The Treehouse Blog

Tag: economics

Trekonomics

by on Mar.25, 2018, under Philosophy

I just finished reading Trekonomics, a book on the economics in Star Trek, by Manu Saadia.  The book is interesting for trying to accumulate a lot of the economic references in Star Trek and make sense of them.  In the end, I think it falls short – while the 24th century Trek tries to represent a post-scarcity near-utopia where physical needs are met at no real cost, where automation has displaced the need for all labor, this is clearly a contradiction.  Particularly with Deep Space Nine, the Federation has finite limits on resources such as ships and non-replicable materials.  Throughout Star Trek there are people that perform repairs and maintenance – despite ubiquitous automation.  I’m not convinced we’re on the verge of becoming post-scarcity or post-labor.  While our economic progress has meant the improvement in the quality of life of essentially everyone, we are still facing challenges with automation displacing labor, not unlike what we have encountered since the industrial revolution.  Whether we reach a point where automation permanently prevents a large segment of the population from gainful employment, and how we handle it, remains to be seen.  Star Trek, understandably, does not dwell on what place the inept have in its society, instead focusing on the top of the class.  Still, an interesting read.

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