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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Misc. Star Trek > Trek Tech

Trek Tech Pass me the quantum flux regulator, will you?

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Old November 1 2011, 11:14 PM   #1
Vulagr
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Location: Nothern Ca
Old Issue: We Don't Use money

I'd really like to know how the Federation was able to develop into a society that has no need for money.

Could it be that one of the technologies they use made money obsolete in some way?
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Old November 1 2011, 11:58 PM   #2
Birdog
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Vulagr wrote: View Post
I'd really like to know how the Federation was able to develop into a society that has no need for money.

Could it be that one of the technologies they use made money obsolete in some way?
It didn't. Human nature would prevent it. Honestly it's one of the stupidest things in the series. I chalk it up as the ramblings of a senile old man.
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Old November 2 2011, 12:02 AM   #3
JB2005
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Oh jeez...this just won't die!

Money didn't die. What Picard says is "Honey doesn't exist in the 24th century..." turns out Humpback Wales killed all the bees...nice one kirk...
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Old November 2 2011, 01:13 AM   #4
indolover
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

I just accept it as is. it's just an artistic licence.

It doesn't make sense since what else do they use as a medium of exchange? Then again, I don't really care.
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Old November 2 2011, 01:15 AM   #5
JB2005
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Well a lot of the time we see that they have to make up a medium of exchange...(replace Replicator Rations with "Quatloos" for instance...)
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Old November 2 2011, 01:31 AM   #6
SchwEnt
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

We've also heard about Federation Credits, so what are those if not a form of money?

There are too many instances of buying and selling to believe that payment is no longer tendered for goods and services.

I've concluded that the "no money" thing means no tangible currency (coins, paper, etc) and that it's all electronic credit exchanges.
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Old November 2 2011, 02:14 AM   #7
T'Girl
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Not to have money means at some point it was given up, not just on Earth, but all the other Federation members too at that time. And all new members would give money up as one of the conditions of joining?

Please.

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Old November 2 2011, 04:28 AM   #8
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Vulagr wrote: View Post
I'd really like to know how the Federation was able to develop into a society that has no need for money.

Could it be that one of the technologies they use made money obsolete in some way?
They never said that they don't have some unit of store of value. In fact, quite the opposite... they have credits, and "Federation Credits" are referred to typically.

We also hear references to Scotty "earning his pay" and so forth. While it's POSSIBLE that these could be euphemisms, there's no real indication that this is the case, and as euphemisms, they'd be meaningless if nobody understood the reference, wouldn't they?

"Money" isn't the right term, then... "Currency" (or "Physical money") is what they don't have.

It's entirely reasonable to assume that there is no such thing as "paper money" or "coined money" in the times of Trek. But, it's unreasonable to assume that "units of value" in some form are obsolete, and I reject that position out of hand. We hear, regularly, about interstellar trade, all through every one of the Trek series. Yet obviously, trade requires some measure of value between goods and/or services to exist.

All "money" is, when you get down to it, is an intermediate store of value, so that it's not necessary to have every transaction be a "barter transaction."

And there is nothing in any Trek that demonstrates that they have no such thing as "money" in that sense... only that they don't have "currency."

There is some indication that by the time of TNG, there's so much plenty on planets like Earth that "money" seems largely meaningless. But basic human psychology, barring full lobotomization of the human race en masse, means that there will always be someone who wants more than they have, and who wants more than their neighbor, don't you think?

People will always need to produce something in order to have something. The amount of labor to be exchanged for an amount of wealth may become so small that everyone will be "reasonably well off" even while doing only the bare minimum, though.

At least until you start facing war conditions, and goods/services become scarce. I wonder what sort of things happened on Betazed, for instance, during the Dominion occupation?
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Old November 2 2011, 12:14 PM   #9
Timo
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

It may also simply be that money is no longer used for everyday things such as food, accommodation or entertainment, and the average consumer thus never handles any. Many an enterprise today offers free benefits to its employees; the UFP society could offer free lunch to all its citizens, at such a low cost that accountants wouldn't even bother to write it down because the ink would cost more.

Really, it's easy to see how people would no longer need money for keeping tabs on their purchases and consumption. We already have that today: you don't really need to handle cash, or even follow your bank account, if you are financially stable enough. You don't need to ask for the price of an item, you don't need to think of money. Essentially, then, you could already run a society where no person has any money. The abstract tracking of expenses simply happens on the far background, with automated precision.

Credits and the like only need to come to play when you step outside the UFP (or, as some argue, just Earth and its direct dominion). Might be you need to fill a special form to get access to them, then. It's a known Trek fact that Jake Sisko did not have such access - but whether this was due to him being a UFP citizen, or an underage UFP citizen, or perhaps a certified mental case who was forbidden from handling dangerous items such as guns and cash, we don't know.

It's easy to get rid of money in the consumer economy. All you need is a bit of automation, and some sort of an incentive. And incentives are easily created; some political party might have come to power on the promise to remove the problems of the screwed-up economy by removing the evil money, and if they did good there, the idea could have stuck. Far sillier ideas have, after all.

People will always need to produce something in order to have something.
Why?

The world today is overproducing. Most of it goes to waste almost directly. We could do just fine with far fewer people producing, and far more people standing aside. No "law of economics" (insofar as such things even exist!) states that 100% of the population has to produce. Or even that any fixed X% does. The value of X changes with times and circumstances; in the Trek 24th century, that value might be 0.002.

There is no explicit reason to share that burden equally between the citizens. Indeed, that's probably an incredibly inefficient way to do it, as certain recent nationwide experiments have shown. Rather, it might be a good idea to literally have just those 0.002% of people working, and the rest watching and appalauding.

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Old November 2 2011, 12:50 PM   #10
CorporalCaptain
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Timo wrote: View Post
It may also simply be that money is no longer used for everyday things such as food, accommodation or entertainment, and the average consumer thus never handles any. Many an enterprise today offers free benefits to its employees; the UFP society could offer free lunch to all its citizens, at such a low cost that accountants wouldn't even bother to write it down because the ink would cost more.
This is reasonable. I'd buy it.

Credits and the like only need to come to play when you step outside the UFP (or, as some argue, just Earth and its direct dominion). Might be you need to fill a special form to get access to them, then. It's a known Trek fact that Jake Sisko did not have such access - but whether this was due to him being a UFP citizen, or an underage UFP citizen, or perhaps a certified mental case who was forbidden from handling dangerous items such as guns and cash, we don't know.
This is also reasonable.

My two cents.
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Old November 2 2011, 05:25 PM   #11
Deckerd
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Money is becoming an abstract in our society. It doesn't take much imagination to see that becoming the norm and cash disappearing altogether.
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Old November 2 2011, 05:36 PM   #12
Cary L. Brown
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Celine Dion wrote: View Post
Money is becoming an abstract in our society. It doesn't take much imagination to see that becoming the norm and cash disappearing altogether.
In all honesty, I fully expect to see that within the next decade, at least within the USA and Europe, and absolutely within China.

The argument which will support that, and which is already being made, is that it's mainly "illicit" transactions which require cash. So, this will be treated as a means of combating fraud, illegal trade, drugs, crime, etc.

I'm not really comfortable with the idea... I, personally, don't want anyone being able to track my every transaction, even though I do nothing illegal. It's just a bit creepy for me.

But, I fully expect to see this in place well before 2025, and likely before 2020.
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Old November 3 2011, 09:43 AM   #13
Timo
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Of course, if you outlaw cash, outlaws will still have cash. And it will be pretty darn difficult to tell an outlaw apart from an inlaw there... Probably everybody will retain or reintroduce some cash for some of his or her dealings, regardless of one's interest in serious crime or dubious pastimes.

A more over-the-counter reason why cash will probably be difficult to weed out is that cashlessness costs money. Entire nations may rebel against the idea that it takes three cents to move a dollar from owner to owner...

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Old November 3 2011, 09:47 AM   #14
Deckerd
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Unless of course it stops costing three cents to move money. In a cashless society there would be competition the same as there is now. One bank will offer free transactions. All it takes is one. They'll be making enough from the interest of their customers' credit/debit.
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Old November 3 2011, 12:34 PM   #15
T'Girl
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Re: Old Issue: We Don't Use money

Except the transactions aren't actually free, the "three cents" is still there some place, if the bank moves the expense somewhere else (like interest rates) it's still there.

That why Bank of America can start charging transaction fees on ATM/debit usage, because most of their customers are smart enough to realize that TANSTAAFL.
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