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Old June 1 2012, 01:30 PM   #1
Gene Starwind
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Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Did we ever see a klingon economist in the books? I know that in the House of Quark Gowron had no one who could help him make sense of Quark's numbers. Do the Klingon's have a Central Bank?
Do they even have personal property or most klingons are owned by the noble houses?

I would love to see a Klingon Financial speculator who helps the Empire using his hedge fund show up in a Star Trek RPG.
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Old June 1 2012, 03:36 PM   #2
sonak
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

well with their empire, they're probably mercantilist, and may rely on conquest and exploitation for economic gain.

I don't think the writers really thought it through, though.
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Old June 1 2012, 08:42 PM   #3
naverhtrad
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

sonak wrote:
well with their empire, they're probably mercantilist, and may rely on conquest and exploitation for economic gain.

I don't think the writers really thought it through, though.
Agreed. I don't think they thought it through.

We know that there are elements of a feudal economy (Worf was born into a noble family, whilst General Martok had to crawl up the ladder of the military hierarchy from basically serfdom) with references to the 'lands' belonging to a particular House. Those could just be for show and tradition, though.

In order for the Klingons to get to the spacefaring stage, though, you can't simply rely on a customary / traditional economy - space projects generally require massive investments of labour, materials and expertise, not to mention advanced communication and infrastructure. It's possible to imagine them getting to such an advanced stage using a customary / traditional economic basis - the Chinese were much more technologically advanced than the Europeans between 1300 and 1700, and they were still operating primarily on a customary system of government (though they also had paper money and banking).

Given the Klingon attitude toward the Ferengi, though, I have difficulty imagining that they are that much more capitalist-friendly than the Federation. Their language, behaviour and social system are much more in line with a feudal society.
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Old June 1 2012, 09:24 PM   #4
C.E. Evans
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

We generally just see representatives from the warrior caste, but I see no reason to think that there are Klingons who deal with commerce and economics. They may not be as glorified or as visible as the warrior caste, but likely are just as important in keeping the Empire running, IMO.

Heck, it may have been Klingon economists who first realized how bad things were going to get after the destruction of Praxis.
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Old June 1 2012, 11:09 PM   #5
horatio83
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Gene Starwind wrote: View Post
Did we ever see a klingon economist in the books? I know that in the House of Quark Gowron had no one who could help him make sense of Quark's numbers. Do the Klingon's have a Central Bank?
Do they even have personal property or most klingons are owned by the noble houses?

I would love to see a Klingon Financial speculator who helps the Empire using his hedge fund show up in a Star Trek RPG.
Aha. Great for you but there aren't any Klingon hedge funds managers for reasons already explained here. A feudalistic society cannot feature something which can only be an element of a liberal society.
About Hayek and Keynes, no idea why you would put a forgettable economist who erred like the entire Austrian school on virtually everything in the same line as one of the greatest.
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Old June 1 2012, 11:20 PM   #6
The Wormhole
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

A lot of the time it's very easy to assume that the only species in Trek to care about money are the Ferengi. We know Cardassians have currency, but otherwise, I don't think anything has been mentioned about the economies of any race in Trek. Aside from the claims of the Federation being money-less, of course.
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Old June 2 2012, 09:17 AM   #7
captcalhoun
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Klingon currency was mentioned in one episode. as was Bajoran currency.

and every time i read this thread title, i keep envisioning Salma Hayak with ridges...
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Old June 2 2012, 11:00 AM   #8
Timo
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

We generally just see representatives from the warrior caste
Is there such a thing as a warrior caste in the Klingon society? We have seen Klingon families with "black sheep" scientists or politicians among the warriors, which should be impossible in a caste system.

The Klingons might rather have a class system, where it would suffice for a prominent member of a family to represent a certain profession and level of wealth and income, after which said family could enjoy the perks and follow the customs - yet still marry from outside the class or send sons and daughters to professions outside the class.

Given the emphasis placed on individual achievement within the warrior class, it wouldn't be surprising if the class structure was further differentiated from the classic ones of Earth by having each individual perform the class struggle from bottom up. Of course, those with backing from a highly positioned dad might advance faster and further than those with backing from a lowly positioned one. But Klingons aim ahead and up, so movement from class to class in a perceived ascent would appear likely for that society.

no idea why you would put a forgettable economist who erred like the entire Austrian school on virtually everything in the same line as one of the greatest.
Considering the general track record of the economic "science", being king of that particular hill isn't exactly an achievement.

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Old June 2 2012, 11:34 AM   #9
T'Girl
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Grilka: Kozak ... made unwise investments
This and other statements would seem to suggest that the Klingons have something similar to a modern twenty-first century model economic system. What we saw in The House of Quark was a classic hostile takeover. The House of D'Ghor wanted to merge with the House of Kozak, who were unwilling to do so. House D'Ghor encouraged House D'Hor to move into debt, weakening it in the eyes if the rest of the Empire (lowering it's stock price), with the ultimate aim of acquisition. With House Kozak's assets ("lands and property") added to its own, House D'Ghor would have increased in power, and might have achieved council status.

The fact that H'Ghor was able to do this without the council being the wiser does appear to favor the Hayek model. The various Klingon family houses are independent, controlling property (land and business asset), their own military's (House Kozak possessed "forces"), and have financial means.

All without much oversight or overt control by the Klingon Council.

Hayek Model.

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Old June 2 2012, 12:30 PM   #10
C.E. Evans
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

We generally just see representatives from the warrior caste
Is there such a thing as a warrior caste in the Klingon society?
Yes.

From ENT's "Judgement," during a conversation between Archer and his Klingon advocate, Kolos:

ARCHER: How many cases have you won?
KOLOS: Oh, I'm not sure. Over two hundred. But that was a long time ago, when the Tribunal was a forum for the truth and not a tool for the warrior class.
ARCHER: There are other classes?
KOLOS: You didn't believe all Klingons were soldiers?
ARCHER: I guess I did.
KOLOS: My father was a teacher. My mother, a biologist at the university. They encouraged me to take up the law...
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Old June 2 2012, 01:23 PM   #11
The Wormhole
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

The caste system was an interesting idea. A shame it never got explored further than a few throw-away lines after being introduced in Enterprise.
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Old June 2 2012, 03:36 PM   #12
Timo
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Is there such a thing as a warrior caste in the Klingon society?
Yes.

From ENT's "Judgement":

KOLOS: Oh, I'm not sure. Over two hundred. But that was a long time ago, when the Tribunal was a forum for the truth and not a tool for the warrior class.
So actually, no.

That is, the canon evidence is for a class society rather than a caste one. Indeed, this very dialogue might be taken to describe political changes in free class movement... Something a caste system would utterly prohibit.

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Old June 2 2012, 04:46 PM   #13
C.E. Evans
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Is there such a thing as a warrior caste in the Klingon society?
Yes.

From ENT's "Judgement":

KOLOS: Oh, I'm not sure. Over two hundred. But that was a long time ago, when the Tribunal was a forum for the truth and not a tool for the warrior class.
So actually, no.

That is, the canon evidence is for a class society rather than a caste one. Indeed, this very dialogue might be taken to describe political changes in free class movement... Something a caste system would utterly prohibit.
Wow. Talk about denial.

I'll go with onscreen material rather than your turn on it.
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Old June 2 2012, 06:37 PM   #14
Timo
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

I wouldn't want to go all Christopher on you, but really, equating class society with caste society is akin to equating communism with fascism. It might be of slightly more than academic interest to know which kind the Klingons prefer.

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Old June 2 2012, 08:34 PM   #15
naverhtrad
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Re: Is there a Klingon Hayek and Keynes?

Timo wrote:
Considering the general track record of the economic "science", being king of that particular hill isn't exactly an achievement.
Hear, hear.

Having studied economics at the graduate level, I would venture to say that about two-thirds of the hypotheses in economics used to predict outcomes are faulty and not backed up by real-life evidence. As a 'science', therefore, it leaves a great deal to be desired.

But I do have to agree with horatio83 on the Austrian school, which takes all the blind spots of economics and turns them into a dogma and thus sinks economics to even more unfathomable depths of crazy. By boiling down economic study to a set of empirically-unverifiable axioms, the Austrians have done away with all the trappings of the scientific method, even though they still like to play-act at being scholars.

T'Girl wrote: View Post
This and other statements would seem to suggest that the Klingons have something similar to a modern twenty-first century model economic system. What we saw in The House of Quark was a classic hostile takeover. The House of D'Ghor wanted to merge with the House of Kozak, who were unwilling to do so. House D'Ghor encouraged House D'Hor to move into debt, weakening it in the eyes if the rest of the Empire (lowering it's stock price), with the ultimate aim of acquisition. With House Kozak's assets ("lands and property") added to its own, House D'Ghor would have increased in power, and might have achieved council status.

The fact that H'Ghor was able to do this without the council being the wiser does appear to favor the Hayek model. The various Klingon family houses are independent, controlling property (land and business asset), their own military's (House Kozak possessed "forces"), and have financial means.

All without much oversight or overt control by the Klingon Council.
Ehhh... be careful here. Nobles backbiting and backstabbing each other for land and military advantage is not something which was invented along with the joint-stock venture; nor was the traditional limitation of the power of the king over his vassals. Grilka may be using the language of 'investment' only because she is speaking with a Ferengi (and, hell, she was once married to a Ferengi), but it was clear from the episode that at least some Klingons found such financial dealings and skulduggery distasteful, if not outright dishonourable. I still think we're looking at an advanced feudal society in the Klingons.

Timo wrote:
So actually, no.

That is, the canon evidence is for a class society rather than a caste one. Indeed, this very dialogue might be taken to describe political changes in free class movement... Something a caste system would utterly prohibit.
Dammit, Timo - stop saying things I agree with! You're stealing my thunder.

Upward class mobility seems to have been difficult in the Klingon Empire, as we see in the story of General Martok. Martok started off as basically a pauper, got rejected from the Klingon version of OCS by Kor, and basically crawled his way up the chain of command from a civilian labourer position. But yeah, class is not absolute and fixed for you and all your descendants - so it isn't really a caste system.
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