Friday, December 16, 2011

A Future Without Money

One thing that impresses me about Star Trek is that it often has a social or political message, much more than most popular science fiction. In the movie Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard and the Enterprise crew travel back in time to help the humans make "first contact" with an alien race. This "first contact" happens in the middle of the 21st century, after a third world war has decimated the population of earth.

What happens when humans make first contact is that it ushers in an age of peace. Humans, realizing they are not alone in the universe, work together to create Star Fleet, build space ships, and explore the galaxy. War, poverty, and disease become a thing of the past as human values undergo a radical sea change. This change is perhaps best illustrated by a conversation between Captain Picard and a woman from the 21st century named Lilly.

Lilly: How much did this thing cost? (She is speaking of the Enterprise)

Picard: The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century.

Lilly: No money? You mean you don't get paid?

Picard: The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.

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