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 Post subject: "Federation is communist" article misses the point PostPosted: 2008-03-04 11:51pm
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Hi all. I just figured I'd throw in my 2 cents worth about the article asserting that the Federation is a communist nation.

If the writer of these articles is willing to accept Star Trek and Star Wars technologies at face value, no matter how much of a stretch some of them are, (Death Star power output levels, anyone?), then his entire argument is without basis.

At one point in Asimov's Foundation trilogy, when the characters are wondering why Hari Seldon's predictions were completely off the wall (how could he have missed an event as major as the crisis they were currently facing?!?), it's explained that there are a handful of different factors that could have thrown off Seldon's predictions. One of them was the development of radical new technology that Hari Seldon could not possibly have anticipated. This one actually ended up biting Asimov in the butt; Foundation has characters flying around in interplanetary spaceships, with nuclear-powered gizmos and gadgets at every turn... and really fancy slide rules, because he didn't anticipate computer technology.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek economics? In a word, replicators. All current economic systems are based on one fundamental assumption: there's not enough "stuff" to go around. You can't have everything you want, and you can't always even have everything you need, so we need a system, a way to divide it up.

But once you've got replicators, able to produce useful "stuff" out of raw materials in a matter of seconds, the notion of scarcity goes out the window, and along with it goes the concept of wealth. There's no need for capitalism anymore, as the profit motive has been rendered obsolete. There's no need for communism anymore, since there's no limited resources to be divided among the people.

And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.

This is internally consistent; the few times you actually see money (latinum) changing hands, it's for items that either "can't be replicated" or are too large to come out of a replicator, or for services, not items. Likewise, on Voyager, what does the local economy revolve around? The replicator! Because of shortages, replicator use has to be rationed, and "replicator rations" quickly become a medium of exchange now that the concept of scarcity has been re-introduced into society.

In short, there's no need to call the Federation a communist society simply because they don't appear to operate under capitalist principles. What's needed is an entirely new term to describe the entirely new system.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-04 11:54pm
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You honestly think you've come up with a devastating argument that I've never seen before, don't you?



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 Post subject: Re: "Federation is communist" article misses the p PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:35am
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masonwheeler wrote:
Hi all. I just figured I'd throw in my 2 cents worth about the article asserting that the Federation is a communist nation.

If the writer of these articles is willing to accept Star Trek and Star Wars technologies at face value, no matter how much of a stretch some of them are, (Death Star power output levels, anyone?), then his entire argument is without basis.


A canonical fact about replicators is that they require raw materials and outside energy to function. They are not post scarcity technology in the slightest. They are overnight delivery on crack.

Addendum: to be more clear, replicators need raw material, and that these materials are not unlimited, a fact you acknowledge by pointing out Voyager and its replicator rations. Someone needs to go through the process of acquiring and then shipping this raw material for the replicators to use. This has not eliminated a scarcity system, it's merely shifted the delivery process.

Also, the list of things which cannot be replicated is decently long and somewhat arbitrary as well.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:44am
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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the core element of 'ideal' communism is nothing more than the notion of distributing resources evenly and without prejudice?

If that is the case, it doesn't matter whether those resources come from home installed replicators or factories that ship out products, the end result is the same.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:59am
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Bubble Boy wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the core element of 'ideal' communism is nothing more than the notion of distributing resources evenly and without prejudice?
If that is the case, it doesn't matter whether those resources come from home installed replicators or factories that ship out products, the end result is the same.

The term 'no' comes to mind.Unless you can explain how the existance of replicators, home industrial or otherwise, automatically mean resources WILL be distributed evenly and without prejudice.
Not that that notion isn't idiotic to begin with.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 01:16am
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How would that - even if true - refute the state control of so many important industries? It's okay nobody owns a ship, because handwave replicators?



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 01:28am
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masonwheeler wrote:
If the writer of these articles is willing to accept Star Trek and Star Wars technologies at face value, no matter how much of a stretch some of them are, (Death Star power output levels, anyone?), then his entire argument is without basis.


Riiiiight. Because technology is the magick pill that erases not only those pesky value-quantification problems necessary to organise an economy but also the energy and matter conservation laws as well.

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At one point in Asimov's Foundation trilogy, when the characters are wondering why Hari Seldon's predictions were completely off the wall (how could he have missed an event as major as the crisis they were currently facing?!?), it's explained that there are a handful of different factors that could have thrown off Seldon's predictions. One of them was the development of radical new technology that Hari Seldon could not possibly have anticipated. This one actually ended up biting Asimov in the butt; Foundation has characters flying around in interplanetary spaceships, with nuclear-powered gizmos and gadgets at every turn... and really fancy slide rules, because he didn't anticipate computer technology.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek economics? In a word, replicators. All current economic systems are based on one fundamental assumption: there's not enough "stuff" to go around. You can't have everything you want, and you can't always even have everything you need, so we need a system, a way to divide it up.

But once you've got replicators, able to produce useful "stuff" out of raw materials in a matter of seconds, the notion of scarcity goes out the window, and along with it goes the concept of wealth. There's no need for capitalism anymore, as the profit motive has been rendered obsolete. There's no need for communism anymore, since there's no limited resources to be divided among the people.


In a word, bullshit. Replicators still cost in energy. Replicators still need bulk matter to produce anything and their capacities do not scale upward, not to mention those materials which replicators cannot handle (a plot-point in several TNG-era stories).

Oh, and BTW, you've got the fundamental assumption of economics wrong as well: economics is a means to quantify value in order to organise production and distribution. Even if we ignore your No-Limits Fallacy and assume no scarcity, production and distribution still have to be organised. And if there's no profit motive, what's the incentive for anybody to actually do anything? (beyond the dopey-ass "improve yourself" pseudo-motivation which doesn't actually provide an incentive for anything in any real world)

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And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.


Really? To what scale? Can they replicate houses? Cars? Transporters? Spaceships? Heavy equipment to move bulk matter in large quantities to the production centres? Nothing has to be built? Can they replicate energy sources? And where does the fuel for that task come from?

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This is internally consistent; the few times you actually see money (latinum) changing hands, it's for items that either "can't be replicated" or are too large to come out of a replicator,


Bang goes the notion that replicators can produce anything. You contradict yourself.

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or for services, not items.


Which means value has to be quantified to organise activity. Which means there has to be incentive for anybody to do anything. Which means you have economics back in the picture.

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Likewise, on Voyager, what does the local economy revolve around? The replicator! Because of shortages, replicator use has to be rationed, and "replicator rations" quickly become a medium of exchange now that the concept of scarcity has been re-introduced into society.


And what are those shortages? Energy reserves and bulk matter reserves. Guess what? Those problems don't cease to exist off the Voyager.

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In short, there's no need to call the Federation a communist society simply because they don't appear to operate under capitalist principles. What's needed is an entirely new term to describe the entirely new system.


Wrong. You merely point to tools and think that changes the socioeconomic and political definitions in operation in Federation society.



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 Post subject: Re: "Federation is communist" article misses the p PostPosted: 2008-03-05 02:10am
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masonwheeler wrote:
In short, there's no need to call the Federation a communist society simply because they don't appear to operate under capitalist principles. What's needed is an entirely new term to describe the entirely new system.


“Communist” is precisely the correct term to describe the economic system we have observed, and can infer from observation.

Let’s ignore for a moment the canonical limitations of replicators, and grant them to be the magic boxes that many no-limits Trekkies regard them as. Could a single individual, or small group of individuals, build and maintain one? How about an institution the size of a small retail store? No?

Well then, how do you give people these magic boxes? The same way our current society deals with the fact that assembly lines are not possible in a world of small cottage industries (a society which, I might add, is effectively post-scarcity for all necessities, and many luxuries of life, at least in the West): namely, by maintaining large institutions, which are large enough to utilize economies of scale.

In modern Western society, these large institutions have taken the form of either large corporations or socialist direct government control of production and distribution. However, a corporation that sells devices that free customers from ever buying anything again is a self-defeating venture. An analogous example is television and radio: once the device is sold, the seller cannot control what and how many available programs are used, thus only making a profit on the device itself, when the customer may end up devoting thousands of hours to its use.

There are three possible viable solutions to the analogy of television, and to the no-limits replicator: make the device so expensive up front that a profit is still made, make a profit on advertisement via the device, or make the consumer pay a large amount for the device over time.

The second option, discovered virtually by accident in the 1930s-50s, is of course the basis of the commercial (broadcast) radio and television industries. However, it seems rather unfeasible when used on replicators. Advertisements seek to entice one to buy a product or service, and the no-limits replicator has just destroyed all but the extreme luxury market for products. Are unsolicited advertisements for plumbers and new hovercars provided with ones replicated breakfast going to be enough to support the Replicator Industry? Hardly.

When was the last time you saw a television set that sold for the price of a luxury car? If Option One were feasible, you would be able to say you had.

Want examples of Option Three, the only viable option? Here are two: home mortgage, and the BBC.

In short, you can either sign a lease for a replicator priced like in Option One, or the Replicator Industry can be socialized, and you pay for it via the compulsion of government taxation.

Consider the socio-political power involved in a device like the replicator: it provides what effectively every human being that ever lived spent their lives trying to gain: a comfortable material living. Such power is not going to be sold lightly. Expect a ‘free market’ world with replicators to be one of Technopunk-esque corporate neo-feudalism, based on what is essentially the financial slavery of those who have signed a lease for such power. Ignoring several issues that make me doubt the workability, much less stability, of such a society, does this sound like Trek’s Federation to you? No? Me neither.

Socialization it is, then. The government, then, controls the replicator system, which is to say virtually all of the production of everything. Why does this sound familiar? Ah, yes. Such top-down governmental control of the means of production is, in a nutshell, Marx’s Communist stage of society. Communist by definition. QED.



Note that this society is Communist regardless of its system of government. Democracy or dictatorship, as long as you get everything from it, that government runs an ideal Marxist Communism.

Of course, when one tosses a realistic view of simple human nature into an analysis of a situation where all power is concentrated in the hands of a few governing officials, one is very inclined to look for signs of an underlying authoritarian basis for the society in question. An examination of Star Trek canon, as is done on the main site, tends to confirm this justifiably strong suspicion. This describes the society’s government, however, not its economic system.

Trek canon does not support the notion of this no-limits replicator, and I trust that any other board members that have the patience to address you in detail will discuss canon replicators, and the likley Communist nature of a society based on them. However, your post leads me to believe that you’re laboring under the notion that Trek replicators are no-limits black boxes. As such, I’m answering this notion in my post.

Apologies to all for the long-winded nature of this post. I simply wished to demonstrate then even removing practical limitations on canon replicators, such technology requires a Communist society even in theory.



I wish to propose for the reader's favorable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. I must, of course, admit that if such an opinion became common it would completely transform our social life and our political system; since both are at present faultless, this must weigh against it.
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Last edited by NetKnight on 2008-03-05 10:42am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 02:41am
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Darth Wong wrote:
You honestly think you've come up with a devastating argument that I've never seen before, don't you?


^I do believe that summed it up best.

By the way, masonwheeler, take some free advice from a newbie - don't push your argument. Instead, actually READ and LISTEN to the refutations, they all make sense and if your pride doesn't drag you into sticking to your original post till you get banned, you may actually learn something.

On the topic of your main post, don't forget that the bit-error rate of replicators is pretty high - high enough that there are frequent comments as to how replicated food feels fake or doesn't taste as good. Further, any item that is 'too complex' cannot be replicated, where examples of too-complex include such things as blood, (even when patterns for said blood are on file). For those you'd need quantum-replicator technology which have a ridiculously high energy requirement to function.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 04:59am
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Here's an analogy for our new friend here. Lightbulbs--just flick on a switch and you have light, right. You've completely eliminated the candle industry, right? You get the electricity for free and its unlimited, right...


...wait a minute.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 05:49am
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Oh, my. Someone doesn't get the point behind a post-scarcity society, do they?

Quote:
But what does this have to do with Star Trek economics? In a word, replicators. All current economic systems are based on one fundamental assumption: there's not enough "stuff" to go around. You can't have everything you want, and you can't always even have everything you need, so we need a system, a way to divide it up.

But once you've got replicators, able to produce useful "stuff" out of raw materials in a matter of seconds, the notion of scarcity goes out the window, and along with it goes the concept of wealth. There's no need for capitalism anymore, as the profit motive has been rendered obsolete. There's no need for communism anymore, since there's no limited resources to be divided among the people.


lol raw materials. Hold on a sec, lemme.....

Go through here and see all the canonical examples of shit they can't produce via replicators.

Quote:
And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.


Episode name or GTFO.

Quote:
This is internally consistent; the few times you actually see money (latinum) changing hands, it's for items that either "can't be replicated" or are too large to come out of a replicator, or for services, not items.


The "few" times? Above link lists many items that cannot be replicated. Hell, the replicator can't even handle complex organic compounds. Scarcity definitively exists in the Federation.

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Likewise, on Voyager, what does the local economy revolve around? The replicator! Because of shortages, replicator use has to be rationed, and "replicator rations" quickly become a medium of exchange now that the concept of scarcity has been re-introduced into society.


Oh, hey, see that word that's bolded? That's a sign of an already existing scarcity. If the Federation was a truely post-scarcity society, then they wouldn't need to invest resources into their magical replicator to get stuff back out of it.

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In short, there's no need to call the Federation a communist society simply because they don't appear to operate under capitalist principles.


No, they just operate under the almost all the textbook definitions of Karl Marx's vision of communist utopia. Not just economics but civil society as well.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 07:38am
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Peptuck wrote:
Quote:
And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.


Episode name or GTFO.


Wish I could remember the name, but I believe he's referring to the episode where Eddington defects to the Maquis, stealing a bunch of industrial replicators meant for Cardassia.
It's really irrelevant though, as an industrial replicator is a glorified factory.
As others have already said, it can refine and process raw material into useful goods but it doesn't negate the fact that it needs those raw materials and energy to function.

Ironically he shoots himself in the foot with that argument, because in this episode the industrial replicators themselves were a commodity to be gifted to Cardassia following their upheaval, which enraged the Maquis.
Therefore you need an investment in resources just to build a replicator, let alone have it make stuff for you.

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 Post subject: Re: "Federation is communist" article misses the p PostPosted: 2008-03-05 09:34am
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masonwheeler wrote:
But what does this have to do with Star Trek economics? In a word, replicators. All current economic systems are based on one fundamental assumption: there's not enough "stuff" to go around. You can't have everything you want, and you can't always even have everything you need, so we need a system, a way to divide it up.

But once you've got replicators, able to produce useful "stuff" out of raw materials in a matter of seconds, the notion of scarcity goes out the window, and along with it goes the concept of wealth. There's no need for capitalism anymore, as the profit motive has been rendered obsolete. There's no need for communism anymore, since there's no limited resources to be divided among the people.


Please don't forget that products are not the beginning and end of an economy. Services are also a large portion of any economy, and a replicator cannot perform services. Indeed, a replicator will require services, since it will need installation, a power supply, maintenance, updates to its pattern inventory, etc.

Further, as you've noted, a replicator produces "stuff" out of raw materials. Those raw materials won't be free. The replicator supply chain will require a source (be it mines, farms, or something else) and a transportation system to get the raw materials from the source to the replicators. Further, some of those raw materials will be more scarce than others, so the notion of scarcity has definitely not gone out the window. How you came to that bizarre conclusion is beyond me.

masonwheeler wrote:
And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.

This is internally consistent; the few times you actually see money (latinum) changing hands, it's for items that either "can't be replicated" or are too large to come out of a replicator, or for services, not items. Likewise, on Voyager, what does the local economy revolve around? The replicator! Because of shortages, replicator use has to be rationed, and "replicator rations" quickly become a medium of exchange now that the concept of scarcity has been re-introduced into society.


And, as you've just noted yourself, some products can't be replicated at all for some reason or another, meaning that there's a broad range of products that have to be manufactured by other means and then delivered to their point of use. We also know that many replicated products are considered inferior to "natural" or "hand made" products, so there's at least a perceived difference in quality, and a corresponding difference in perceived value.

Further, you've shown that replicator use itself has limitations that can require rationing, meaning that the concept of scarcity exists even in a replicator-heavy economy.

masonwheeler wrote:
In short, there's no need to call the Federation a communist society simply because they don't appear to operate under capitalist principles. What's needed is an entirely new term to describe the entirely new system.


In short, you don't seem to have put much thought into your argument, since you've done nothing to show that replicators inherently remove captalist considerations from an economic system.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 10:50am
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Darth Onasi wrote:
Peptuck wrote:
Quote:
And I can vaguely recall a DS9 episode that had something to do with protecting "industrial replicators" that a fledgling colony needed from the bad guys. (Cardassians? Maquis? Dominion? I don't remember. It's been a while.) So replicators aren't just Starfleet conveniences; they also come in at least one other size: a heavy-duty variety capable of providing for the material needs of a good portion of an entire colony.


Episode name or GTFO.


Wish I could remember the name, but I believe he's referring to the episode where Eddington defects to the Maquis, stealing a bunch of industrial replicators meant for Cardassia.


"For the Cause"

Not that this changes anything, as you pointed out.



I wish to propose for the reader's favorable consideration a doctrine which may, I fear, appear wildly paradoxical and subversive. The doctrine in question is this: that it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true. I must, of course, admit that if such an opinion became common it would completely transform our social life and our political system; since both are at present faultless, this must weigh against it.
-Bertrand Russell

-"Too low they build, who build beneath the stars."


Last edited by NetKnight on 2008-05-07 05:31pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 11:39am
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Interesting quote from that episode.

Michael Eddington wrote:
"Why is the Federation so obsessed with the Maquis? We've never harmed you. And yet we're constantly arrested and charged with terrorism. Starships chase us through the Badlands and our supporters are harassed and ridiculed. Why? Because we've left the Federation, and that's the one thing you can't accept. Nobody leaves paradise. Everyone should want to be in the Federation."


Makes me think of the Berlin Wall.



"This is supposed to be a happy occasion... Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who."
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"Nothing of consequence happened today. " -- Diary of King George III, July 4, 1776

"This is not bad; this is a conspiracy to remove happiness from existence. It seeks to wrap its hedgehog hand around the still beating heart of the personification of good and squeeze until it is stilled."
-- Chuck Sonnenburg on Voyager's "Elogium"

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:21pm
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Quote:
The second option, discovered virtually by accident in the 1930s-50s, is of course the basis of the commercial (broadcast) radio and television industries. However, it seems rather unfeasible when used on replicators. Advertisements seek to entice one to buy a product or service, and the no-limits replicator has just destroyed all but the extreme luxury market for products. Are unsolicited advertisements for plumbers and new hovercars provided with ones replicated breakfast going to be enough to support the Replicator Industry? Hardly.


I know this is a side issue, but I gave some thought to the idea of how such a model could work with replicators. Replicators require three things to operate - power, raw materials, and patterns. The TV model could be used to provide the patterns. A replicator could be built so it doesn't store patterns, but has to have them transmitted to them by someone somewhere.

Like with cable TV, a company can charge a fee to make available a set of patterns for various items to its customers for a month. Depending on how much a customer pays, he may receive a larger or smaller selection of patterns. Also, companies can keep records of how many of each item have been replicated by each customer, and set a limit on how many can be replicated to prevent the replicators from flooding the market. Once a customer is at the limit, he has to pay extra for more items, or upgrade to a more expensive package with less limits. Luxury items might be set up so a customer must buy each copy separately.

Before anyone says it, I'm sure someone would quickly make and sell a hard drive that stores replicator patterns and a transmitter to send them to other replicators. Then, you have people file-sharing replicator patterns. One one hand, it lets people develop and sell their own patterns, but on the other, it makes piracy possible.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:32pm
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CDiehl wrote:
I know this is a side issue, but I gave some thought to the idea of how such a model could work with replicators. Replicators require three things to operate - power, raw materials, and patterns. The TV model could be used to provide the patterns. A replicator could be built so it doesn't store patterns, but has to have them transmitted to them by someone somewhere.


That doesn't strike me as a particularly plausible system, at least not in a capitalist society. Surely a competitor would produce a system that actually let you purchase a pattern and reuse it indefinitely.

I think a replicator-based corporation would focus on supplying new patterns (for a fee) or servicing the replicator owners with power and feedstock. Much of a replicator's use is making meals on short notice, and interesting new recipes will probably stay in demand. Rare materials needed for exotic items will also be profitable.

We also know that it's possible to obtain a replicator pattern by scanning an existing example of the desired product. A simple commercial replicator would not necessarily have that feature, so you could potentially make a business out of generating replicator patterns from sample objects provided by customers.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:33pm
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Masonwheeler? Are you there? You're starting to seem like a flash in the pan.



"This is supposed to be a happy occasion... Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who."
-- The King of Swamp Castle, Monty Python and the Holy Grail

"Nothing of consequence happened today. " -- Diary of King George III, July 4, 1776

"This is not bad; this is a conspiracy to remove happiness from existence. It seeks to wrap its hedgehog hand around the still beating heart of the personification of good and squeeze until it is stilled."
-- Chuck Sonnenburg on Voyager's "Elogium"

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:45pm
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Let's keep in mind that there's a difference between (physical) finitude and (economic) scarcity. For example, there is a physically finite amount of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere. However, that oxygen is not considered economically scarce. This is due to the fact that the amount of oxygen, while physically finite, is abundant enough that one person's breathing does not prevent another from breathing just as much (if not more).

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 12:57pm
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I smell a lot of "I don't have a clue about what communism is about, but I've heard it is the big bad" coming from this guy.



unsigned

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 01:59pm
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Even saying that replicators require raw materials, electrical power, and patterns seems like an over-generous statement. It's like saying that cars require only gasoline, tires, and a driver. I guess that huge business in automobile maintenance is just a mirage, right?

Why are we assuming that replicators are an utra low-maintenance device, like a clock radio? For all you know, they could be a very HIGH maintenance device. The fact that they usually work on a well-maintained starship doesn't exactly prove that you can stick one in the corner and have it run maintenance-free for the next 20 years. Nor does the fact that we know isolated colonies have them; for all you know, they're constantly maintaining them.



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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 02:08pm
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Well, DS9 would often show O'Brien on his maintenance rounds, which included replicators.

Another thing shown a lot on DS9 is cargo ships flitting about with the most mundane of goods from vegetables to spare parts.
If replicators were so self-sufficient you have to wonder why they're bothering to shift this stuff through space.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 03:02pm
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I've always imagined replicators as being akin to low-end monochrome photocopiers. Sure, they can make copies of important things, but they sure as hell ain't gonna provide the best quality versions of anything! That's why real food, drinks and so forth are in such demand all over the final frontier.

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 03:10pm
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Is this guy honestly so dense that he believes he refuted anything? My response to his point (and despite the length of his post, I could only actually find one point in it) can be summed up thusly: "So?"

To elaborate, his entire post seems to be explaining why he thinks communism is inevitable post-scarcity. We could go along with every single one of his assumptions, and that wouldn't change the fact of federation communism in the slightest.

His attempt to invoke Voyager as evidence made me laugh, since as far as I know the replicator rations were only actually used for replicating things. Does this guy not know the difference between rations and currency? Actually, to be fair to him, I think the rations were once used as one might expect a currency to be used. If anyone else remembers this, they may also remember that Tom Paris got thrown off the ship for it. Quite telling, isn't it?

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 Post subject:  PostPosted: 2008-03-05 03:30pm
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Darth Wong wrote:
Even saying that replicators require raw materials, electrical power, and patterns seems like an over-generous statement. It's like saying that cars require only gasoline, tires, and a driver. I guess that huge business in automobile maintenance is just a mirage, right?

Why are we assuming that replicators are an utra low-maintenance device, like a clock radio? For all you know, they could be a very HIGH maintenance device. The fact that they usually work on a well-maintained starship doesn't exactly prove that you can stick one in the corner and have it run maintenance-free for the next 20 years. Nor does the fact that we know isolated colonies have them; for all you know, they're constantly maintaining them.


Well there is that Voyager episode with the Ferengi that had fallen through a wormhole and they were using a replicator to help keep their 'image' of being gods. That one at least seemed to just run and run.



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