Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by hxclespaulplayer, Jan 25, 2013.
An interesting read: http://vanparecon.resist.ca/StarTrekEcon/
I still say: the replicator did it. Remove scarcity, and you change the economic system completely.
Note that the 23rd C had a different economic system than the 24th. Kirk was downright frantic to get mining operations re-started in Devil in the Dark, despite the obvious risk to the workers of whatever was killing them. Not very enlightened of him. Same Federation, same Starfleet, the difference is, no replicators in the 23rd C.
Temis, that bring up the old question, how much does it cost to operate a replicator? And it is not just a matter of eliminating scarcity, in America we're up to our knees in food, but it still cost money to buy at the store, because it cost money to produce and transport.
If it cost money to operate a replicator, then what it produces might be more conveniant, but it wouldn't be "free."
It doesn't cost money to do any of that. It requires energy, of which they have a limitless supply.
^ But replicators still need to be maintained. What happens when a replicator breaks down? You have engineers who go to work on them.
Also, some people refuse to allow replicators in their homes. Picard's brother, for example. These must also be considered.
I support this theory. Despite TVH making a plot point about Kirk not understanding 'correct change' in 1986, the evidence in TOS that some sort of money does exist in the 23rd century far outweighs it. Simply the number of times Kirk refers to his officers "earning their pay" is enough evidence for me (though we might charitably say that it's just an expression...)
The 24th century certainly has forms of currency... but, crucially, Latinum can't be replicated, therefore it retains a monetary value (whereas plain old gold is completely worthless).
I think there should be a sticky regarding the issue of money in Star Trek.
I think there should be sticky money in Star Trek. They should use some sort of globular currency. It'd give a whole new meaning to the phrase "liquidating your assets".
I dunno, Sisko, Riker, O'brien and Eddington always went on about how "real food" tasted better. Would real car parts work better? Would real lightbulbs last longer? So on...
Latinum is liquid naturally... they just put it in gold for ease of use.
It costs not only energy but time. Even if you have energy, it must be allocated to produce your raw materials. This is a service and means less energy elsewhere which means some type of compensation is needed to the energy producer to provide this service.
You also have man hours and time. These must also be compensated. If you read the article (good post btw. I stumbled across it a couple years ago), and further study parecon it is a planned economy.
Even for people without replicators its fine. Community centers and local governments would all host periods to discuss resource requirements ,projects, population needs, consumable goods etc annually or bi annually or quarterly. As a citizen you submit the resources you will require or desire, for which you will be allocated so much work. On the other side the governments coordinate to manage production in anticipation for the requested consumables.
Sadly we do not see the economics of startrek. its a military lifestyle so "whatever" currency they get, or w/e they are allocated into their "bank accounts" or "resource pools" is irrelevant since like on current naval vessels, all your food, lodging, recreation is provided for and you basicly live for free off the energy and supplies of the ship.
Good question. Study technology more. The answer with "real lightbulbs" and "car parts" is no. Why would "current manufacturing tech" be better?
When it comes to TECH objects the specifications are much more readily quantifiable and easier to manipulate with say ..a replicator. Which is basicly nano technology. Even if a laser cut a flange from a raw piece of aluminum to mount a turbo charger onto my exhaust manifold there are still microscopic imperfections but these are correctable with gaskets which we use to create proper seals. Replicator technology allows you to create precise molecular and atomic structure.s
But food is not the same. As are all things "human". Smell, sound, taste, touch. It is the IMPERFECTIONS ....that make them appeal to our senses. Sometimes a perfect steak (which a replicator can provide) wont suit your taste buds ..but that is subjective , its a perfect steak by all means but it lacks artistic flare ...tech is not the same boat.
Under our current system, and possibly the future system of Star Trek, this allocation is by way of money.
This (translation) means everyone would basically work for the allocators
Or, market forces and customer need would control this.
On current naval vessels, officers pay for their food, just like they do on shore. Only the enlist eat for free, it's part of their enlistment contract.
When we see the officer's in ten forward, I've always figured that they are paying (payroll deduction/personal account) for the items they order.
Maybe it can't. Think about it, the replicator has been show/spoken of as having problems with organic materials. It plain can't produce certain drugs. And it can't produce actual internal organs, a replacement heart for Picard, the defective part of LaForge's vision. So if it can't make a Human heart, what makes you believe it can make cow muscle?
Your steak is perhaps a facsimile of cow muscle. A steak, a pork chop, a chicken breast, are all the same material. Different coloring, and artificial flavoring, but the same physical substance and structure.
A replicator has to be able to replicate foods that tastes like the original.
It is said that replicator technology is based off transporter technology, which can transport all types of things that is said can't be replicated or copied reliably.
It should be able to make a perfect copy of something as simple as eggs, let alone steaks, wine etc.
There's nothing simple about the cellular structure of an egg, of meat, etc.
The replicator might be able to mix together the components making up such food - but its fine tunning is lacking. As is redundantly mentioned throughout star trek (how replicated food lacks flavor, etc).
Transporting something!=creating something. Not even close.
And that's the least of the problems the replicator has as a tool for 'unlimited' wealth:
I admit the resolution/fine tuning idea is a good counterargument, but it seems like the show varies on what is too complex to replicate and what isn't.
Eggs are easier to replicate, Dillithium Crystals can't be.
I think the writers had to create that difficulty, because too many problems would be solved.
IIRC, I think I've even seen an episode where someone refers to replicating blood--if that is true, then it blows the idea that the replicator is limited out of the sky, although I'm not sure about the reference.
Blood being composed of living cells would mean the replicator can operate at a quantum level.
In the first half of TNG, they had replicators being able to make/create almost anything and they kept tying it in with the transporter technology.
One of the most complex things I've seen replicated on the show was the self replicating minefields. A device with computers, sensors and a replicator--basically a replicator that can replicate another functioning replicator.
It seems far-fetched that it cannot replicate a bar of gold-pressed latinum, but can do all of the above.
Blood substitutes can be substantially less complex than blood:
At the start of TNG, the replicators' abilities were ambiguous.
Afterwards, their abilities - and limitations - were crystallized.
As said, transportation!=creation.
The self replicating mines have a lot of problems: with their energy supply (and available matter) in the first place. The ability to replicate a computer and sensors (which are FAR more simplistic, informationally speaking, than biological living tissue) is a distant second.
Then you all better be questioning transporter technology as well. I know how the show depicts replicators, but yes, the structure of an egg or steak is VERY ...very simple...If you have the ability to program and store an entire human in a pattern buffer and rematerialize it ...a replicator should be able to work on the same concept. If you need more storage space, use some of that empty wall room to install a few more thousand petabytes of data storage. They have been able to reform entire organic beings from scans taken hours or days before in series.
Given all the tech we see. A replicator would only be as simple as the following. You want a steak on your menu. So someone cooks a perfect steak, and someone scans and stores its exact atomic structure the same as a transporter scan. This can then be reduced to software, which you could download or transfer to all of society and be recalled by the replicator, and using raw materials at its disposal (gel packs and such ..containing all basic components) even any masters chemist now a days could go over your raw materials and say ..yes ..this could in theory be made into all compounds needed to produce a steak. even a perfect steak by ANYONES definition is simply a quantifiable amount of protons, neutrons and electrons.
The replicator recalls the scan, all atomic locations, and using transporter technology takes the raw materials from its gel packs and converts them into the proper compounds, and assembles them into the proper configuration to match the scan just as it would a person.
If replicators cant make a perfect a steak, then transporters cant make captain janeway or captain picard when they beam on and off the ship. There is no reason a replicator cannot make a precise copy of a master chefs scanned and encoded steak the same as picard or janeway on a transporter pad. If you have a problem with the steak, its a problem with the steak program, and a problem with the recipe that was originally scanned ..not the replicator.
Just like some people dont like outbacks steak, but like O charlies steak.
It is also more likely that people who try to create new replicator programs (we see complaints most on voyager). are not as skilled at preparing food and scanning it into the replicator to be encoded as are master "replicator chefs" back home. If you complained Im sure they could tweak a program to suit your tastes. All it would mean is preparing a real piece of steak to your tastes ..then scanning and encoding it like anything else.
This is how you end up with .."neelix 235" and "nutritional supplement 14". and "HOT ..PLAIN ..TOMATO SOUP". After all, my tomato soup has added sodium and sugar and milk by products. perhaps the problem was him ASKING for "plain" tomato soup Perhaps paris should have sampled the options more.
Personaly if I had a replicator I would only use to create ingredients though. I like to cook so it would be simple and very efficient. I would replicate only raw meat, cook it like normal, And replicate my seasonings or garnishes seperately and apply them by hand.. No need to replicate the entire dish.
But it more than that, an actual (not a substitute) steak is the flesh of the beast, it's muscle tissue. What come out of a replicator never itself came out of a cow.
Antican: "But we have seen humans eat meat."
Riker: "You've seen something as fresh and tasty as meat."
In other words, not meat.
The thing is there is, the transporter doesn't "make" either Picard or Janeway when they are transported, it just move them from one place to another. Nothing is created or changed in a normal transport.
Or this happens. Let's say you want a poached egg (my favorite kind), the replicator creates a yellow thick liquid inside of a cavity in a soft solid white substance, both of these (as close as possible) have the coloring, smell and flavor of a poached egg. There no attempt on the replicators part to create an actual cooked biological egg.
If you were to ask the replicator for a fertilized chicken egg, in the shell, and you then placed the egg in a warm environment for 21 day, guess what? It would not produce a chick, because it was never a real egg.
When it comes right down to it, the egg (and the steak) are fakes. For the purpose of providing a nutritious meal to the crew of a starship, the food doesn't have to be "real." Just recognizable, nutritious and edible.
Why take the enormous and unnecessary step of making a down to the subatomic level duplicate egg? What purpose would it serve?
Except it doesn't, it's ignores dialog and situation that don't fit. Selling houses and buying tribbles.
How can you have an economic system where money/value "disappears" when it is spent? Where store owners receive no compensation for the items that come off their shelves, that they display, market and distribute?
Where everyone randomly rotates through administration and management positions? And then the next day works as a skilled craftsman? And the day after that works as a physical laborer?
The guy who wrote this paper seems overly in love with the terms (and concept of) "empowered" and "empowerment."
And here we see how a silly idea like "participatory economics" would come into existence following the third world war. Force and starvation.
I have trouble with the time line proposed in the article. That Zephram Cochrane would quickly morph into a some kind of world leader who organizes international conferences on global economics. From what we saw in First Contact, Cochrane would literally run away from such a activity and position. That a couple of men from a small farming commune would be able to force their way into a meeting of world leaders and basically take over the meeting. To have the leaders of major national powers hang on their every word as they described a system that would (among other things) strip the leaders of their power.
The secret service would have arrested these bozos prior to their getting through the outside doors.
How many of you on this board would want to depend on the largess of the people in your community for your house, food, transportation, education? I get along with my neighbors fairly well, but I don't want a committee deciding my diet for the next year. Nor do I want them informing me how much I'll "need" to work to be permitted stay in my home.
I figure these thing out for myself.
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