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Talk:New World Economy

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One suggestion: It could be based on technocracy. Technocracy places science foremost and it economic model is based on energy and has no money.


Unformatted and uncited, and it doesn't give description as to what the NWE is. --From Andoria with Love 12:59, 11 Sep 2005 (UTC)

  • The quote placed placed by Mike Nobody doesn't really help this article. This definitely requires a whole ton of work. - Adm. Enzo Aquarius 22:24, 16 Sep 2005 (UTC)

New World Economy Edit

The canon source material available doesn't give a lot of detail about how exactly the NWE works. I assumed that the economy described by Tom Paris in Dark Frontier ("Money went the way of the dinosaur") was the same as used throughout Star Trek. Gene Roddenberrry's quote was the best example I could find to explain it. Perhaps it is a gift-based economy. Perhaps civil rights laws have been expanded to include a minimum standard of living. I don't know. It's just a TV show. LOL. In "Where No Man Has Gone Before", planet Delta Vega was described as a fully automated planet. Technology on that level would render human labor superfluous and make energy a premium commodity. Since Earth doesn't use money, per se, transactions of credits with alien worlds must be based on some non-monetary medium, units of energy would make this the most likely compatible. It would not "float" like contemporary currencies, nor be able to be counterfeited as such either. Consider this, since the industrial revolution and the introduction of the automobile, the inflationary rate of oil has outpaced gold. As energy supplies dry up and shortages loom ahead, which do you think will be, more sought-after? You can't run a car on gold bricks.--Mike Nobody 14:59, 20 Sep 2005 (EDT)

I've spent a lot of time trying to figure this out so let me give it a shot. The NWE is pretty much de-centralized communism but because of technological developments, it's not so horrid. Most manufactured goods can be created with replicators, and thus many services are obselete (fast food industry, retail). Because energy itself isn't very scarce (Sisko's complained and noted about Quark's Bar's drain on the power supply, but we've never see it be a big deal unless there's an emergency) thanks to matter-antimatter reaction there's no scarcity for these things so there's be a culture of ownership around these items (my hairbrush, your toothsharpener). Life is tolerable.
But from an economic stand point, there would still be shortages. Matter that can't be replicated (dilithium crystals, etc), many other services (medical, inter-planetary transportation, replicator repair, etc) should face HUGE supply problems in the NWE. Because it's decentrally planned, knowledge is not an immense problem. My replicator is busted, I call Bob who likes to fix replicators, to help me out. No bureacracy, though I might not know a Bob who fixes things. Incentive problems still exist. Sure, Bob likes fixing replicators but since time and patience are still scarce, not every replicator will be fixed; fun things stop being fun if you do them over and over again. We could say that the right number of good engineers exist, but that would be a pretty far stretch, all things being equal. Hell, good artists are scarce now.
The other side of this is that Federation technology is incredibly reliable (noted by O'Brian about how bored he would get on the Enterprise). With transporters, I might buy that keeping stuff working isn't so bad. But there are still problems, especially with long-range transportation (for medical, tricorders are pretty easy to use and most medical things--like check ups--can be handled by the individual, but surgeries and what not would be a problem). And without prices, it's harder to convey knowledge (I could give a long explanation as to why, but safe to say, prices contain nearly all the important information).
It's worth noting that the Federation has similar institutions to the USSR. Section 31 (secret police), Federation News Service (state media), probably the Daystrom Institute (state research) and the overarching secular and military emphasis. But instead of conquering other nations and using the sweet talk of communisim, the Federation uses exclusively the sweet talk. (Note the conversation between Quark and Garak in "The Way of the Warrior".)
A core problem we have when trying to unravel the Federation economy is that it was dreamed up in a time when communisim seemed like a good idea. But it has fundamental knowledge and incentive problems that cannot be overcome, even with 24th century technology. For the record, Gene Roddenberry is wrong. Money is a wonderful thing. It makes transactions cheaper and generates an incentive to get the things done that need to get done. We could say that money died out because there wasn't enough scarcity (doubtful) or because scarcity dropped to a point that it could be rooted out by "revolutionaries." But it can't be the utopia that the Feds are telling us it is.--David Youngberg 00:37, 18 Dec 2005 (UTC) 00:33, 18 Dec 2005 (UTC)
The Federation economy wasn't dreamed up in a time when communism seemed like a good idea. It was dreamed up at the height of the Cold War - and by a Texan, no less. I happen to think you (David) are dead wrong about money and economics in general, but this isn't the place for an argument about it. Just like Star Trek isn't the place for discussing controversial real-world subjects, which is why Gene Roddenberry wisely avoided them. Let's face it: Roddenberry simply did not want to tell us how the Federation economy works, and his ideas about it probably died with him.
I'm not going to debate the merits of the system as this isn't the place for it, but I want to point out that in First Contact it's stated that money ISN'T an incentive for people by that time (at least not the vast majority of humans, Harry Mudd is probably a good example of exceptions, and obviously the Ferengi). The DS9 books (particularly Worlds of DS9: Bajor) while not canon (though very little of this article actually is) describe the transition from a money economy to a non-money economy and suggest that Federation civilians must do some part to contribute to society/culture to retain benefits of membership. IE Sisko's restaurant in New Orleans, you can't just sit on your bum and collect welfare or live on a trust fund like you can in the 21st century. Cory 06:52, 11 March 2006 (UTC)
I have to say I agree with some of David's points and I strongly disagree with many of Cory's points. There obviously are benefits of both socialism and (it's seemingly counterpart of) capitalism. On the outset much of the Federation economic and social policies seems to suggest they have reached a state of socialist utopia, minus a lot of (but not all) of the totalitarianism. I find it funny how many arrogant (esp. Americans) refuse to see that there are indeed a lot of socialist aspects of the Federation reality. Most advanced countries in Europe have social democrats in power nowadays, why do you think that's the case? But anyways, Memory Alpha is not an excellent place to discuss this, I'm sure that there are a lot of academic papers written regarding such topics. Lastly, Roddenberry DID WANT to explore a lot of the modern day issues, EXCEPT in a futuristic setting. This was done so that Roddenberry wouldn't have to put up with people calling him a communist, this is pretty obvious. Ubcphysicsyangbo 23:47, 3 May 2009 (UTC)
Man, I hope you are aware that you are responding to something that was said 3 years ago...– Distantlycharmed 18:51, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
That's partly why we keep the discussions.--31dot 21:22, 4 May 2009 (UTC)
Tya, so people can respond to dead threads in a place where supposedly it isnt supposed to be discussed at all. – Distantlycharmed 21:30, 4 May 2009 (UTC)

PNA-part IIEdit

This went from neat and tidy to a whole lot of speculative ad-lib with no citation-- I would suggest using specific references along with what is already written. As stated about: 'This definitely requires a whole ton of work.' --Alan del Beccio 10:24, 3 Jan 2006 (UTC)

I wouldn't call it a neat and tidy article. More uninformative and incomplete. I went back and forth on adding the sections because one on hand, we never hear anyone say explictly what the economy is like (thus citation is not as much as an issue as one would think) but on the other hand, this is almost what it has to be like (or at least by far the most probable). To dismiss it as mere speculation would underplay explanatory power of the additions. Comments on citations, however, are well recieved and I'm currently combing my Star Trek archives for something harder to reference (such as trade negotiations). --David Youngberg 21:05, 3 Jan 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps it would be better to start with as many references as we can find, and try and assemble some sort of logical system from that (i.e. facts before theories). Obviously this includes direct quotes, as people have been doing up til now, but I think we've been ignoring some obvious stuff: what economic practices do we actually see in the various series? That, to me, is far more useful evidence than a single helmsman's opinion.
Also, I'm sure there's more to say about how this economy has changed from ENT, through Kirk's day, to the end of VOY. So let's get to gathering that evidence. - Spatula 22:59, 30 May 2006 (UTC)

Trade for purposes other than trade Edit

So what if engaging in Trade is some kind of diplomacy? They don't need to but do it anyways to bring new races into the fold, to facilitate dialog? Just a thought...

Moved from article Edit

Content Edit

==Currency and Trade== The Federation engages in a great deal of trade with non-Federation worlds. From this we can infer that there is some amount of material scarcity within the Federation, at least for certain items; without need there is no reason for trade.

Credits, appearing to be based on units of energy as the "gold-standard", are used in transactions where replication is impractical or undesired. It would be often used in trade negotiations as a unit of account so the value of two sets of goods could be compared.

Imports. Economies import what others cheaply have and whose home production is expensive (in time, resources) relative to what could be done with those resources. Given the restrictions of the NWE, the Federation would mostly import un-replicatable goods that are highly sought after but difficult to obtain. Dilithium crystals, services (including engineering, transportation, etc; this is where credits are most likely to be used as a wage to the stationed non-Federation workers), civilian ships, anything alive (from exotic pets to live gagh) and foods that just don't "taste right" replicated are a sampling of likely heavy imports.

Exports. Economies export the most wanted of what they can cheaply produce. Again, given the nature of the Federation economy, this would mostly likely include replicated/nonrivalrous items or items/services that people like to provide. Art, technology, replicated household goods and military services (as escorts and peacekeepers) are the most likely heavy exports. (Note that since many other powers have replicators, Federation exports of such goods are not likely to be nearly as large as one might think.) {{pna-cite}}


"I think technology will save us. And I think our own goodness will save us, basic human decency." ... "Money is a terrible thing. Why do people work at jobs in Star Trek? Why does someone become a baker? Because the family is going to starve to death? No. People become bakers because certain people love the smell of things baking and certain people take pride – we all have a little pride – in something. 'Let me give this to you because it's delicious and you will love it, and I made it, and this is my recipe'. All things will be taken care of." – Gene Roddenberry in "The Last Conversation"

Based on Roddenberry's words, what little canon information we have, economic theory and existing social organizations, we can estimate what the NWE could look like.

There is no precise information on exactly how this economy works. From the few descriptions we are given, it is clear that the NWE has little or no use for money as we know it, and it has been speculated that it may be a form of socialism or communism. Federation citizens have repeatedly said that the driving force in their lives is a desire to improve themselves and society as a whole.

Federation economics appears to be some form of socialism or communism. What people contribute is based chiefly on what they enjoy doing, not on what makes the most money. Perhaps like the Amish communities in the old United States of America, who were also money-less, Federation citizens may be driven to add something to society by psychological motivations: pride, ambition, a desire to belong, fear of rejection, guilt, or even boredom. The mechanism for ensuring contribution could also be cultural. Again, the Amish bred a strong work ethic in their children, something Federation parents could do, and in Star Trek: First Contact, the USS Enterprise crew suggests that first contact with Vulcans caused fundamental changes in the way humans saw themselves and the world, possibly making them more altruistic.

It has also been suggested that the New World Economy could incorporate elements of technocracy, and there is no doubt that technology plays a central role in the NWE. Technological advancement is the chief driving force behind economic growth for the simple reason that it reduces scarcity, allowing more output for less input. Replicators are thus the essential technology in the NWE because they increase efficiency whilst also eliminating many jobs that, while necessary, are tedious or undesirable. {{pna}}

Comment Edit

We were dancing around this issue for at least half a year, see comments in the sections above. That whole text is just speculation without any real relation to any specific Trek episode. MA is not a place for personal speculation, personal essays etc. If you feel that some of the above needs to be salvaged, feel free to do so. -- Cid Highwind 09:08, 26 July 2006 (UTC)

Removed Edit

Removed the following, as we should not state what wasn't said.

It is not known if this was a violent or peaceful, gradual or instant transformation.--31dot 02:09, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

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