Discussion in 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' started by spacegod, Sep 27, 2012.
I was wondering....is there some kind of currency in the 2400's? Like space credits or something?
The Cardassians are said to use leks.
The Ferengi use gold pressed latinium, which seems to be the US dollar of the Alpha Quadrant pretty much.
The Federation somehow doesn't have any currency system it somehow being "primitive"
The federation seems to be on a odd barter/favor style economy, largely informal. Starfleet does tend to make use of "offshore stipends" and rationing on occasion as well. While they do not use currency directly, when interacting with nationstates that do use currency, they pay for things by providing energy or supplies it seems.
Picard's infamous First Contact quote suggests no money but in practice, any economy requires some means of exchange. Whether it's real or virtual currency, or some other token, or even some kind of impromptu ad-hoc barter system, there has to be some means of converting one resource into another in a moderately culturally-durable way.
This wouldn't be the case if resources had no value (i.e. no energy required to create them), but we consistently see that despite fusion/warp power, transporter/replicator tech, etc, etc, resources still retain a value. It's a mere fraction of what they would cost without those advanced technologies, I'm certain, but a cost remains attached to them.
(An example of a society where money truly wouldn't be required would be the Q, where matter and energy are transmutable - and perhaps can even be created or destroyed with no regard to overall entropy - solely through thought).
While a resource has a value, the process to create it also has a value, and so does the time commitment of those involved in its creation. How you measure that value (i.e. whether something called "money" is used to translate things from resource to resource) is somewhat irrelevant. It only influences the economic efficiency of the translation process (money is a lot more efficient than bartering).
It's possible that the internal Federation economy takes this efficiency even further and trades actual energy requirements around, rather than using money as a proxy to measure those requirements. If you can measure energy requirements sufficiently accurately, you can value things based on the energy required to create and maintain them, and the energy required to keep someone fed & sheltered. Highly valued people would accrue extra energy resources, permitting a more luxurious lifestyle.
Technically, this system wouldn't be using money - in this scenario, a currency is not needed to generate accurate comparisons of value - so is consistent with Picard's statement. But in practice, it's simply a more efficient monetary medium (again money simply being a way to assign consistent values to permit comparison).
I always thought the idea of no money was an altruistic Roddenberry-ism that is just not realistic. Holdfast explained it very eloquently, but there simply has to be some sort of value placed on the exchanges of resources and services. I think DS9 did a better job of showing the reality of currency.
I remember watching the episode where we see Sisko working in his fathers restaurant on earth. If there is no money then essentially the food is free, right? What's there to stop someone from just glutting themselves on everything with no restraint? Humans have been greedy and self serving since the dawn of man, is all that supposed to magically go away in just a few hundred years?
Excellent point. The Federation's no-money policy is not practical or realistic.
Do people work in dilithium mines because they enjoy it or to better themselves? Do people construct photon torpedoes to better themselves? If you work over 80 hours a week, it's not selfish to want to be compensated for what you've done.
I agree. Personally, I think that while there isn't anything that stops someone from doing that, there isn't any huge reason to just chow down anyways. Assuming that this version of earth is post-scarcity, one can chow down on replicated food all one wishes, but they come to restaurants and the like for that extra bit of fresh flavor that replicators can't quite achieve, and to socialize with others. It is a bit unrealistic to beleive that absolutely no one would be selfish, but I'd imagine that in this version of earth, being selfish just doesn't have that strong of a reward.
Here we go again . . .
No one's forcing you to read this.
I've long thought that when Picard snootily told the 20th century people that 24th century people don't use money, he meant 24th century Starfleet people. But this is obviously ridiculous, since in "Encounter at Farpoint" Beverly is seen buying a bolt of cloth and telling the merchant to charge it to her account. That presupposes that there is some way for her to draw on whatever currency units she needs to meet the price asked by the merchant.
The TOS series used "credits" which were apparently real, whether in physical form or some kind of virtual money. But I say "real" because if you don't have enough credits in your account (or in your wallet), you don't get whatever it is you wanted to buy.
Sure, Ben Sisko's father runs a restaurant, partly because he enjoys providing real food to people instead of replicated crap. But it would be insane of him to not try to make a profit. Since he's a civilian, he obviously uses money of some sort.
When Picard and Ro Laren were doing their undercover thing, Ro was pretending to be a prostitute. She told Picard that they had to make it look to any observers that they were negotiating her price - which would presumably be paid in strips of gold-pressed latinum, since this was not only a civilian situation, but actually an underground situation.
DS9 evidently uses gold-pressed latinum as the currency of choice on the "frontier", much as the Wild West used gold and silver. But that's not to say the more "civilized" parts of the Federation would use this; they'd likely do the equivalent of online banking.
There is no problem with that whatsover. Moneless economy doesn't mean that if a citizen hides money in his house, police come, beat the living daylights out of him, then take him to gulag. Private people would stil have forms of wealth, it just wouldn't be dollars, because dollars are just paper.
Private transaction would stil occur no doubt, but major, official, transactions (and honestly, the ones that really matter) between state and citizens would have no money. If you want to buy a painting from a collector, you'd have to caugh up whatever he wants, whether it's dylithium, gold or something else. If you don't have what he wants, you'd have to barter like Jake did for that baseball card.
However, if Starfleet wants to build Enterprise, they wouldn't pay money for it. There would be some sort of reward for few (since most of it would be automated) people that work on it, but they wouldn't be payed in currency. For example, there must be a reason why Kirk has a nice apartment in SF with a view, while some bum who spends his days in a bar doesn't.
Humans are stil gready, they're just greedy for knowledge, creation, science. In 24th century, they don't care about having the latest Iphone.
Of course with the Federation being the epitome of an entitlement society, the entire no money thing could just be a grand scheme to mooch free handouts from alien species much like Jake did to Nog in "In the Cards"
See, I'm just not 'buying' that. There will always be things that people want, whether it's an iphone or the latest transporter installed in your living room. And unless resources are unlimited, there was to be a value put on the exchange of them. Likewise, someone still needs to do the grunt work of civilization, and those people surely aren't doing it to fulfill their hunger for knowledge.
I also think if they make humans too perfect, it makes the show boring. How many of us rolled our eyes when Picard made that statement about money? To me it was what was wrong with that episode, they tried to make the 24th century humans too far removed from us, which made them unrelatable and unrealistic.
Picard certainly wanted his first edition big book of Shakespearean Plays. After the Enterprise crash in GEN, he and Riker dug through the wreckage to find it, rather than simply replicating a new one later.
Picard made a few bombastic statements to the 20th century people, but he never came right out ans said that 24th century people don't use money.
Realistically the replicator has a operating cost, and a initial purchase/manufacturing cost. Whether virtual money, credits, GPL, or a direct value exchange (labor for goods). Might be cheaper than Sisko's restaurant, but not entirely free.
Yeah there would be a value placed on them. You'd only be able to get the transporter through some sort of credit system from the state. An iPhone would be a custome made device, and you'd pay however the person that made it wanted you to pay. That's not part of offical economy that Picard would talk about because it's insignificant compared to the state economy. However, I bet that the person would make you pay with whatever credit system the state deals in because gold wouldn't be too useful.
I myself buy it because there are plenty of people who don't care too much about gimmicks. In the 24th century, there is a lot more of them. Considering the nature of the collectivistic society they have, it's not too hard to believe nor unrealistic.
Would depend on who is running the transporters. Is it public mass transit like the the city buses? Or is it more like the private owned taxi services and the airlines? Prior to stepping onto the transporter pad, you select your destination and pay for transport out of your account.
There's always that good Bolian money. The system might be such that you would put into the transaction whatever type of money you wanted and the seller would receive any kind of money they wished. You pay in Klingon Darseks, and they receive depending on the financial exchange rates at that moment in time the equivalent amount in Bajorian Litas.
Even Picard had his little nick-nacks.
Don't think we ever saw a collectivist system in Star Trek. Quite the opposite really. We saw privately owned restaurants, vineyards, starships, shuttles, houses and such.
The exchange system sounds good, but I don't think they would have private taxis in quasi communist Federation!
Cloth paper is still paper, the same as wood pulp paper. In fact, cloth paper used to be the norm.
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