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Money was a medium of exchange used to facilitate transactions of goods or services.

Money in the 21st century sense was not used on 24th century Earth. The exact nature of the Federation economy is difficult to describe; while money had not entirely ceased to exist, it did not play the central role in the lives of Federation and Earth citizens that it once did. The descriptions given by various Federation citizens are as follows:

  • Kirk said to Picard "This is my house, I sold it years ago." inside the Nexus, referring directly to the sale of his former home. (Star Trek Generations)
  • Picard tries to explain to Ralph Offenhouse from the 20th century that there would be no need for his law firm any longer: "A lot has changed in three hundred years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of 'things'. We have eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions." (TNG: "The Neutral Zone")
Ferengi coin

A Ferengi coin

  • When Lily Sloane asked how much the USS Enterprise-E cost to build, Picard tells her "The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century... The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of Humanity." (Star Trek: First Contact)
  • When Nog suggests that Jake should bid for a baseball card in an auction, Jake says "I'm Human, I don't have any money." Nog replies "It's not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement." Jake says "Hey, watch it. There's nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity." Nog then replies "What does that mean?" Jake responds "It means we don't need money!" Nog quickly points out, however, that Jake wouldn't be able to bid or borrow. (DS9: "In the Cards")

However, money was not totally abandoned by all Federation citizens and some individuals, such as Carter Winston, acquired vast personal fortunes during this same period. (TAS: "The Survivor") Money also continued to be used on many other alien worlds, and for certain limited purposes in the Federation itself, especially when dealing with non-Federation members. Additionally, the crew of the USS Voyager, faced with severe resource limitations after being flung into the Delta Quadrant, treated rations on replicator and holodeck use as money and traded these amongst themselves.

The term "starving" may be a social euphemism. It is certainly relative, as Trek generally has established that in the Federation, poverty, hunger, etc. have been eradicated among member planets. The implication is that while everyone in the Federation enjoys, at a minimum, a comfortably adequate standard of living, there are some whose standard is higher than others.
  • Quark's Bar would extend credit to its patrons, including Federation citizens and members of Starfleet.
  • Quark once stated that he was in debt to some unnamed Humans. (DS9: "Body Parts")

Monetary units

Background

Ronald D. Moore commented: "By the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did 'credits' and that was that. Personally, I've always felt this was a bunch of hooey, but it was one of the rules and that's that." (AOL chat, 1997)

At least once, Kirk commented to Scotty, "You just earned your pay for the week!" (Season 2 "The Dooms Day Machine") It is not known whether this was a simple vestigial idiom or an error of the episode's writer. (TOS: "The Doomsday Machine") A similar comment was made to Chekov, again by Kirk. (TOS: "Who Mourns for Adonais?")

Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, screenwriters of Star Trek, said in a question-and-answer session with fans that "there's money, or some kind of credit system" in the alternate reality. [1]

This article uses material from The Economy of Star Trek and The Economy of the Federation, and Usenet articles by Timo S. Saloniemi. There are non-canonical references to Federation citizens receiving allotments of Replicator Credits (to provide food and other material needs) and Structure Credits (for housing and storage) in some Trek-derived works.

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