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View Poll Results: How Strong are the Ferengi?
Potentially Formidable 21 60.00%
Weaklings 14 40.00%
Voters: 35. You may not vote on this poll

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Old April 16 2014, 05:56 PM   #1
jmampilly
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How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

The Ferengi were first introduced to us in TNG, and I read that the writers originally intended for them to be the next big threat of sorts. However, DS9 seemed to portray them as a sort of minor power, essentially a small child which could be brushed aside by the Federation.

I never got the impression that the Ferengi were particularly strong. While their emphasis on neutrality has certainly increased rather than diminished their influence, their excessive capitalistic ideals seem to inhibit their development. On the other hand, that same ideological structure regarding economies would seem to make them capable of producing a fair amount of war materials should the need arise.

What do you think? While the Ferengi would undoubtedly succumb to a major power as the Federation or Klingons, could they potentially hold their own against the Cardassians or Breen?
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Old April 16 2014, 06:11 PM   #2
T'Girl
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

The big Ferengi starships do seem militarily powerful, and some Ferengi seem inclined to employ force. Apparently they're not all cowards.

In a shooting war the Ferengi would use large numbers of mercs, spies, bribes, extortion to arrive at a favorable solution.

Then declare peace, just like it says in the Rules of Acqusision.

jmampilly wrote: View Post
... their excessive capitalistic ideals seem to inhibit their development.
The Ferengi civilization in it's current form is five thousand years old, they're doing something right.

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Old April 16 2014, 06:16 PM   #3
Jedi_Master
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

Looks to me like they might be able to bench press about 200 or so max.
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Old April 16 2014, 06:39 PM   #4
bbjeg
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

I would say the Ferengi are more potentially formidable as a species than weaklings though on occasion they can be either.
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Old April 16 2014, 08:05 PM   #5
JirinPanthosa
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

The Ferengi have very little military power.

However they are extremely powerful because they control most of the commerce in the quadrant. They're an economic superpower. They have no real enemies because they can buy off anyone who would threaten them. All the other powers in the galaxy have been fighting each other and knocking each other down, and the Ferengi haven't been at war in millennia.

In other words, tiny sword, MASSIVE pen.
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Old April 16 2014, 08:09 PM   #6
Alrik
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

It depends. Are you asking on how they were originally intended? Or to the comic relief that they eventually became?

When first mentioned in Farpoint, Picard suggested Zorn make his offer the the Ferengi, and that they would find him quite tasty or something like that. When introduced in Last Outpost, they and their tech were presented as formidable and well matched to the Enterprise. Even their first appearance on the view screen made them appear very alien and menacing.

And then they beamed down. Unfortunately, Last Outpost was a poor reworking of Arena. Where the Gorn (rubber suite and all) came off as a lethal alien, the Ferengi came off as silly, jumping around like skittish monkeys and acting like spoiled brats. The only thing that made you think that there might be something there was their phase whips or whatever they were. But even those were never seen again.

TPTB tried again with The Battle. Bok was as close as they ever really got to making any Ferengi any sort of nemesis. He was presented as intelligent, duplicitous, and ruthless. But that got derailed when his revenge was stopped by his own crew because there was no profit in it.

This also started what would be a part of every Ferengi story throughout the rest of TNG. Rouge Ferengi does bad, Enterprise gets involved and stops them. Most of the time Picard threatens to tattle on them to their home world if they do it again.

IMHO, that formula is why the Ferengi never worked as a nemesis. From the beginning the Romulans and Klingons were shown as unified forces to be reckoned. Even in ENT the Andorians and Vulcans that they could stand on their own and were to be respected. But the Ferengi were never shown that way. There was never the threat of a competent fleet that could be on the verge of attack. It was always just a rouge Ferengi or group of Ferengi misbehaving.

I guess, ultimately, I'm going to have to go with weak.

At least they got it right with the Cardassians.
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Old April 16 2014, 08:26 PM   #7
Timo
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

I'd say the Ferengi recognize their own strengths and weaknesses very well, and therefore might actually be a deadly enemy - very few other players are capable of that!

There is no "actual" Ferengi military, it seems. There are just DaiMons out for themselves, or for a well-paying employer, sometimes acting ruthlessly but often timidly, whichever is more sensible. "Peak Performance" and "Rascals" showed that one-on-one and certainly two-on-one starship combat might well go in Ferengi favor and that the Ferengi would in certain circumstances dare win such a fight despite the possibility of Starfleet reprisal. In theory, the Ferengi could score well-planned strategic victories left and right with their armed starships - but they would certainly need to wield other types of weapon as well, probably economic, to prevent the victims from striking back with full force.

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Last edited by Timo; April 16 2014 at 10:40 PM.
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Old April 16 2014, 09:33 PM   #8
TheGoodStuff
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

JirinPanthosa wrote: View Post
The Ferengi have very little military power.

However they are extremely powerful because they control most of the commerce in the quadrant. They're an economic superpower. They have no real enemies because they can buy off anyone who would threaten them. All the other powers in the galaxy have been fighting each other and knocking each other down, and the Ferengi haven't been at war in millennia.

In other words, tiny sword, MASSIVE pen.

This is my interpretation too. The Ferengi are not about conflict and many species would probably not dream of every attacking them.

So many species probably rely on the Ferengi for essentials/goodies that either:

1. An Embargo
2. Or calling in of favours

Is all the Ferengi would need to make a situation very awkward for a hostile force against them.
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Old April 17 2014, 12:56 AM   #9
SchwEnt
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

How powerful?
The most power that money can buy, right?
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Old April 17 2014, 02:11 AM   #10
bbjeg
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

I wouldn't be surprised if they were in all the other species pockets. If the Cardassians challenge them, they'll ask the Federation for assistance and make a deal with the Romulans. If the Romulans move on them, they'll employee Klingons. If the Maquis or Bajorans try to infiltrate them, they'll pay off some Cardassians to take care of them. Really, who needs armies when money can do the work for you? Plus armies are expensive.
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Old April 17 2014, 02:34 AM   #11
HIjol
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

Power without finance and commerce is just that...you cannot afford to take it to the enemy, or move your agenda if all your capital is spent acquiring Power...just ask the U.S.S.R., when they weaponized themselves into the Poor House...I think the Ferengi would have had a great deal of Strength (Power + Capital) if they had been written with a little less silliness and juvenile tendency...
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Old April 17 2014, 03:47 PM   #12
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

So, even though the Ferengi are capable economically, are they a society capable of unity? They lack a centralized military, and employ individuals who are interested solely in their own advancement. Capitalism is successful because it harnesses the inherent greed within us. It allows us to act as is within our nature, unlike communism and fascism. But, the Ferengi take it to an extreme. Could they even act as a cohesive unit in combating threats?
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Old April 17 2014, 04:02 PM   #13
C.E. Evans
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

I think if any force threatened Ferenginar, or any world within the Ferengi Alliance that is key to their economy, the Ferengi would come together and would be something to be seriously reckoned with.

There's probably a Rule of Acquisition about that.
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Old April 17 2014, 04:14 PM   #14
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

jmampilly wrote: View Post
So, even though the Ferengi are capable economically, are they a society capable of unity? They lack a centralized military, and employ individuals who are interested solely in their own advancement. Capitalism is successful because it harnesses the inherent greed within us. It allows us to act as is within our nature, unlike communism and fascism. But, the Ferengi take it to an extreme. Could they even act as a cohesive unit in combating threats?
It occurs to me that we've never seen an actual Ferengi *corporation*. Some of those might have sizeable armies of mercs on retainer and fleets - and hostile takeover could take on a whole broader meaning.
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Old April 17 2014, 04:40 PM   #15
jmampilly
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Re: How Powerful Are the Ferengi?

I agree that the Ferengi could potentially have sizable forces under their belts, yet, without centralized leadership I don't see how they could be a conceivable powerful state. Couldn't some corporations establish separate peace with aggressors, fracturing the species?
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