NYCC 2015: The Economics of Star Trek

Mark Lee beams up the author of “Trekonomics” to discuss terminal abundance, whether capitalism is part of human nature, and the coming reputation-based economy. Also Riker.

In the future, if technology allows for everyone’s basic needs to be met, and there’s no money, how does an economy function? This is the sort of thought experiment that we love here at Overthinking It, which is why we were very excited to speak to Manu Saadia, the author of the upcoming book Trekonomics.

In our conversation with Manu, we dove deep into the theories and assumptions that drive the 24th century economy depicted in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and learned a few things about our present day economy as well. For example, in Starfleet’s labor market, workers aren’t paid with money, they’re paid with recognition and reputation…kind of like social media personalities who are in it for likes, followers, and views. (Speaking of which: follow us on Instagram, please!)

Later that day, Manu appeared on a panel with Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, which basically means that if I could hold my own in a conversation on economics with Manu, in a way, I too am a Nobel laureate. In a way.

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One Comment on “NYCC 2015: The Economics of Star Trek”

  1. clayschuldt #

    I will read this book as I like what I am hearing and want to compare them to my own economic theorizes of Star Trek.

    I always assumed Sisko’s dad could run a restaurant in large part due to reputation, but also because in a world with a Transporter and shuttle crafts, traveling across the globe is so quick and efficient that Earth could probably only support a single cajun restaurant, which of course was Sisko’s. The only other cajun restaurants that could compete would have to be off world on DS9 or on Mars. As for employees, they are probably being paid in apprenticeships. Once they have learned all they know about cooking, they travel to another planet or space station and open their own restaurant.


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