Buying and selling technology

Discussion in 'Trek Tech' started by Unicron, Apr 2, 2022.

  1. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    In recently rewatching DS9 as part of my overall rewatch, I got up to "Business as Usual" when Quark briefly goes into the weapon business. I've never really liked the problems with the Federation seemingly not using currency, because it seems like the galactic market has plenty of goods and services. There have been other references on TNG and DS9 to trade goods that have a high value (the mundane components the Cardassians were supposedly using to make weapons in "Preemptive Strike" and biomemetic gel in "In The Pale Moonlight" as two examples) that are generally only available in exchange for something else special.

    The Ferengi seem to be the closest to modern day capitalism with DS9 in particular going into more detail about how elements of their economy work. What sort of space economy do you think is likely to exist?
     
  2. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I never got that episode. They wouldn’t talk to Quark…but somebody had to build phasers.

    In terms of commerce…I think there is a guaranteed minimum…gratis. Want more than that? Find a trade.
     
  3. Ixtl

    Ixtl Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Last edited: Apr 3, 2022
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  4. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    I got the impression that part of the problem was Gaila and his partner seemed to do a lot of sales in the military sector, even selling weapons to both sides if they could profit and not get caught. And I think the moral implications of that bothered Quark's friends as much as eventually Quark himself. There are of course other venues where one might produce and sell weapons to, say, law enforcement or colonial governments. Something that wouldn't automatically lead to such tools being abused, hypothetically.

    The fact that many cultures outside the Federation seem to have a version of capitalism is one reason I've found in implausible that the Feds don't have something equivalent. They're clearly familiar with the concept of money/currency even if it's less common, so that makes writing more of a challenge.
     
  5. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Did Mudd actually do this inside UFP space though?
    Even if it may have been inside UFP space, remember that UFP does't strictly limit individuals on how they conduct their business (unless they start endgangering other people or try to smuggle banned or illegal substances).

    The UFP as a government and most of its citizenry don't seem to need or use money/currency or means of exchange and live in a largely non-monetary economy (even Kirk mentioned money isn't used in the future).

    In the 23rd century, its possible that planets on the fringes of UFP space were more 'ambiguous' when it came to economic standards and how people live their life - those planets were more 'removed' from UFP governance (and SF activity in those parts may have been less evident at the time due to the smaller fleet)... and depending on when they joined UFP, some may have needed more time to transition.

    If I remember correctly, there was some mention of 'primitive Federation societies'... this could mean that back in the 23rd century (and maybe even the 22nd), less advanced species may have already been aware of space faring species and actively conducted business with them but otherwise didn't have Warp technology themselves (or they did but were far less advanced overall compared to the rest of Galactic community and had many unresolved societal and planetary issues), and they could have been allowed to join UFP due to less strict measures in that time.

    Those planets might have only met the bare minimum to get accepted into UFP (which in turn also wanted to grow as an organisation) but for large scale changes and non-monetary economy to set place, they needed more time to incorporate.. so it looked more like a mashup of socio-economic systems with emphasis on money/currency in some parts of UFP early on which would have basically been taken cared of in the proceeding decades.

    By the 24th century, the UFP may have tightended up its criteria for planets and/or species joining the UFP and insisted that Warp capable species had stable planetary governments with no conflicts and were actively working on transitioning away from monetary based economy - basically, to better prepare them for life in UFP and also avoid potential problems that may have become apparent in the 22nd and 23rd century from accepting planets that didn't have their act together.

    So, in the 22nd and 23rd century, more leeway may have been given to less advanced Warp capable cultures (or even those that weren't warp capable but aware of aliens) and could have been admitted into UFP, which would make certain parts of UFP space (such as outlying colonies or recently admitted less advanced member planets) murkier in terms of economic standards which the UFP could have improved substantially after TOS and when Kirk's movies ended.

    So, still non-monetary on a large scale, but some parts of it may have still used currency/money or some form of capitalism because they were in transitionary stages.
    Plus, the 23rd century UFP also had to contend with some powerful 'lords' which may have slowed down elimination of monetary based economies in those areas and transition to non-monetary means... or those parts of space were never inside UFP space (at least not at the time).
     
  6. KamenRiderBlade

    KamenRiderBlade Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    In my head canon, the UFP has a very "Highly Regulated" form of Capitalism that is closer to "Equivalent Exchange" principles found in Video Game Logic with ALOT of the of the regulation focused on "Neither Inflating/Deflating the value of currency", but focused on stable values for buying/selling of goods & services based on scientific analysis of fair value based on labor/work costs from people, ecological costs, energy/matter resource costs, etc.
     
  7. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    From the script of the episode The Apple:

    KIRK: Trying to get yourself killed. Do you know how much Starfleet has invested in you?
    SPOCK: One hundred twenty two thousand two hundred....
    KIRK: Never mind. But thanks.

    Hmmmm............
     
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  8. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Could have been hours of training... specific resources, etc.
    Should we immediately jump to 'money'?
     
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  9. Ixtl

    Ixtl Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    KIRK: Well, Mister Spock. It seems it's up to you and me.
    SPOCK: It would appear so, Captain.
    KIRK: The Federation has invested a great deal of money in our training. They're about due for a small return. We have two hours with which to do it in.
    SPOCK: But only two. More Organians will die.

    -Errand of Mercy :)
     
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  10. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    Seems that there is some kind of financial system in play during TOS to have wealthy financiers and patent owners.

    "Mudd's Women":
    CHILDRESS: Let's get right to business. You want lithium crystals and we've got them.
    KIRK: Fine. I'm authorized to pay an equitable price
    ...
    MCCOY: That must have been quite a talk you made down there. Ever try considering the patent medicine business?​

    "I, Mudd":
    MUDD: Yes, well, I organized a technical information service bringing modern industrial techniques to backward planets,
    making available certain valuable patents to struggling young civilizations throughout the galaxy.
    KIRK: Did you pay royalties to the owners of those patents?
    MUDD: Well, actually, Kirk, as a defender of the free enterprise system, I found myself in a rather ambiguous conflict
    as a matter of principle.
    SPOCK: He did not pay royalties.
    MUDD: Knowledge, sir, should be free to all.
    KIRK: Who caught you?
    MUDD: That, sir, is an outrageous assumption.
    KIRK: Yes. Who caught you?
    MUDD: I sold the Denebians all the rights to a Vulcan fuel synthesizer.
    KIRK: And the Denebians contacted the Vulcans.​

    and Flint from "Requiem for Methuselah"
    UHURA: The planet was purchased thirty years ago by a Mister Brack, a wealthy financier and recluse.​
     
  11. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    And yet Kirk mentioned in ST IV that they don't use money.
    Back in TOS, this can be attributed to the idea that a non-money UFP was not yet fleshed out that well (which it wasn't).
    As such, that can be readily discarded.

    Similarly, to how the 1701 managed to travel at 1000 Ly's per day (or much more) in a few episodes, but later on Janeway mentioned on VOY that back in the 23rd century ships were half as fast and VOY itself was only able to cover 1000 Ly's in a year.

    Plus, VOY also established that money went the way of the dinosaurs in late 22nd century... small retcons occurred throughout the times it seems, so I don't think all of what was said in TOS should be taken at face value (although, it would have been nice if the 1701 was capable of 1000 Ly's per day... and that in the 24th century, this was further enhanced by about 10 times and VOY was thrown WAY beyond the Milky Way to make the trip back home in 75 years at those speeds.
     
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  12. blssdwlf

    blssdwlf Commodore Commodore

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    They are all true if you think of each series as being in their own universe :) TOS Kirk operated in the 22nd century while Movie Kirk in the 23rd century. One of the Kirk's lived well past ST:Generations according to TNG's "Relics" while another Kirk died in that movie. :)
     
  13. Sgt_G

    Sgt_G Commodore Commodore

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    Maybe they converted completely over to BitCoin and don't use cash money anymore.
     
  14. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sure, I thought of the idea that
    Bitcoin and digital currencies are still money like cash is.
    It would be disingenuine trying to separate them when they are in fact the same thing and both are equally based off the same thing (aka, based on nothing really - generated out of thin air mainly).
    Also, both act as a barrier to acquiring access to goods and services... that's why the UFP doesn't use money... they removed the barrier that money presents in acquiring resources and are similar to RBE/TVP as presented by Jacque Fresco (but not 100% the same).

    Even holo Janeway told Pog in Prodigy that the Federation moved beyond currency and that use of replicators (among other things) is free.
    If they still used money, she probably would have told Pog that he has an allocation of digital currency at his disposal as a cadet... and yet nothing of the kind was said. She specifically said 'FREE'.
     
  15. ChallengerHK

    ChallengerHK Captain Captain

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    They may not use money, i.e. cash or BitCoin, but they use credits, as in billion credit starship. From what we can tell, they sound like money.
    Money is a way to transfer, carry and store wealth. It's not a barrier to anything. NOT having money can be a barrier, but then you have to ask yourself why the individual in question has none. Then you can go on to the philosophical problem of why some people have money and some don't.
     
  16. Unicron

    Unicron Boss Monster Mod Moderator

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    Perhaps part of the issue is the assumption that Earth has solved materialistic problems, and presumably many other Federation cultures have had similar developments, thus money as we think of it today seems less important. I'm not sure if it's a particularly realistic idea, even within a fictional context.

    I was rewatching "In The Cards" the other night and think that one reason the episode works is that it has fun with the concept of favorable exchanges. Everybody needs help with something.
     
  17. Deks

    Deks Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Ususally people don't have money because they can't earn enough to support themselves. It would be really lazy to describe people who don't have enough money that they are 'lazy' or 'wasteful' with their finances... because we certainly know that most people ended up losing money due to problematic circumstances in the existing economy which resulted in them losing thier jobs through no fault of their own, plunging further into debt and with no way of exiting this problem.

    And also, its not easy to 'get a better job'. People who usually suggest this are so far removed from the reality of what it takes to get a job and whether or not it will be enough to support an individual that it actually sickens me they suggest this. Sure, for some situations, its applicable, but they callously suggest the idea as if the people in question already hadn't thought of the idea (which they usually have) and simply don't understand its not as easy to get it.

    Money is a hinderance to accessing resources (which we produce in abundance mainly via automation in this day and age). Over 11 million people die every year due to starvation (despite the fact we produce more than enough to feed the world several times over), homelessnes (depsite the fact there's multiple empty homes per each homeless person in any given country or nation) and preventable diseases (despite the fact we produce both vaccines and drugs in abundance and can distribute them effectively throughout the globe).

    Oh and claiming capitalism lifted more people out of poverty is not adding anything of relevance to the discussion, because its incorrect. Its actually increasing levels of inequality to ridiculous proportions... and lets not forget that because of money, the socio-economic system is rigged to promote greed, selfishness and glorifies some kind of 'financial success' in society as a 'status' (Which is entirely arbitrary and uuseless).
    It also promotes heavy consumption of natural resources with practically 0 emphasis on conservation, repair or recycling - essentially promoting 'infinite growth' (which is impossible on a finite planet).

    Whenever wars need to be waged, cost (or money) are praxtically never an object... however, whenever it comes to solving social problems (despite relatively easy and logical solutions that could have been implemented LONG time ago), suddenly it becomes a problem (even though its been demonstrated that eradicating poverty and numerous other problems like homelessnes and starvation - not to mention preventable diseases) would have not only been FAR cheaper, but also saved money in the long run and benefited the world in general.

    And please don't bring any nonsense about 'human nature' into the discussion because science has long discredited that myth at this point.

    As for UFP using credits... this was only seen once in TNG opening pilot and mainly when the SF crew were on a non-UFP member planet.
    Its not a stretch to think the UFP might have special provisions for dealing with alien species or prospective member planets seeking entry into UFP but otherwise mainly relies on trade with alien species (and mostly for the purpose of preserving good relations rather than acquisition of resources - because technically, with the UFP space being so vast, and given its level of technology, it should be able to make virtually anything it needs).
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2022
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