RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 138,396
Posts: 5,358,471
Members: 24,627
Currently online: 531
Newest member: space2050

TrekToday headlines

Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar Online Debut
By: T'Bonz on Jul 31

Warp 5.0: Trek Toward Sci-Fi’s Golden Anniversary
By: T'Bonz on Jul 31

Takei To Host Pittsburgh Symphony PNC Pops’ Sci-Fi Spectacular
By: T'Bonz on Jul 31

Kurtzman In Mummy Talks
By: T'Bonz on Jul 31

The Gene Roddenberry Project Kickstarter
By: T'Bonz on Jul 30

Moore: No Deep Space Nine Regrets
By: T'Bonz on Jul 30

Pegg Star Wars Rumor
By: T'Bonz on Jul 30

Borg Cube Fridge
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29

Free Enterprise Kickstarter
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29

Siddig To Join Game Of Thrones
By: T'Bonz on Jul 29


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Welcome to the Trek BBS! > General Trek Discussion

General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 15 2014, 02:50 PM   #1
Stevil2001
Rear Admiral
 
Stevil2001's Avatar
 
Location: 2010
"The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

A political scientist friend of mine just posted this, and I was surprised to read a very well-thought out account of how the post-scarcity economy of the Federation might function: https://medium.com/editors-picks/29bab88d50

Because the welfare benefit is so large, and social pressure is so strong against conspicuous consumption, the average citizen never pays any attention to the amounts allocated to them, because it’s perpetually more than they need. But if they go crazy and try and purchase, say, 10 planets or 100 starships, the system simply says “no.”

Citizens have no financial need work, as their benefits are more than enough to provide a comfortable life, and there is, clearly, universal health care and education. The Federation has clearly taken the plunge to the other side of people’s fears about European socialist capitalism: yes, some people might not work. So What? Good for them. We think most still will.
__________________
"I'm afraid Joe's just not the kind of guy that's meant to be adaptable."
Science's Less Accurate Grandmother
Stevil2001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 15 2014, 03:03 PM   #2
C.E. Evans
Vice Admiral
 
C.E. Evans's Avatar
 
Location: Saint Louis (aka Defiance)
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

People may still want something to do to alleviate boredom or cabin fever, if nothing else. Jobs that might be considered too menial may be handled by machines, while other jobs could be still be trade-related.
__________________
"Everybody wants to rule the world..."
C.E. Evans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 03:26 AM   #3
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Steve Mollmann wrote: View Post
A political scientist friend of mine just posted this, and I was surprised to read a very well-thought out account of how the post-scarcity economy of the Federation might function ...
But at one point in the article doesn't your friend come right out and state that the Federation isn't really a "post-scarcity economy?"

And where does he get " ... and there is, clearly, universal health care and education ..." from? It not evident from the show that civilians had (government provided?) universal health care. Yes we see Starfleet personnel getting health care from Starfleet doctors, and they provide emergency care to civilians, but the economics of the clinic run by Doctor Bashir are unclear, free or paid in full? Again unclear.

The same with supposed universal education, yes we see education taking place with some individuals, but his statement of "universal" is a unsupported supposition.

There are a lot of assumptions in this article not present in the show, and frequent uses of "let's imagine."

T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 07:27 AM   #4
PhoenixClass
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Given how Earth, at the very least, is described in the show, it would not make sense to assume that healthcare and education are not available to everyone, whatever the means of providing them.

Universal healthcare and education could be government provided. Under the author's version of the economy, it could just be that there are enough people who get fulfillment from being doctors and teachers that those services are simply available to everyone naturally.
PhoenixClass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 09:06 AM   #5
Botany Bay
Commodore
 
Botany Bay's Avatar
 
Location: shores of Australia
View Botany Bay's Twitter Profile
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

How can scarcity be eliminated?

There will always be scarcity of time, skills, land, labour, you name it.
__________________
"Sometimes I get the feeling the only way we could achieve a STAR TREK segment on budget would be to have 60 minutes of Mr. Spock playing kazoo solo as Captain Kirk holds him in his arms while standing in a telephone booth."
Bob Justman, 1967.
Botany Bay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 01:39 PM   #6
USS KG5
Vice Admiral
 
USS KG5's Avatar
 
Location: England's green and pleasant land.
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Botany Bay wrote: View Post
How can scarcity be eliminated?

There will always be scarcity of time, skills, land, labour, you name it.
There will always be SOME scarcity, of course, but the "post-scarcity economy" is a real topic that is discussed, ironically given current economic woes for the near-ish future.

Certain things are almost certain to happen in the next century that fundamentally change the requirement for human labour, at least in the developed world. Most logically nanotechnology will enable a lot of menial or low-grade work obsolete, why have people collect your trash when nanites will break it all down into basic carbon compounds for you?

Also 3D printing technology has already advanced beyond simply layering plastic, to layering other things, including proteins. Once this technology is cheap and widely available, producing simple blocks of nutrients to feed everyone is quite practical.

Whats more, all these processes will likely be run by an AI that matches human intellect, if not creativity or emotion.

This leads us to a world where we can meet everyone's essential needs easily and cheaply, instantly resolving most of the problems we all cry over. The question then becomes what if you want more, what if you want a yacht or a huge house, or a new car every year? Well fine, get off your ass, get educated (heck the AIs can teach you, it wont cost us anything) and take on one of the now intensively competitive but rewarding jobs that do require you to do more than sit around and breed.

This basic idea (which I admit is social democracy with added technology) is not spot on I know. Fundamentally humans are very greedy, very selfish and in large groups deeply stupid. Trek on some level is about a hard-to-believe future where this has been overcome.

So much of our consumer culture is based on getting one over on the other guy, having bigger, better, more, that the next century is going to be a challenging and possibly dark one, but humanity might come out of it looking a bit more like the people we see in Trek.
__________________
I believe in a better world, so I love Star Trek. I have to live in this one, so I love Battlestar Galactica.
USS KG5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 02:22 PM   #7
MacLeod
Admiral
 
Location: Great Britain
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Steve Mollmann wrote: View Post
A political scientist friend of mine just posted this, and I was surprised to read a very well-thought out account of how the post-scarcity economy of the Federation might function ...
But at one point in the article doesn't your friend come right out and state that the Federation isn't really a "post-scarcity economy?"

And where does he get " ... and there is, clearly, universal health care and education ..." from? It not evident from the show that civilians had (government provided?) universal health care. Yes we see Starfleet personnel getting health care from Starfleet doctors, and they provide emergency care to civilians, but the economics of the clinic run by Doctor Bashir are unclear, free or paid in full? Again unclear.

The same with supposed universal education, yes we see education taking place with some individuals, but his statement of "universal" is a unsupported supposition.

There are a lot of assumptions in this article not present in the show, and frequent uses of "let's imagine."

But it's not a stretch to believe that Universal Health Care is the norm, it exists today in many countries the same with Education. So why should the future be any different, and whilst STar Trek has always been a bit haphazard when it comes to money in the future sometimes money doesn't exists, sometimes we've heard about credits. Now of course money could refer to physical currency rather than some form of electronic currency. But if we accept that there is no money then how do people pay for medical care?

And various reports on how effective health care is in various countries work, generally show that countries with Universal Health Care rank high than say higher US system of insurance. And the per capitia cost is less than half of what the US spends.
__________________
On the continent of wild endeavour in the mountains of solace and solitude there stood the citadel of the time lords, the oldest and most mighty race in the universe looking down on the galaxies below sworn never to interfere only to watch.
MacLeod is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 04:43 PM   #8
RunawayStarShip
Lieutenant Junior Grade
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Stevil2001 wrote: View Post
A political scientist friend of mine just posted this, and I was surprised to read a very well-thought out account of how the post-scarcity economy of the Federation might function: https://medium.com/editors-picks/29bab88d50
Thanks for the link! It was an interesting read.

With regards to the overwhelming benefits postulated in the article, I do have an alternate take.

I've always thought it would be simpler to assume that the Federation gave each citizen just enough to live modestly (say the equivalent of $1300 USD every month) in addition to benefits like universal health care. That way, no one is really at risk of death from starvation or disease, and it does jive with the no poverty thing (unless someone wastes their Federation credits on random crap).

At the same time, a modest limit to how much a citizen is gifted allows for incentives to still exist. Want a hover car? You still need a job to pay for that.

Furthermore, it allows for certain jobs to be more lucrative than others. Overwhelming benefits make it unlikely for certain jobs to ever be filled. In terms of industrial production, perhaps it can virtually all be automated. In terms of something like education, the Federation is going to need a teacher for every 25 students or so.
RunawayStarShip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 06:54 PM   #9
Stevil2001
Rear Admiral
 
Stevil2001's Avatar
 
Location: 2010
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Steve Mollmann wrote: View Post
A political scientist friend of mine just posted this, and I was surprised to read a very well-thought out account of how the post-scarcity economy of the Federation might function ...
But at one point in the article doesn't your friend come right out and state that the Federation isn't really a "post-scarcity economy?"
Oops, my wording was ambiguous-- my friend posted the link, not the article itself.
__________________
"I'm afraid Joe's just not the kind of guy that's meant to be adaptable."
Science's Less Accurate Grandmother
Stevil2001 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 07:01 PM   #10
T'Girl
Vice Admiral
 
T'Girl's Avatar
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

RunawayStarShip wrote: View Post
... no one is really at risk of death from starvation or disease, and it does jive with the no poverty thing ...
That's one way, I came up years ago with a future United Earth safety net, or what my friends called the cement floor, it's a point below which society simply wouldn't let you fall any further. Mostly from the thread Imagining the Federation governmental structure.

-You would have access to basic food and water. You won't starve or even go hungry/thirsty.

-You'll have someplace dry, warm, safe and protected to live and sleep, but it might be a open bay arrangement that you share with twenty other people. You won't freeze, cook or be wet.

-There will be clothes on your back and shoes/boots on your feet, a coat too. You won't be naked.

-Local public transit. You won't be walking long distances.

-K through 12 education. You won't be uneducated.

-Free emergency room care. You won't "die in the street."

-Limited "cell phone" communication, also limited "internet" access, You won't be (completely) incommunicado. You get internet information and job openings, but nothing that would be considered entertainment.

Pretty bare bones, beyond this the society gives you nothing, it's designed this way so that you won't want to live out your life here. And there would be societal pressure to not stay at this level.

And make no mistake, this isn't a right or a entitlement, it's social charity.

It's not that society can't give you more, it's that society won't.

Want more? Then "seek to better yourself" through education and hard work. Push yourself.

You want more education, college or tech school? Good, take a test to show you would prosper, then maintain a good grade point average. If you start slacking and get bad grades you'll be shown the door. The world you live in will bend over backward to help you find and keep a job. Even if the job is only vacuuming the floors at Starfleet Academy.

Want a hover car? You still need a job to pay for that.
The same with transporter use, replicators, holodecks, vacations, space travel, jumping clubs, restaurants, gourmet foods, cheap liquor , fine wines, stylish threads, condos, houses on the beach, vintage corvettes.

The senoritas no go, if you have no dinero.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
But it's not a stretch to believe that Universal Health Care is the norm ...
No it really isn't, it certainly is one possibility, but there are others.

The non-canon backstory for McCoy in the prime universe is that prior to Starfleet he was a successful civilian doctor, he lost most of his money and property in a divorce. Dialog from Nu-McCoy tells a similar story.

In some ways TOS is a creature of 1960's America, McCoy would have been a doctor in private practice, and would have either directly billed his patients, or their insurance provider. A government "single payer" UHC system wouldn't be part of that future.

And while that may not be what exists in the 23rd century Star Trek universe, it is a possibility.


Last edited by T'Girl; February 16 2014 at 07:21 PM.
T'Girl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 11:30 PM   #11
JirinPanthosa
Commodore
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Some people take pride in their work and their position, I think that would be people's primary position to hold jobs in the 24th century Star Trek economy. Pride and prestige, and also the influence implied by the position, not to mention the social stigma of not contributing.

It's true not all scarcity is eliminated, but the scarcity of food and basic supplies is. I think in that case, currency would become social currency instead of physical currency.
JirinPanthosa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 16 2014, 11:54 PM   #12
urbandefault
Captain
 
urbandefault's Avatar
 
Location: Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
RunawayStarShip wrote: View Post
... no one is really at risk of death from starvation or disease, and it does jive with the no poverty thing ...
That's one way, I came up years ago with a future United Earth safety net, or what my friends called the cement floor, it's a point below which society simply wouldn't let you fall any further. Mostly from the thread Imagining the Federation governmental structure.

-You would have access to basic food and water. You won't starve or even go hungry/thirsty.

-You'll have someplace dry, warm, safe and protected to live and sleep, but it might be a open bay arrangement that you share with twenty other people. You won't freeze, cook or be wet.

-There will be clothes on your back and shoes/boots on your feet, a coat too. You won't be naked.

-Local public transit. You won't be walking long distances.

-K through 12 education. You won't be uneducated.

-Free emergency room care. You won't "die in the street."

-Limited "cell phone" communication, also limited "internet" access, You won't be (completely) incommunicado. You get internet information and job openings, but nothing that would be considered entertainment.

Pretty bare bones, beyond this the society gives you nothing, it's designed this way so that you won't want to live out your life here. And there would be societal pressure to not stay at this level.

And make no mistake, this isn't a right or a entitlement, it's social charity.

It's not that society can't give you more, it's that society won't.

Want more? Then "seek to better yourself" through education and hard work. Push yourself.

You want more education, college or tech school? Good, take a test to show you would prosper, then maintain a good grade point average. If you start slacking and get bad grades you'll be shown the door. The world you live in will bend over backward to help you find and keep a job. Even if the job is only vacuuming the floors at Starfleet Academy.

Want a hover car? You still need a job to pay for that.
The same with transporter use, replicators, holodecks, vacations, space travel, jumping clubs, restaurants, gourmet foods, cheap liquor , fine wines, stylish threads, condos, houses on the beach, vintage corvettes.

The senoritas no go, if you have no dinero.

MacLeod wrote: View Post
But it's not a stretch to believe that Universal Health Care is the norm ...
No it really isn't, it certainly is one possibility, but there are others.

The non-canon backstory for McCoy in the prime universe is that prior to Starfleet he was a successful civilian doctor, he lost most of his money and property in a divorce. Dialog from Nu-McCoy tells a similar story.

In some ways TOS is a creature of 1960's America, McCoy would have been a doctor in private practice, and would have either directly billed his patients, or their insurance provider. A government "single payer" UHC system wouldn't be part of that future.

And while that may not be what exists in the 23rd century Star Trek universe, it is a possibility.

I agree.

In fact, most, if not all of what you've described is already in place in the US. That people don't take advantage of it is beyond me. No one who wants food, clothing, or shelter has to do without. No one has to "die in the streets," or even live there for that matter. It takes a little bit of initiative (and by "initiative" I mean "get off your butt and go sign up"), but even the poorest among us can have these basic things and maintain their dignity at the same time.
__________________
"Hello pants." - Gary Busey
urbandefault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 17 2014, 12:16 AM   #13
PhoenixClass
Lieutenant Commander
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

urbandefault wrote: View Post
In fact, most, if not all of what you've described is already in place in the US. That people don't take advantage of it is beyond me. No one who wants food, clothing, or shelter has to do without. No one has to "die in the streets," or even live there for that matter. It takes a little bit of initiative (and by "initiative" I mean "get off your butt and go sign up"), but even the poorest among us can have these basic things and maintain their dignity at the same time.
Unless the shelter is already full; or you are mentally ill and the state underfunds it's mental health services; or your employer underpays you; or politicians demonize you and reduce funding for those services ever more.

There is a safety net in the US, but you are overstating your case in terms of how effective and robust it is. If it was, the US would look a lot more like Star Trek than it does.
PhoenixClass is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 17 2014, 12:18 AM   #14
urbandefault
Captain
 
urbandefault's Avatar
 
Location: Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie!
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

PhoenixClass wrote: View Post
urbandefault wrote: View Post
In fact, most, if not all of what you've described is already in place in the US. That people don't take advantage of it is beyond me. No one who wants food, clothing, or shelter has to do without. No one has to "die in the streets," or even live there for that matter. It takes a little bit of initiative (and by "initiative" I mean "get off your butt and go sign up"), but even the poorest among us can have these basic things and maintain their dignity at the same time.
Unless the shelter is already full; or you are mentally ill and the state underfunds it's mental health services; or your employer underpays you; or politicians demonize you and reduce funding for those services ever more.

There is a safety net in the US, but you are overstating your case in terms of how effective and robust it is. If it was, the US would look a lot more like Star Trek than it does.
Not trying to make a case. Just stating what I've seen first hand.
__________________
"Hello pants." - Gary Busey
urbandefault is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 17 2014, 12:29 AM   #15
JirinPanthosa
Commodore
 
Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

It's easy to say "Better yourself through hard work and education" when you've been born to parents who can provide you with a high quality education, and grown up in an environment filled with role models who better themselves through hard work.

I would estimate that in the Star Trek universe, social problems are eliminated more through providing equal quality of education and opportunities than through any physical handouts.

But, I like your point about the 'Cement floor'. We have to consider also the existence of replicators. In the 20th century to feed millions of people costs a significant amount of money. In the Star Trek 24th century it costs practically nothing. I would think the height of that 'Cement floor' is directly related to the cost of resources.

You also have to think, though, that seating at Sisko Sr's restaurant goes to his friends and the well connected before they go to the general public.

Last edited by JirinPanthosa; February 17 2014 at 12:41 AM.
JirinPanthosa is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 04:06 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.