Thursday, November 05, 2015

Star Trekonomics

I have been a fan of Star Wars my entire life. Although I was never really as into the other major sci-fi franchise, Star Trek, I can appreciate the vision of a future that is more directly related to people of Earth & humanity's place in the galaxy.

There is going to be a new Star Trek series produced for TV. That news prompted me to post this article I read recently, after wondering how the fictional economy of the Federation worked.

It seems as if both the Star Trek & Star Wars civilizations use a medium called "Credits'. However, the economic systems appear to be much different, overall .

Star Wars seems more capitalist, in the sense that Credits act like currency, as we know it. Credits can be accumulated by corporate entities & individuals- while others without access to this wealth are poor, or even slaves. Although the Empire is a fascist dictatorship, with the Emperor directly in control of the military machine and the industries that feed it, regular individuals can still use Credits for goods and services like we use money.

The Star Trek Federation, on the other hand, has no currency, per creator Gene Roddenberry's rule. Federation Credits exist to facilitate an accounting of energy and resources in certain cases, but money is not needed for basic existence. There is also currency among the various alien races and other means of exchange of goods & services. However, there is no poverty among the Federation member planets, and society's main goal is the enrichment of all people- not accumulation of personal wealth. Thanks to technology, such as replicators, the need for physical "things" is easily fulfilled. The real goal becomes to create a better society, so all people benefit. The article above explores some of the technical possibilities behind this model of a galactic economy.

Star Trek Wikia Alpha:

What I like about these kind of fictional models, like the one used in Star Trek, is that they are an opportunity for human beings to dream a new reality into existence.  Collectively, we should constantly be re-thinking the way we do things.

People usually can't think beyond the existing possibilities- of Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Fascism, etc. Perhaps there is a way to conduct society that is completely outside any of these traditional modes. Bitcoin is one system that is a step in breaking free of the bounds of familiar economic models.

The ideas of 'money', 'capitalism', or even 'economics', are not universal. One day, they will be replaced by new ways of interacting.

Practicality should not be as much of a concern for creating new paradigms, as much as simply imagining alternative possibilities. If humanity has a goal, we can most likely achieve it together. The details can be worked out through ingenuity & cooperative activity. If that goal is the eradication of poverty and de-emphasis on greed and wealth acquisition, then it can be realized.

Science fiction and visionary stories about our future gives us an outlet to manifest creative solutions to problems & situations that the human race may encounter.

No matter how much we try to envision these situations, though, the future will still manage to bring us outcomes that we currently cannot even imagine...

No comments: