Roddenberry's Worst Ideas

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by ZapBrannigan, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    It is very obvious that replicator usage is either free or rationed (Sisko talks about having used up all of his transporter credits to beam home every evening as a cadet). Given that there does not seem to be any obesity the latter is probably not necessary.
    While Kirk does have an appartment with a beautiful view in TWOK the captain quarters in all series are as large as those of ordinary crewmembers.

    In the fictionl future of Trek people do their jobs because they love them, not because they have to work to pay the rent and the bills. All tedious work is done by machines and the few civilians we have seen, Picard's brother and Sisko's father, do very obviously love their work. And this shouldn't surprise us, when you are relatively well-off you don't choose the best-paying but the most interesting job. And you don't lay around on the sofa all day because you wanna feel useful.
    We are not purely hedonistic creatures and again the example from Trek is Picard's brother. He could have a far easier time if he used the replicator but he prefers real wine and real cooking.
    Same with the people on the frontier. They could enjoy the easy life in the core of the Federation but they seemingly want some excitement and some challenges in their life so they choose the harder life on a colony.

    The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement. - Aristotle
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Federation Job Placement Officer: "All right, all you guys who want to be sewer divers, raise your hands."
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    1. technological advances would probably make most of the more menial and unpleasant work unnecessary.

    2. even if they don't love the job itself, they might be motivated by doing their civic duty or something-again, you're talking about being raised in a utopian society that values the "common good," maybe they WOULD be enthusiastic about sewer diving if they thought they were contributing something important.
     
  4. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    Or maybe those are the kinds of assignments inmates (like Thomas Eugene Paris) at Federation Penal Settlements are given.
     
  5. Karl Shoottheglass

    Karl Shoottheglass Commodore Commodore

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    Horatio83 saideth: ''It is very obvious that replicator usage is either free or rationed (Sisko talks about having used up all of his transporter credits to beam home every evening as a cadet). Given that there does not seem to be any obesity the latter is probably not necessary.''

    Except in STAR TREK V. There were two distinct cases, even though I love both actors and I'm no Twiggy myself.
     
  6. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "What with this Dabo girl lap dance fee from Quark's?"





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  7. Third Nacelle

    Third Nacelle Captain Captain

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    I just don't see any evidence of the supposed human isolation on earth. In Star Trek, humans are EVERYWHERE. We've even seen instances of a single human owning an entire planet. Humans never seem to have trouble booking a voyage on a civilian transport. Humans are seen at bars and restaurants outside of the Federation all the time. I don't know what a week on Risa costs, but plenty of humans seem able to afford it.

    An offhand comment by Jake that he can't buy something because he's human just doesn't hold up to all the other evidence.
     
  8. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    forced labor from prisoners?


    that doesn't sound very utopian.
     
  9. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If you've ever read the novel Utopia by Sir Thomas More (1516), by the end of the novel you find out Utopia is really a very horrifying place.

    Forced labor is only the beginning.

    In The Undiscovered Country (admittedly a movie not a series) the "crew" were shown to be sleeping in double tiered bunks.

    And Data's and Worf's quarters were smaller than Picard's. I would imagine that junior officers/enlisted lacked windows in their personal quarters.

    Not obvious at all. During TOS and whatever they had as a "pre-replicator," I see them (certainly the officers) paying for their meals out of their pay. Kirk mentioned pay. TOS was modeled on the US Navy, and in the US Military officers pay for their meals. Enlisted do eat for free.

    Might want to narrow that down to just "the few civilians we have seen," as seen in TNG/DS9/VOY robots are generally rare, to the point of being unusual. Money is a great incentive to perform crappy jobs, the guy vacuuming the floor at Starfleet Academy (TWOK) was unlikely to have been doing so out of the personal fulfillment he was receiving.

    In the way pseudo-intellectuals use the term, no I am not "right wing."

    Gays are not one trick ponies, To say that we are solely focused upon "gay issues" is wildly inaccurate. That said, a future where gays are not seen - heard - mentioned could not possibly be referred to as hopeful.

    Quark was able to sell his shuttle here to someone, and purchase passage from someone here back to DS9, If he could have simply travel for free, saving himself money in the process, he would have gladly done so.

    :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  10. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    Libertarian right-wing = economically right-wing. Anti-intellectualism is by the way most frequently encountered on the right.

    I think the crucial questions in this debate is whether there are undesirable jobs and whether people are motivated by non-pecuniary incentives. About the former, while I think that there are no crappy jobs like today it is obvious that being e.g. an ordinary mid-level engineer on a starship implies plenty of tedious work. About the latter, in The Drumhead Ensign Tarsis did not seem to be devastated because he cannot pay his bills anymore, he is devastated because his dream job in Starfleet is gone.

    Contemporary jobs are often shitty, not at least because we have virtually no democracy in the workplace. Sure, Starfleet is a mixture between a scientific and a military institution with hierarchies and no formal democracy in this work. But as TNG often pointed out, it is not a boring "follow orders" environment. Picard makes the final decision but he uses the input of each of his senior officers and decision processes on lower levels probably work similarly. This makes a Starfleet job highly interesting, even if you are just an ensign or crewman.
    And as Sonak pointed out, bourgeois ideology doesn't exist anymore in an affluent world so most people are citoyens, i.e. they don't care about material benefits but, to paraphrase Picard, improving themselves and all of humankind. I'd rather have such people conduct an exploratory and defensive agencies than a bunch of narrow-minded egocentrics who only do it because the pay is good.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  11. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Both contemporary life and history show conclusively that people neither pursue only pleasure nor calculate everything in economic terms. It is also a matter of fact that the ruling economic theory does not correctly describe reality. Indeed most of it does not even make an attempt. The primary contribution of academic economists is the repeated attempt to prevent/explain/explain away the business cycle. If you keep score as you go through life, you'll see how well they've been doing.

    The insistence that the future will be like today, except more so, is the same of kind of ideological thinking, if you can dignify the process with that term. It is not Roddenberry's assumption that things will be different, blandly skipping ove the map to the future, that is the mistake. It is the recurrent tendencies of hack writers to confuse their gut with their brain that is the mistake. (Yes, by their own inadvertent admission DS9 is the worst offender in this respect. So be it.)
     
  12. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    No. Kalecki and Keynes basically founded macroeconomics in the thirties and while there has always been an ideological battle between Keynesian and classical economics the syntheses that resulted from the clash of these two schools are not at all denying the business cycle. This is contemporary macro and if you just read the abstract you will realize that it actually does deal with demand management problems. There is no business cycle denial as business cycle is the very research topic!

    There is a difference between academic research and the popularization of it. When Bob Lucas or John Cochrane or some other right-wing asshole from around Chicago denies that one can do something about recessions it is propaganda and not academic research.
     
  13. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I am not invested with the authority to deem that some academic economists are engaged in true research while other are merely propagandizing. Some academically trained economists, including the gentlemen you mention, do indeed explain away the business cycle. (As you point out, it is mostly by claiming it is inevitable but self-curing.)

    Lord Keynes is all very well, but Friedrich Hayek is certainly highly esteemed. Order of the Companion of Honour, I think, plus a Nobel Laureate. His disciple, Margaret Thatcher, was just awrdeded a lavish state funeral for her success in championing his ideas. And there was nearly universal condemnation in official media of anyone so vile as to disapprobate her Hayekian triumphs. Government is the problem, and capitalism is the cure!:rolleyes:

    I can understand why you want to think of only what you can accept as honest attempts at science as constituting the profession of economics. But in the world as it is, isn't that really just wishful thinking?
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Just because there are two schools of thought on something doesn't mean both are equally valid, and one must adopt a "who are we to judge?" attitude. Intelligent design and evolution aren't two equally competing scientific explanations, nor are astrology and astronomy.


    Hayek-Friedmanite "monetarist" economics is right-wing ideology masquerading as a school of thought. Compare the macroeconomic results of Keynesian policies to the former, and if you're a pragmatist or empiricist you'll see who's right.


    um, as for how this relates to Star Trek, I wonder if they teach Keynes at Starfleet Academy...;)
     
  15. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    It is not some. I linked to a paper by Mike Woodford who is THE monetary economist and its underlying methodology is the basic methodology of mainstream macro research. No mainstream macroeconomist gives a shit about Hayek.

    I am not a big fan of mainstream macro by the way as there are plenty of methodological problems. But the basic setup of these models does create underemployment equilibria (via price rigidities) and is not ideologically biased in any way. I don't wanna get more technical and as I said, I don't like the way in which the business cycle is modelled there. As Stiglitz said long ago, there is no financial sector in mainstream macro models so they naturally provide no insights for a financial crisis.

    So yeah, I frankly admit that I am more into heterodox stuff but mainstream economics isn't per se leaning to the right. For every Hayek there is a Stiglitz. Paul Krugman and Richard Koo are the two guys who provide the best insights at the moment as they learned the lesson from Japan and both are classical economists. OK, admittedly Koo seems to be a bit Postkeynesian but you get my point, you can be a classical economist and still be progressive and care about the truth.
    And while there is, as in all other sectors of life, too much corporate influence upon the dismal science and while theory is complicated empirics isn't. We just conducted a large experiment with nasty employment effects in the real world. Of course there are some corrupted assholes who deny the validation of Keynesian theory (or rather the the rough implications of ALL Keynesian schools of thought, Old Keynesian, Neokeynesian and Postkeynesian) but when there are liars we call them liars and don't give up on an entire social science.
     
  16. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    ^^^(pointing at Sonak's post)How this relates to Star Trek can be stated simplistically enough. Some people think economics proves man and society are unimprovable, and imagining otherwise was Roddenberry's worst mistake. The refinements on this are very elaborate and long, but nothing really changes in the end.

    As to pragmatic and empircal judgments, I really have to add then that pragmatic and empirical judgment of world trade and economic development refute Ricardo's theory of comparative advantage in interternational trade. Since Keyesianism is still based on this, it too is wrong.

    But then, at this point, you will remember I am not qualified to decide who's doing right-wing propaganda and who's doing science.:techman:

    PS This crosed with the response from horatio83. Stiglitz has no Margaret Thatcher. Stiglitz doesn't even have a Mont Pelerin Society. And to be honest I can't see that Woodford has much influence with the IMF. At this point in time, some papers that seem connected to the real world would be useful in teasing humanity with prospect of a change in IMF operations. Has there really been a sea change in policy anywhere but Japan? (And I may be fooled by the PR as to that!?)
     
  17. horatio83

    horatio83 Commodore Commodore

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    No. But you cannot put the blame entirely on academia. And talking about the IMF, they changed their opinion about austerity while all governments besides Japan still go down the path to hell.

    To get back to Trek, I am a classical economist and I have no hard time imagining that growth plus consumption saturation will lead to something like the world of Trek. Non-pecuniary incentives matter. I never met a workaholic who worked so hard because he wanted to earn and consume much and everybody who is very rich doesn't use his money for consumption but for power.
    Sure, this is rarely reflected in economic theory but then again it is hard to do in a methodological sense just like it is hard to model irrational behaviour systematically.
     
  18. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I take that to mean that as a cadet, he had only a limited number of times he can use the transporter, which would be termed as credits, but I could be wrong.

    Notice that humans that do live in places other than earth, that they usually have jobs with other cultures that pay currency.

    Like Kassidy Yates--she's human and works as a freighter captain for the Bajorans and other cultures.

    So you have to wonder, if humans don't need money, why would she work so hard and risk going to prison for helping the Maquis...

    I dont know, either this new economy is far beyond our understanding, or its just weird.

    Too many characters have gone on record as stating that no money exists in the 24th century too many times.

    So here's a theoretical example ; It's the 24th century... Someone wants to buy a nice piece of property. They go to the person who owns it.

    " How much can I buy it for? "
    "It will be 250 credits/whatever."

    "How much do you have in your account ?"

    "About 3 credits"
    "Sorry you cant have it unless you get 247 more."

    To me, that conversation equals a discussion about money. :lol:
     
  19. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    it would be interesting (and informative) to know exactly how Sisko came by his "transporter credits" in the first place. Allocated by the academy, provided by society, or purchased out of Sisko pocket?

    SISKO: For the first few days ...
    JAKE: You must have used up a month's worth of transporter credits.
    SISKO: And after about the fifth, sixth day, you couldn't pry me from that campus.


    How do you use up a month's worth of transporter credits with six round trips? If transporter use is free in a moneyless environment, Sisko's use of the system would have been unlimited. If his use were restricted by the academy to a dozen usages a month, would Jake reasonable know this? Jake might have been able to figured that young Sisko could only afford "a few days" worth of transporter travel in the course of any given month, should Sisko have been purchasing the transporter credits with his own money.

    But there are numerous examples of money's existence too. So what do you do?

    That not what I was referring too.

    But that was. (thank you for playing)


    :)
     
  20. yousirname

    yousirname Commander Red Shirt

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    Accept that canon is self-contradictory and move on?