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Old February 17 2014, 07:31 PM   #31
T'Girl
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Hardly silly, if part of your welfare comes from business taxes, well businesses have shown over the last few decade that they can be very mobile in the face of excessive costs, they simply relocate. Taxes on individuals can also rise to the point they stop creating new businesses, and the new jobs that come with them

What would be a reasonable average marginal tax rate, above 50%, or below 25%?,

And if you don't have a growing economy this year, surely the taxes should drop from where they were during the growing economic time periods?

*****

On Earth the paradise, the majority of the people wouldn't need government assistance programs, the healthy economy in paradise would see near universal employment. A social safety net would exist, but be rarely use.

Average wages and typical medical costs would allow people to pay the majority of their medical charges out of their back pocket, insurance (for the most part private) would step in only for the rare unusually expensive treatment or procedure.

Sensible regulations (few in number) would encourage new businesses and job creation, regulations certainly would not make starting a business a paperwork nightmare.

Paradise.

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Old February 17 2014, 07:54 PM   #32
MacLeod
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

But if it complex medical treatment is as a rare as you say it is, why not go with Universal Health Care.

If we take today for example, how much does the average American spend on Medical Insurace, and does that provide 100% cover of costs?

and how does that cost compared to tax funded Health Care systems?
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Old February 17 2014, 08:07 PM   #33
PhoenixClass
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
sonak wrote: View Post
We've learned from various episodes that the Federation has certain basic standards and expectations for membership, such as no caste systems
I posted in a another thread recently, if the Bajorians were a powerful and wealth interstellar state, with a strong fleet and hundreds of prosperous colonies, and they wanted the join the Federation. Oh, and they had castes.

And more than wanted, the Federation needed the
Bajorian to join.

Would anyone have even mentioned the thing about the castes?

If powerful Vulcan still had the central command government when the Federation was formed, would the other founders have said no you can't join our community?

Push The Button wrote: View Post
Capt. Picard: This is the 24th century. Material needs no longer exist.
Which is a foolish piece of philosophical fluff, of course material needs still exist.

I truly believe that a lot of what Picard was saying in that episode reflected his own personal philosophy of life, and not an overall blueprint of Humanity the 24th century.
I'm not sure what point you are making with the Bajoran hypothetical. Would the Federation have bent the it's enlighten rules for political gain? I certainly hope they wouldn't. But it's a hypothetical question so it's really its own discussion.

I think you are reading Picard's line too literally. It's obvious that, as you say, needs still exist - humans still have to eat. What he's really saying is that it's no longer a problem to fulfill those needs. That was clear from the context of the line: Offenhouse (here we go again) was complaining about his money. Which is really him worrying about how he was going to provide for himself. To which Picard replies, don't worry about it, fulfilling material needs is no longer a challenge.

It is a general description of humanity. I don't think the existence of replicators and various statements about earth and human philosophy elsewhere in the show support such a limited interpretation of that line.

"Earth as a paradise, i guess it would be a matter of how you define paradise, a total welfare state wouldn't be my idea of a paradise.

So when Earth is describe as such, to me the fan, that means it isn't a welfare state."

I think you make an important point here. Star Trek, of course, exists in our minds. And this is probably why the writers chose not to specifically define the economy of Earth or the Federation. They show us glimpses, they limit the possibilities of what the economy could be, they show us the end results, but they still leave enough room for each viewers imagination.

(sorry, still figuring out how to quote from different posts)
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Old February 17 2014, 08:08 PM   #34
USS KG5
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
a total welfare state wouldn't be my idea of a paradise.

So when Earth is describe as such, to me the fan, that means it isn't a welfare state.

YMMV,

But what is so wrong with it? In a state of extreme plenty, if people don't want to work why should they?

You seem to be assuming that the future needs everyone to be productive? Our current economic situation requires high productivity to be competitive but this in itself leads to staggering levels of waste. We have already advanced beyond the point when everyone needs to work for us to survive.

So, when your shit jobs are done by robots, holograms and machines, computers manage anything else even remotely menial, and technology allows vast production at tiny cost and effort, what exactly are all these people going to do?

It is not like anyone has ever said the Trek "utopia" is achievable in our current economic reality, but why would anyone HAVE to work when they don't really need to? Better by far for the remaining professions (i.e. Starfleet) to be occupied by people who want to do them.

There is on-screen evidence that some jobs that could be perceived as menial still exist, but logically our economy could go the way I describe above in the very near future.
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Old February 17 2014, 09:48 PM   #35
jmampilly
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

I agree with the idea that people don't necessarily have to work, and that there is a social safety net on all Federation worlds which prevent such levels of poverty which could be considered "unacceptable" in a "Utopian" society. However, the idea that a significant portion of the population chooses not to benefit the ecoinomy in same way is implausible. Especially in the face of such problems as war and natural disaster, surely people would feel the urge to work in order to benefit the economy, and the Federation as a whole. For example, during the Dominion War, it's difficult to believe that a significant number of individuals in the Federation chose to do nothing as the Alpha Quadrant's greatest threat loomed over them.
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Old February 17 2014, 10:19 PM   #36
Jedi_Master
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

What would be needed for the Federation to be considered a paradise, indeed for it to be attractive enough that planetary governments would want to join it, and submit to its entry standards? I am short on time, but there are many things that could be discussed. I will mention one.

Food: cheap (or free) healthy, environmentally sustainable food. Lots and lots of that food. Most depictions of food production in Star Trek either show people in small artisinal gardens or large scale factory style farming. Other examples include replicators, which require raw materials that would require specialized production and packaging. In any case, there would have to be an organized distribution network of foodstuffs that would allow a fertile area to be used to its maximum potential, and the foodstuffs produced there to be distributed. That would require some kind of central exchange or government exchange. It would also require a centralized method of compensating the workers who produce the food or at the very least providing for the cost of the raw materials needed to produce and package the food.

There is no logical explanation for a lack of SIGNIFICANT government involvement in food production and distribution in the Federation.
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Old February 17 2014, 11:29 PM   #37
USS KG5
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

jmampilly wrote: View Post
However, the idea that a significant portion of the population chooses not to benefit the ecoinomy in same way is implausible.
Why? Seriously the only reason people work now is because they have to, as maximum economic production is the only way our economy knows how to grow, but it is incredibly wasteful, and is using natural resources at a staggering rate. It is also badly managed, the western world is fat and other parts starve. While the current economic system has led to unprecedented success, it is also not sustainable.

The world does not need 7 billion workers now, in the trekverse it sure as hell doesnt need 9 billion. What would they all do?

A lot of them would probably better themselves. They might want to join starfleet and achieve great things, but, as Picard says, the economics of the future are different.

What I find interesting about these threads is people debate their interpretation based on their own beliefs, be they conservative economic ideas or more socialist ones. We forget all current economic systems are based on allocation of very scarce resources, and the bar for these in the trekverse is so high that I suspect the basics and little luxuries are very easily obtained, changing the game entirely.
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Old February 17 2014, 11:39 PM   #38
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

jmampilly wrote: View Post
I agree with the idea that people don't necessarily have to work, and that there is a social safety net on all Federation worlds which prevent such levels of poverty which could be considered "unacceptable" in a "Utopian" society. However, the idea that a significant portion of the population chooses not to benefit the economy in some way is implausible. Especially in the face of such problems as war and natural disaster, surely people would feel the urge to work in order to benefit the economy, and the Federation as a whole. For example, during the Dominion War, it's difficult to believe that a significant number of individuals in the Federation chose to do nothing as the Alpha Quadrant's greatest threat loomed over them.
Just because a society allows for its citizens to not work does not mean that they don't. The Picard quote is usually taken to mean that the individual has the option to do whatever will satisfy their personal sense of fulfillment. This can mean that a given society, the Federation here, has a disproportionately large percentage of artists per capita, as a large number of people find emotional fulfillment in some method of creation, be it painting, sculpture, or even music. Those with enough talent are rewarded for their contributions on a scale commensurate with their talent. But it applies to any profession or craft that society has to offer.

Me, I like to draw. I'd love to do it for a living. But I'd love even more the opportunity to draw without having to do something else to pay for my food, shelter, clothing and art supplies. That is the nature of such a social democracy/utopian society.

Jedi_Master wrote: View Post
What would be needed for the Federation to be considered a paradise, indeed for it to be attractive enough that planetary governments would want to join it, and submit to its entry standards? I am short on time, but there are many things that could be discussed. I will mention one.

Food: cheap (or free) healthy, environmentally sustainable food. Lots and lots of that food. Most depictions of food production in Star Trek either show people in small artisinal gardens or large scale factory style farming. Other examples include replicators, which require raw materials that would require specialized production and packaging. In any case, there would have to be an organized distribution network of foodstuffs that would allow a fertile area to be used to its maximum potential, and the foodstuffs produced there to be distributed. That would require some kind of central exchange or government exchange. It would also require a centralized method of compensating the workers who produce the food or at the very least providing for the cost of the raw materials needed to produce and package the food.

There is no logical explanation for a lack of SIGNIFICANT government involvement in food production and distribution in the Federation.
As stated above, people that have a love for producing these foodstuffs will be in the front lines of production of them, as they will be the ones most desirous to grow/cook food as a profession. Take Sisko's dad. He makes sure every potato is peeled by hand. I'll bet you real money he doesn't grow the potatoes, but rather gets them out of the replicator. All he really needs is a database with enough different individual potato patterns that the quirky, slight difference we see today in any restaurant's potatoes from day to day is preserved. Once the government has recorded all those patterns, their job is done.
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Old February 18 2014, 03:47 AM   #39
sonak
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Hardly silly, if part of your welfare comes from business taxes, well businesses have shown over the last few decade that they can be very mobile in the face of excessive costs, they simply relocate. Taxes on individuals can also rise to the point they stop creating new businesses, and the new jobs that come with them

What would be a reasonable average marginal tax rate, above 50%, or below 25%?,

And if you don't have a growing economy this year, surely the taxes should drop from where they were during the growing economic time periods?

*****

On Earth the paradise, the majority of the people wouldn't need government assistance programs, the healthy economy in paradise would see near universal employment. A social safety net would exist, but be rarely use.

Average wages and typical medical costs would allow people to pay the majority of their medical charges out of their back pocket, insurance (for the most part private) would step in only for the rare unusually expensive treatment or procedure.

Sensible regulations (few in number) would encourage new businesses and job creation, regulations certainly would not make starting a business a paperwork nightmare.

Paradise.



Actually empirical studies done in the US have indicated that there is little to no relationship between tax rates and economic productivity. The 1945-73 post-war boom in the US occurred during a time of much higher taxation, so yes the argument is fundamentally silly. Also, as you spend more on things like health care and education for your citizens, you often get...

ta da! more productive citizens!


Um, I'm sure that the Federation's economic advisors are aware of this as well, or something related to Star Trek.
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Old February 19 2014, 02:58 AM   #40
Vandervecken
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

If Ferenginar would allow a small human population, I'd rather live there, frankly. All this nicey-nicey, here-have-anything-you-want-stuff makes me nauseous. And my wives would have to stay naked.

------------

That raises a question: Are the other intragalactic empires we know, who have pretty much the same technological capabilities as the Feds, structured also as seemingly inexorably logical socialist states? I have a hard time believing the Klingons have universal health care, even if they're capable of it. The Romulans--mebbe.

All these empires have one other very important resource no nation on earth has any longer, and one worth far more than any technological magic hat: limitless frontiers.
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Old February 19 2014, 08:38 AM   #41
QuarkforNagus
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

T'Girl wrote: View Post
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.
It's an enlightened and compassionate future... Why wouldn't there be universal healthcare. Even most industrialized present day nations have figured this one out.

The alternative would be living on Ferenginar.
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Old February 19 2014, 10:40 AM   #42
AverageWriter
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

The economics of the future may be different, but I must interject on a few points.

The first one is that we really don't know that United Earth is truly a "paradise" in every sense of the word- we just have a few offhanded mentions of it. Yes, we hear of the "New World Economy" that developed around the 22nd century, but..

Hear me out for a moment-

The ones who are saying that Earth has overcome all it's problems are the "Best Of The Best"- Starfleet captains who grew up in places like LaBarre, France on vast, expansive vineyards. Certainly for someone like Picard, someone who undoubtedly lived quite a sheltered life on Earth before joining the Academy, any subtle social problems might not have presented themselves.
At the same time, we do have hints that not everything is completely swell. Undercurrents, if you will.

Now what we can also extrapolate is that Earth went through a massive period of slaughter and destruction (in the Trek timeline) from the Eugenics Wars of the 1990s all the way up through World War III and beyond, with the Post Atomic Horror. We saw the barbarism present during "Encounter At Farpoint", and the horrific conditions suffered during "Past Tense"-

But what do we also see?

If we examine "Past Tense", we see a sheltered segment of society practically oblivious to the suffering close by. As well, if we examine the Voyager episodes "11:59" and "Future's End", the areas that the Voyager crew beam down to have absolutely no indication of the Eugenics Wars or Post Atomic Horror violence that should be ransacking the planet.

Roddenberry might have insisted on ensuring that everyone keeps insisting that money doesn't exist, that people are free to do what they want and such...

But the undercurrents do bubble up.

Recall that in "Tapestry", a few life choices doom Jean Luc Picard to a life as a "dreary man in a tedious job". He's stuck doing menial chore work- basically his idea of hell, until Q mercifully pulls him back. Think about that fact for a moment- everyone can't be a Captain. If someone like Jean Luc can be relegated to a lifetime of low level, menial work, chances are that there are others living that same miserable existence as well.

In fact, one of my most hated DS9 episodes- "Paradise", outright states it- "Joseph, you would have been a repairman all of your life. Cassandra, you would have been a technical clerk in some closed-in room. And Stephan, my friend, you probably would have been in prison by now. "

The person is making the case as to why living in what amounts to fifth-century conditions, digging around in the dirt and succumbing to simple illnesses is superior to being in the Federation.

If all was truly, completely well with the world, it seems doubtful that people would be consciously choosing to be miserable throughout their lives unless they had to.

As a final aside-
If money didn't matter in the Federation, Quark wouldn't have had to sell his broken shuttle to book passage back from Earth to DS9 at the end of Little Green Men. And yet SOMEONE is charging him cash to get on a ship and get back home.
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Old February 19 2014, 06:04 PM   #43
PhoenixClass
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

AverageWriter wrote: View Post
The economics of the future may be different, but I must interject on a few points.

The first one is that we really don't know that United Earth is truly a "paradise" in every sense of the word- we just have a few offhanded mentions of it. Yes, we hear of the "New World Economy" that developed around the 22nd century, but..

Hear me out for a moment-

The ones who are saying that Earth has overcome all it's problems are the "Best Of The Best"- Starfleet captains who grew up in places like LaBarre, France on vast, expansive vineyards. Certainly for someone like Picard, someone who undoubtedly lived quite a sheltered life on Earth before joining the Academy, any subtle social problems might not have presented themselves.
Well, in a way, most of what we "know" about the 24th century, and the history of that world, is offhand comments. You do have an interesting interpretation of those comments though.

But since I like the idea of a "paradise" in which we have something to work toward and lift our spirits in the world we actually live in, I'm going to defend the paradise notion.

I like your class-conscious interpretation but Picard actually is a good example against it. Picard is a very educated and historically aware person. His hobby is, after all, archaeology. So Picard is exactly the type of person who would be aware of conditions beyond his sheltered life, if he had one.
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Old February 19 2014, 06:10 PM   #44
Vandervecken
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

AverageWriter wrote: View Post
As a final aside-
If money didn't matter in the Federation, Quark wouldn't have had to sell his broken shuttle to book passage back from Earth to DS9 at the end of Little Green Men. And yet SOMEONE is charging him cash to get on a ship and get back home.
I can think of other instances where money matters, if not always entirely within the Federation, at least between the Feds and non-Feds:

In The Most Toys, Kivas Fajo was paid by the Federation for his hytritium.

In Gambit, Baran and his crew certainly expected to be paid by Taliera for the Stone of Gol (although they didn't know until the end that it was Taliera who hired them. Doesn't matter here though).

Gambling at Quark's.

In The Omega Glory, Captain Tracy was looking to become wealthy off the "immortality" he'd found on Omega IV.

Harcourt Fentin Mudd routinely defrauded Federation citizens. He sold false patents to the Denebians for a Vulcan fuel synthesizer--presumably they gave him money for the patents.


I'm sure other folks can think of more.
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Last edited by Vandervecken; February 19 2014 at 06:28 PM.
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Old February 19 2014, 06:59 PM   #45
AverageWriter
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Re: "The economics of the future are somewhat different..."

Vandervecken-
Your examples are great- however the reason I limited my scope was because the Federation seems to hold up Earth as the Great Shining Example Of Never Needing Money.
Picard himself declares in an episode "The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity".
Yet we have an example on earth that either disproves him, or proves that he is a little more sheltered as to Earth economics than he might want to admit.
You see, in what I've mentioned, we have an example of three things, given what Quark does with his shuttle-

* Someone, on Earth, is actively trying to pursue the acquisition of "things"- in this case, the thing is the salvage of the ship. This individual is providing monetary wealth in exchange for that salvage.

* A different someone, again, on Earth, is actively seeking the acquisition of wealth, this time in exchange for providing a service- that is, transportation back home. Quark pays him money for the service.

* Given that Ferengi are notorious about profit, it stands as a rational point that if Quark could have gotten free transportation home instead of spending the large sum of money from the salvage of his ship, he would have.

So... and here comes the big thing...

It stands also to reason that if Quark could not have earned enough money from the salvage, he would have been stuck on earth until he could. This means that, at that point, Quark would have found himself in a poverty situation, however temporarily.

So in this simple case, we see that, on Earth- 1: Individuals are exchanging goods and services for wealth and vice versa, and 2: Even on a small scale, the existence of poverty is a very real thing.

And this is one single situation from one single character. Multiply this by the billions of individuals who are on Earth, and things change significantly.
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