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Star Trek Economics 888

An anonymous reader writes "Rick Webb has an article suggesting we're in the nascent stages of transforming to a post-scarcity economy — one in which we are 'no longer constrained by scarcity of materials—food, energy, shelter, etc.' While we aren't there yet, job automation continues to rise and the problem of distributing necessities gets closer to being solved every day. Webb wondered how to describe a society's progress as it made the transition from scarcity to post-scarcity — and it brought him to Star Trek. Quoting: 'I believe the Federation is a proto-post scarcity society evolved from democratic capitalism. It is, essentially, European socialist capitalism vastly expanded to the point where no one has to work unless they want to. It is massively productive and efficient, allowing for the effective decoupling of labor and salary for the vast majority (but not all) of economic activity. The amount of welfare benefits available to all citizens is in excess of the needs of the citizens. Therefore, money is irrelevant to the lives of the citizenry, whether it exists or not. Resources are still accounted for and allocated in some manner, presumably by the amount of energy required to produce them (say Joules). And they are indeed credited to and debited from each citizen's "account." However, the average citizen doesn't even notice it, though the government does, and again, it is not measured in currency units—definitely not Federation Credits.'"
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Star Trek Economics

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  • Basic Income (Score:5, Informative)

    by wvmarle ( 1070040 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:27AM (#46245939)

    This is not future fantasy; it's happening right now. Just look into the current "basic income" debate in the EU: basically the idea is that all citizens get a basic income from the state, and can get more income if they go out and work. Switzerland is quite close to actually implementing this already.

    For more details on implementation (and to keep your comments to my post informed and useful) please check out the wikipedia page on the subject, or simply google for "basic info" or "basic info switzerland".

  • gfdsnjgsd (Score:3, Informative)

    by baka_toroi ( 1194359 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:32AM (#46246003) Journal
    Most estimates show a bell-curve type of population growth. I think it is around 13 or 14 billion where it would peak and then it will go back down.

    So I don't think he's that off. We waste tons of food a day.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by JWW ( 79176 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:48AM (#46246239)

    Nature does not pollute itself.

    WTF? I mean seriously WTF?

    Have you ever seen a volcano? Nature - polluting.

    We have evidence of asteroid strikes that caused massive extinctions by - massively polluting the atmosphere. - Nature

    Nature doesn't pollute. Bzzzt, wrong.

  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

    by confused one ( 671304 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:49AM (#46246253)

    You've missed the back story.

    Prior to the utopian Star Trek, World War III was fought. Mass casualties on Earth. Those who entered into the Star Trek story were those who pulled themselves out of the ashes and rebuilt. Once Earth gained warp drive capability, humanity started spreading across the local arm of the galaxy, populating habitable planets. Population would be kept low(er) due to emmigration. Still, looking at the back story you'll see the bulk of people live in massive skyscrappers in cities.

  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

    by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Friday February 14, 2014 @11:50AM (#46246257)

    Indeed: it is well-known that population growth is logistic [], not exponential, yet alarmist idiots keep yelling about it anyway.

  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Friday February 14, 2014 @01:03PM (#46247237)
    Star Trek is not the origin of quatloos. Gene Roddenberry picked up the term from an archeologist while on vacation in Iraq. Quatloos are ancient clay tokens discovered among the ruins of the Akkadian city of Triskelion.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982