Why can't Latinum be replicated?

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by The Borg Queen, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    But standards evolve or inflate. The "Treasury-quality printer" might well be struggling to make a copy that would pass a cursory examination by the crappiest commercially available thumbnail tricorder. And for truly "real" stuff, you'd need a replication system the size of a building, at which point it would be cheaper to buy a small starship and rob a bank with it.

    After all, we do know that replicators seldom bother to make truly exact copies: our heroes always find reasons to complain about the quality of the food or are able to get forensic evidence of forgery etc.

    The "GPL can't be replicated" idea is an inconsistent one when we see and hear that basically everything can be replicated. But we also see and hear that many things are not replicated despite this being perfectly possible, which is quite consistent with the existence of GPL-style currency.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  2. The Borg Queen

    The Borg Queen Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2006
    Location:
    Does it matter?
    Food has complex organic molecules in different arrangements and different densities. Not just the physical material of the substances but the molecules that make flavour. Like the difference between today's artificial food flavourings and real fruit's flavour molecules.

    I imagine it's hard to get the balance exactly right. Maybe chocolate mousse is a little too firm, or soup is a little too runny, who knows exactly what it is about the "taste" of replicated food that makes it different from traditionally prepared and cooked food.

    With a substance that is most likely just a copy/paste/area-fill pattern it's probably a lot easier.
     
  3. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    It's possible the sameness, the complete reproducibility of replicated food is what's the "problem" for gourmands in the 24th century. The food from the replicator is always the same; every time you replicate chicken Parmesan, for instance, it's exactly the same as the last time you replicated it, because it's the same program. In contrast, food prepared by hand will vary every time. People who prefer "real" food prefer the variety, then.

    As for GPL, the why can't the replicator be considered the ATM of the 24th century?
     
  4. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2003
    Or then they complain just for the sake of complaining - the "problem" for gourmands in any century!

    Why should GPL be less complex than food?

    Indeed. The temptation to use it for forgery is great, though: even if you aren't authorized to replicate a brick of GPL (that is, you don't have the Ferengi bank account to back it up), you will only get caught if the person you offer it to goes and checks all the hidden "serial numbers" in and on it. We know the slips can be checked by biting or by listening for the sound they make when bouncing, but we have never seen anybody check a brick.

    Then again, we have never seen anybody actually receive a brick for payment, either. Quite possibly, one only accepts bricks when a suitable checking device is at hand. Or then trust is the word, as the person offering an un-backed brick is going to get caught eventually, and his crime is great enough to warrant a death squad sent after him.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  5. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    I'll have a shot.

    In the TOS book "Prime Directive" it talks about Dilithium being something alongs the lines of a ""fourth dimension"" element. Hence why IT can't be replicated. I'd say Latinum is the same. Thats why its worth so much. There is only so much to go around.
     
  6. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    If latinum is valuable only because it is limited, then how can the money supply expand? We know it can; Ferenginar suffered from rampant inflation in the 2350s.
     
  7. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    well i dunno... How does gold and silver work?
     
  8. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Gold and silver aren't currency anymore.
     
  9. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    but they do have value. and X gold will give me Y cash. That price goes up and down.
     
  10. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Modern currency isn't backed by gold or any other precious material. We use fiat money. But I'm supposed to believe that the Ferengi run an interstellar government and are a major power in the galactic economy because they use bits of liquidy metal that they supposedly can't replicate as a currency? This situation is considered credible?

    Why does something have to incapable of being replicated to be valuable? Paper, ink, and electrons are all ridiculously common, yet that's what we use in our current financial system. Why would a supposedly more advanced civilization use simple shiny rocks as a currency?
     
  11. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Thats my whole point. It can't be replicated.. THAT'S why it's so valuable.
    Same thing IRL. Cash isn't that easy to make.(well) One of the reason(among many) that it holds value.
     
  12. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    Cash doesn't derive its value from being hard to make. It's paper and ink. I can make reproductions of $100 bills with my home printer. The US dollar is backed by people's faith in the government; it holds value because we all agree that it's valuable. I see no evidence that latinum is anything other than another fiat currency.

    Now, printing money at home is not legal, but that's not what this topic is about. It's entirely possible that replicating latinum at home is illegal for Ferengi, and that only the Ferengi government is allowed to issue gold-pressed latinum. That doesn't make it unreplicable.

    The original question was "Why can't latinum be replicated?" The question starts from the baseless assumption that it can't be replicated - but no character ever stated that it couldn't be replicated. So I see no reason to assume that it can't be replicated, because there's no evidence that it can't be replicated. It's all fanon, based on most fans cursory understanding of economics and finance. Just because the Ferengi use it as currency doesn't prove that it can't be replicated. Financial systems don't require currency to be backed by something like gold to function.
     
  13. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Fine, if thats what you need...

    Here is why it ""can't"" be replicated. Of course it can, "anything" can be replicated so long as you have the time and resources. Problem is, it's just not worth it to replicate it. Lets say one BAR would buy you 20,000kg of matter/antimatter. However to make one bar of said latinum would cost you 20,000 times that amount of matter/antimatter used in a reactor to produce. So it's cost negative to make.

    There you go, that answer is just as good as any given. close the thread and move on.
     
  14. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    It would be foolish to set the value of latinum at a value far below its actual cost of production. It would have to hold at least its own production cost, whether it is mined, manufactured, or replicated. If one bar costs 400,000,000 units of matter/antimatter to produce, then it must be worth at least 400,000,000 units, and in actuality probably more.
     
  15. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Ya, not so much. You are forgetting that i'm guessing it's mined out of the ground. Oddly enough much like diamonds are today. Oh sure we can make them easily enough. However that doesn't mean my wife wears a man made one. And while gem quality diamonds can be made.. People simply won't wear them. Never mind the fact that they are easy to spot as ""fakes"".
     
  16. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    So in your view, latinum is kept artificially scarce. Maybe so, but there's no evidence of that, either.

    As for diamonds, it is a completely artificial scarcity. Your wife and mine wear diamonds that were mined, but I doubt that a layman could tell the difference between natural and "artificial" diamonds. I'm trained to find the differences. Most people aren't. Practically speaking, natural diamonds are just flawed versions of artificial diamonds.
     
  17. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Of course you are..

    But my point is. If there is endless Latinum then what's the point?
     
  18. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2009
    Location:
    T'Girl
    It costs two and a half cents to make a penny.

    :)
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2001
    The point is the same as it is now - to earn the most latinum possible. I'm not saying the supply is infinite, I'm just saying it doesn't have to be unreplicable to be used as currency.

    I'm surprised the Ferengi use anything as awkward as bars and bricks, anyway. Slips and strips of GPL seem easy enough to keep in a pocket, but the larger stuff isn't easily carried or stored. Why wouldn't they use mostly computerized banking?

    No substance was ever explicitly described as being incapable of replicated. It's odd that so many fans latched on to the idea that latinum can't be replicated when there's no evidence of that being the case. It's just like when fans insisted that Spock must have been the first Vulcan in Starfleet, despite no character ever claiming that.

    And yes, T'Girl, I know the one cent coin costs more to produce than it's worth at face value (and I expected you to point that out) but it is the exception, not the rule. It doesn't cost $2 to make a $1 bill.
     
  20. Saturn0660

    Saturn0660 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Joined:
    May 16, 2001
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    You make my points for me.. If it was easy to replicate then it would have NO value. Thats the point. Do you think that if i could print $100 that could be passed that i'd bother to have a job?? Why would you.. Just print up the cash for verizon bill.

    BTW last year the price for printing a Nickel was up to 11 cents. How far do you want this to go. We are now up to half.
    .01/.05/.10/.25 <--- normal circulation coins.