BLOG Can Star Trek save the world?
As the world claws its way out of recession, blogger Steve Gaythorpe asks does Stark Trek have the answer for a better, more secure, economic future:
A Manifesto For The Future?
Like a lot of people I have been effected by the recession and I know a lot of other freelancers out there who are having difficulties too. In between looking for work and dreaming up get rich quick schemes that won’t leave me out of pocket I ask myself how do we fix the system?
The only answer I have come with is: StarTrekonomics! We follow the same economic model as the Federation in Star Trek.
[Pause for laughter]
Picard says it all in First Contact: “The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” I mean how, in all good conscience, can anyone argue against that? Living to better yourself and mankind!? Cool: where do I sign?
There is some debate within the Trekkie community about the nature and setup of the Federation’s economy. It has been compared to Communism. There is supposed to be some form of a Federation Credit, that enables trade with non-Federation worlds such Ferenginar. It is clear that at some time during TNG some form of credit/monetary system did exist within the Federation and within Voyager and DS9 money wasn’t used.
I suppose you could ask how, in this new economy, writing a blog for SFX benefits me and the rest of humanity? Well to that I say, how does it not benefit humanity? Come on, you’re reading content for free! The internet is full of stuff that proves that working for the betterment of mankind and yourself can work: look at Freecycle and Landshare as examples.
If there is no money there will be no banks, and surely that can’t be a bad thing, given the current state of things and whose fault it all was. So we will be left with a system of bartering for skills, products, what-have-you. But what happens to those people who have no skills or can’t produce anything due to illness, disability or age? Well just because money does not exist does not mean that there will not be some form of government. Someone has to provide healthcare, police and so on. But because there is no money in actually governing we won’t be saddled with the same type of politicians that we have today…
The next question is: who will do all the crappy jobs that no-one really wants to do? Well obviously someone has to do them, but who says that just because you have a crappy job means that you have to have a crappy life and live in a crappy house? The aforementioned government will ensure that the people who do crappy jobs also get a great standard living as compensation.
What about leisure pursuits? Well in DS9 Joseph Sisko (Captain Sisko’s father) ran a restaurant. Somehow people “paid” for their meals – unless everyone was stuck with doing their own washing up at the end of the evening?
So how do we get to this state of being? Well… this is the hard part. We are going to have to go through some sort of global catastrophe. An apocalypse that would bring mankind to the brink of extinction and lead the survivors to a new global mindset!
For those of us who don’t believe that Armageddon is a good thing then I suggest taking more interest in politics might be a good idea. And I am going to put my money where my mouth is, I am standing for election for my local council. Now I am not saying that a dramatic shut down of capitalism is going to be one of the corner stones of my campaign but it is a step in the right direction of changing the system from the inside!
This is a personal article by Steven Gaythorpe, one of our 12 site contributors.
Would you like to live in a cash-free Federation-style universe? Your thoughts welcome as always, in the comment thread below or on our forum.