What is civlian life like in the Federation?

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Civ001, Mar 10, 2014.

  1. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In a post-scacrity economy, people would not be pressured economically to stay in jobs where they are talked down to. So, in answer to your question, hardly anyone would work as a butler and be talked down to, because they don't have to stay.
     
  2. bbjeg

    bbjeg Admiral Admiral

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    Right here buddy.
    Oops, thought he said six billion dead.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yep, THIS is actually the serious criticism of Trek's "utopian future," NOT the silly "why can't I steal my neighbor's apartment?" one.


    Why would anyone do the kind of jobs we've occasionally seen, like cleaning out replicators or menial service jobs?

    you might see why folks would do crappy jobs in Starfleet as a way of moving up to what they eventually WANT to do, but there's no reason for someone to take a menial civilian job in a future like Trek's, where all your needs are provided for.


    The argument used by many "utopians" now would be that technology would make it so that there were no jobs like that, they'd be automated or something like that.
     
  4. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Meh, what 's a order of magnitude among friends.

    Riker used the number 600 million without qualifications, so all of the above that could be attributed to, have been a result of, the war.


    :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  5. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Right. Most people today don't fetch pales of water from the local creek, dig their own outhouses, make their own candles, cut their own hair, slaughter their own animals, etc, etc. Life is easier in that regard, but work and the drive to work at something worthwhile remains.

    There won't be "maids" in the future. Maybe ensigns have clean the replicator buffer because you have to know how things work in order to repair them when they break or to innovate better models. What's the alternative? Aren't there scifi stories of machines lasting so long that degenerate societies begin to worship them as magic? I imagine it's the same for civilian jobs.

    But also, Trek has the cheesy sci-fi habit of trying to make things "relatable" to the viewer in ways that don't make sense upon scrutiny. It may be anachronistic having to "manually scrub a replicator buffer" in the way it is when they have people handing pads to each other to deliver reports...e-mail doesn't exist in the future??

    Another example that gets me is how each pad usually only has only one window open so you have the main character's desk littered with half a dozen of them to show "how hard at work" they are...I have nine tabs open on my screen as I type this.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see a survey that showed most Americans don't like their jobs similarly to that I wouldn't be to see one that showed most black people in the U.S. were illiterate in 1850.

    Most people work because - ultimately - it's what adults do. It's physically and mentally healthy. Yes, most people wouldn't mind the requisite riches associated with an idle life, but they'd also rather stave off an early dementia by having something to do with themselves.
     
  6. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This is from Voyager:

    So... scrubbing plasma conduits is humiliating. Apparently it has to be done. Holo-programs were only recently created. That means at some point, people had to be doing it?

    So someone is going to eagerly volunteer to scrub plasma conduits for no compensation because it enriches them?

    With these attitudes, the only jobs people would want or be willing to do are high end professional jobs due to snobbery.

    Now, at end of the day if you get a fat check or bonus or something you want or needed that makes scrubbing conduits worth it.

    But when there are no needs and wants and money is obsolete? Does it make sense to scrub plasma conduits?

    Not really putting down the wonderful future in Trek, but some of it makes earth civilian life look odd or outright weird in some ways.

    Until it provides some specific explanations.
     
  7. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    People have been providing explanations. The most common one is that people will do menial work as part of working their way toward more rewarding jobs or as part of learning more complex ones.
     
  8. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    The issue isn't why people wouldn't work, just why they'd do crappy work. Of course "work" provides all kinds of healthy social effects, but if you're doing it voluntarily and it's what you love, then it pretty much ISN'T "work." You'd see a lot of would-be poets, musicians, writers, artists, holo-program designers, teachers, coaches, etc. in the future-in other words, the kind of stuff that is regarded as fun, creative, or rewarding.

    Other than in a hierarchical, quasi-military organization like Starfleet though, I don't know who'd voluntarily accept menial jobs for the promise of more rewarding ones. Why would you do this? Is it like hazing? "go clean toilets and eventually you can be the team coordinator?":confused:
     
  9. grendelsbayne

    grendelsbayne Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    For the same reason people do it now. There are millions of people in the world who accept menial work in exchange for the promise of advancement in their chosen field, rather than finding some other type of work where they wouldn't have to.

    The point is not that it's easy to find meaningful work in the Federation, the point is that certain types of jobs will always be exclusive, so anyone who really, really wants to do those specific jobs will still have to work their way up to the top through fierce competition.
     
  10. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If I can suspend my disbelief long enough to buy FTL space travel, telepathy, and Klingons, it's not a giant leap to entertain the possibility that jobs may be more interesting in the future as well. I for one hope they are.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, the most common conclusion that people have been providing is that what we're seeing doesn't make sense if the future population doesn't have to work, if there no compensation for their efforts.
     
    The obvious might be right there.
     
    But people would still take "menial jobs" if all their needs weren't simply being provided. If they needed to provide for themselves through employment and financial income.
     
    Data had one in the last TNG episode.
     
    And there was a wait staff in Ten Forward, were they all gunning for Guinan's job?

    I think the wait staff were like what you find on American military bases today, spouses of military members get jobs driving taxi, grounds keeping and working in the various on base clubs and the exchange. They work for a paycheck.

    The Ten Forward wait staff were civilian contractor employees of Starfleet, they get paid for their activities. I think this also describes what Keiko was, the barber Mister Mott, and Guinan herself.

    :)
     
  12. PhoenixClass

    PhoenixClass Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yes, and the "working your way up" theory is a way to at least partly resolve that contradiction.

    And the population does have to work, otherwise they would lose all the technological and social advantages their society provides. Even in the 24th century, systems have to be maintained, so there are plenty of tasks to go around.
     
  13. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But not in all cases, while the "people are working for a living" theory works in all cases.

    Not all employees can "work their way up" to manager, and a large company of a hundred thousand only has room for one CEO. There is no reasonable expectation of the majority of the employee to be able to move more than a short distance up the company latter.

    If however they are employees for the primary purpose of making a living and providing for themselves (not being provided for), then their compensation for working start immediately, not later.

    And 24th century people would have a perfectly reasonable expectation of recieving financial compensation for their efforts. In exchange for access to their abilities, talents and aquired skills.

    They would then use their income to compensate others in their society (and outside) for goods and services that they provide.

    They might even hire a maid, providing that individual with needed employment.

    :)
     
  14. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That is true.

    Like someone who has access to a replicator who will risk going to prison for their job, Like Kassidy Yates did. A person who needs money or wants a greater reward might risk it.

    But as Picard says, there is no want or need in their century because technology provides needs and comforts. For free.

    Or when Picard goes into Ten Forward and says "Drinks are on me!" Weren't they free already? :lol:

    Some of them are good explanations, but one problem is, Trek itself won't. It always stops short, right at the moment when a good explanation would settle a lot of curiosity.

    And the other problem is that some explanations will clash with what we hear and see the characters do.


    Which would make sense, except Trek characters are on record as saying on earth, humans don't use or trade or earn money.

    3 different characters are on record as saying it, explicitly. So it just throws the whole thing back into oddness.
     
  15. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ But the thing is, even that can be interpreted in different ways. "No money" could simply mean "No currency" and everything is electronic, for example. Which is the way I choose to take it.

    Yes, several characters have said there's no money, but there've also been several instances of "Federation credits" being mentioned*. What THOSE are, is up in the air. But that's what I think the medium of exchange is.

    *This continues even into the 24th century. There is a late TNG episode, for example, where Riker cashes in all of his Federation credit vouchers at Quark's bar so he can get some information. (And yes, he uses that phrase.) And don't forget the very FIRST TNG ep, where Beverly buys that fabric and says they should put it on her "account". Seems pretty cut-and-dried: to have an "account", you have to have a monetary system of SOME kind. ;)
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There's the scene in the piano bar where Riker wanted information from the piano player, she suggests that putting money in her tip jar might help her remember, Riker responds with I don't carry money (no pockets how could he).

    He didn't say sorry but money doesn't exist.
    Riker associates money with a physical object which is carried.
    An musician on a Federation planet had a tip jar.

    Money equals currency? But credits are electronic monetary transfers, not currency. Credits (while actually being money) are not referred to as money.

    That would make sense of the characters statements.

    :)
     
  17. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    yeah, but the REASON most people want those kinds of positions(like CEO for example) is because when they get to them, they get more money. We're assuming a future where getting to a top position DOESN'T actually get you much more than the average employee has.

    Now as I've written, it makes sense for Starfleet, because that's a job that actually has a unique perk: getting to explore space. But what's the incentive for a guy to work a crappy job at XYZ corporation to eventually, after years and years, to get to be vice president in charge of R and D, and get no more benefit for it? Do folks in the future have a fetish for cool job titles?
     
  18. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Power? Prestige? Accomplishment? You get to set the course of the company's future. To decide what it will create. To hire and fire whomever you need to make that happen. To practice a different set of skills than you would in the lab.

    I don't buy that we work primarily for the money. If that were so everyone would study finance and try to break into Wall Street. I think we study whatever we're good at and then seek as much money (freedom) as we can. But that's serving two masters and I think as a society we're better off our talent seeking only to optimize itself. We'd make better products and see less social unrest.
     
  19. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think that wok is necessarily about money either, but again this is about why someone would want to work at positions that they don't like, that may be menial, tiring, non-rewarding, etc. in an economy where they don't have to work AT ALL.


    Like I said, I get why people would still work at jobs they'd enjoy, but I just think you'd have a hard time filling out lower-rung positions on the job ladder when you see your neighbor goofing off all day and still having the same living standards as you do.
     
  20. Arpy

    Arpy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't know how I ultimately feel about there not being any money in the Federation. What irks me most about today's society is the inequity of it more than the inequality. The meritocracy is a falsehood to maintain order. We don't all have the same opportunities. We don't all have the sane safeguards. Billionaires don't work thousands of times harder than others. Oligarchs are veritable aristocrats. ...It's an affront human decency. I feel if money was more efficiently used by the system, it'd matter a lot less, regardless how it was distributed. Maybe by Trek's time they got that all right then found a future economy way to do without money all together.

    Dunno. I love Ron Moore but he's a twat to ridicule something he doesn't understand. Oh Gene couldn't explain how the moneyless economy worked? Oh. Could he explain explain the FTL?

    I'm still curious what life is like in the Federation beyond this though. I mentioned in my first reply different kinds of weird future jobs they may have. Anyone else come up with any?

    When I was younger I used to daydream about automated 24 hour businesses like gas stations or book stores, etc. The latter may not be around much longer, but I used to imagine grabbing a cup of coffee at my local Brentano's Books at four in the morning and getting a first look at the early newspapers. I wouldn't have needed a clerk to help me find anything and cameras could have made sure I wasn't steeling or damaging anything.

    Automated gas stations in the UFP could be antimatter resupply stations lying dormant for years perhaps along spaceplanes coming to life if a ship ever needed an emergency resupply.