizing has often been done by governments. Take a look at what the Chinese are currently doing in Africa, that's only possible with a strong autocratic government (which is basically the same as a large corporation). Hard to picture Ferengi being engaged in such activity.
Quark's business is a sole proprietorship, not a corporation.

Also I think if the Ferengi were supposed to be a commentary about capitalism run amok (specifically American capitalism) the Ferengi should have had corporations. In their first appearance they seemed like a generic warrior culture, rather then business men.

Also I don't think that just because Ferengi society is about acquiring profit, that doesn't mean every Ferengi is suited to be business leaders, its the reason why Quark ran the bar, while Rom was just his subordinate, because Quark had a more forceful personality and better business skills, despite the fact Rom had better technical skills then Quark. I do think some Ferengi would be docile enough to work in a corporation rather then everyone in their society trying to be an entrepreneur.

I think one of the problems Ferengi as villains is they had no patience and a desire for instant gratification, almost none of them seemed like more sinister, subtle long term planners. So yeah written like that, they can't create corporations, but they also don't work as effective villains either. Lex Luthor is driven by greed and ego, but he comes off as a rather subtle, long term schemer.
While I totally agree that corporate power is a serious contemporary problem I don't think that the Ferengi were meant to be much of a commentary on this.
Good point about Ferengi like Rom.
I think that realism gets automatically satisfied when you turn a species into a caricature of ourselves. I doubt that Ferengi culture as we see it would be stable in reality. We enjoy economic success and political stability because we have so many rules, explicit and implicit ones. That's the main paradox of liberalism, while we enjoy as many freedoms as never before in history we also need an abundance of rules to maintain this very space of freedom and prosperity. Ferengi seem to be basically anarchists, the only rule is that you should exploit each other. You gotta ask the Pakled question, would such a society really make it to the stars?
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Old January 15 2012, 10:03 AM   #8
The Green Mushroom
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

I think that I have trouble seeing the Ferengi having corporations now that I think about it. It seems that the ideal of Ferengi culture is to be profitable no matter the cost to others. That theory makes it difficult for me to see Ferengi pooling their resources and working together long term to share the profits.

I can see a few Ferengi coming together for just long enough for their venture to make a buck and then turning on each other to become the one guy at the top who controls all the profit. And then only if they are family members to begin with. I can almost see that has being what happened to Quark and Rom, they worked together to get the bar started but there was no real question that Quark was the owner Rom the employee--and if Rom didn't like it, he could try and find work the other way around.

Through my (possibly limited) understanding of free market of pure capitalism, corporations are not really part of the free market system. Instead of people competing to get their share of the pie, a corporation pools the resources of many to get the whole pie before anyone else gets the chance. As I understand things, real capitalism is a bunch of mom-and-pop stores on Main Street, not an unregulated Wall Street. So maybe the non-corporation having Ferengi are better capitalists than we are.
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Old January 17 2012, 01:52 AM   #9
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

I always rather hoped that we'd see the Ferengi developed in to the sort of reflection of ultra libertarianism, the logical conclusion of the views that some people hold in politics today, that almost everything that can be privately run should be privately run, including the obvious ones like medicine, but also things like social security, the police force (think militias protecting business for money), the education system, etc. etc.

I guess there simply weren't enough episodes to give them this sort of depth, though.

It would have been amusing to see one Grand Nagus claiming to represent some percent of all Ferengi one week and then a different one pop up the next week after a series of hostile takeovers on the homeworld made him the new "planetary CEO".

I always found the whole Ferengi social reformation a little hard to swallow, surely the best way to promote social change in Ferengi society is to set up a competing society 'megacorp' and attract your competition's clientele with the offer of clothes and medical care for low low prices!
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Old January 17 2012, 02:05 AM   #10
Anwar
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Also, for stories about Ferengi Corporations to have much impact on the Feds, the Feds would themselves have to still have a normal capitalist economy too. The replicator and the "No Money" thing really cut off the potential of the Ferengi.
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Old January 17 2012, 07:29 AM   #11
The Overlord
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Anwar wrote: View Post
Also, for stories about Ferengi Corporations to have much impact on the Feds, the Feds would themselves have to still have a normal capitalist economy too. The replicator and the "No Money" thing really cut off the potential of the Ferengi.
Ferengi Corporations could still have had an effect on the Federation even though the Federation doesn't have a capitalist economy.

If a Ferengi Corporation was dumping toxic waste on a Federation world, that would affect the Federation. If Ferengi corporations were trying to influence galactic trade policies and were campaigning against other civilizations joining the Federation because they didn't want them to join the socialist economy of the Federation, that would effect the Federation. The fact that the Federation still trades means Ferengi Corporations can try to get influence, they can always try to corner the market on something the Federation wants.
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Old January 17 2012, 04:39 PM   #12
Anwar
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Yeah, that could work. Problem was that the writers were more interested in writing them as a bunch of Space Pirate wannabes instead of proper Corporate villain types (or just plain Corporate types that are neutral).

Then again, seeing how Star Wars used the same idea with the Trade Federation, maybe "Space Capitalists" are always doomed to being pansies...
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Old January 17 2012, 09:38 PM   #13
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

It is a shame the writers turned them into pure comic relief.
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Old January 18 2012, 09:37 AM   #14
Yevetha
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

I think a ferengi megacorp is impossibel unless the workers are from offworld. Ferengi lack the discipline to keep a megacorp together.

Through my (possibly limited) understanding of free market of pure capitalism, corporations are not really part of the free market system. Instead of people competing to get their share of the pie, a corporation pools the resources of many to get the whole pie before anyone else gets the chance.
Corporations also lobby for rules to keep their competition out.
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Old January 18 2012, 10:39 PM   #15
The Overlord
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Re: Ferengi Corporations

Yevetha wrote: View Post
I think a ferengi megacorp is impossibel unless the workers are from offworld. Ferengi lack the discipline to keep a megacorp together.
And that's why they don't work as serious villains. If the Fererngi Alliance was supposed to be a commentary about a nightmarish version of capitalism that has gone out control, having the Ferengi have so little impulse control they could never form a megacorp doesn't work. It renders them silly rather then scary and fails both political commentary and presenting menacing villains.
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