Gimme That Star Trek Ep.10: Grading the Federation's Utopia

Star Trek's is a utopian future, but how true is that epithet? Is the Federation as great as the show makes it out to be, or does it have a dark underbelly? Siskoid sits down with actor and fellow improviser Fred Melanson to discuss and debate the matter.

Listen to Episode 10 by clicking HERE!

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Or subscribe to Gimme That Star Trek on iTunes!

"Star Trek Theme" by Alexander Courage, with the Irredeemable Shagg on vocals. End theme: "Deep Space Nine Theme" by Dennis McCarthy.

Bonus clips from: Star Trek Deep Space Nine's "For the Cause" starring Ken Marshall; and Star Trek The Next Generation's "The Neutral Zone" starring Patrick Stewart.

Thanks for leaving a comment!


Anonymous said...

One of my favorite episodes so far. Keep up the good work, and let me know if you ever are looking for new people to talk to and join you on the podcast. Would love to get into the nitty-gritty of DS9, or talk about the Peter David run in the comics and/or novels.

As for the economy of the Federation, obviously they always kept it pretty vague, as designing a functioning utopia is pretty difficult. But, what I've figured is that in the TOS-era, they tried to do away with money entirely, and just provide anything that people needed. (Thus Star Trek IV's quote about "they still use money" when they first arrive in San Francisco) But, trying to decide what people "needed" vs. "wanted" and where to draw that line caused problems (leading to people like the space hippies taking off for Eden, and other issues along those lines). Sometime between the TOS movies and the Next Gen era, money was re-introduced as "credits" and everyone has a universal basic income (an idea that has been around for some time now and I believe will catch on as more labor gets automated) that can cover their needs, plus some. But, you also can earn additional credits from other endeavors, like running a restaurant, joining Starfleet, becoming a writer, or whatever else interests you. Those credits are exchangeable with other cultures, like the Ferengi, that still have a purely capitalist society, so that you can do business with them to rent holosuites, bid on items for auction, and the like.

There's places where that's contradicted, but they're pretty minor, and unless you're going to say that the Federation only barters with other societies, there has to be some kind of monetary system in order to facilitate trade.

Siskoid said...

While the show is more or less booked through September, I'm always looking for new voices! While Shagg the Irredeemable is still set to do an episode on Peter David's New Frontier novels, I would love to talk about some aspect of my favorite, DS9.

Email me at sven7 [at] nbnet [dot] nb [dot] ca, or find me on Facebook (Siskoid is in my name) for discuss it further.


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