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  #51  
Old 07-13-2012, 01:39 PM
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I think that's where the enlistment aspect of Starfleet as a service might help with getting in the numbers needed.

We already know not everyone goes through the Academy system and process (I don't recall offhand if TOS era Trek referred to enlistment until Abrams did but certainly TNG covered this with Simon Tarses in 'The Drumhead') and that's how you get enough people to do the dozens of routine and at times relatively menial jobs that need done.

But I've just always figured that with hundreds of thousands of people in the service you have hundreds of thousands of reasons why they are there. I don't for one second believe they are all the same. That would be utterly implausible. And if you even do some basic digging you can find in episodes many references and depictions of officers and crew that are essentially displaying very dubious characteristics and flaws (if measured by the supposed Picard and Co examples) which is why complaints about the depiction of people in Abrams film didn't really hold too much water for me. It'a too easy to find examples in the rest of Trek as well.
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Last edited by kevin : 07-13-2012 at 01:49 PM.
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  #52  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:19 PM
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As I said before, to me it's about numbers. I just don't think you'd get the types of numbers that you would need. And I'm not just talking about Starfleet here, but the Federation as a society as a whole. How do you get people to do all these jobs when there is literally no pressure to do them? Take away that incentive, people will spend their time with their kids, pursuing their interests, basically spending each day as they please.

Sure, some will wish to serve, and some will do jobs that they feel fulfilled doing. Sisko's father and his restaurant are probably an example of that. He runs a restaurant because that's what he loves doing. But it's not all about the jobs people love doing, how do you fill the jobs people hate doing?

And how do you keep any job staffed? You get a boss you don't like, you deal with it because you want to pay your bills. You don't have bills, you have no reason to put up with any situation that rubs you wrong. A society like that cannot survive. It just can't.
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  #53  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:41 PM
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I don't disagree.

But to flip the coin there's so little real information about HOW Earth works (we don't even know how it's really governed beyond the Federation Council etc) in either the 23rd or 24th Century that it's hard to be able to understand what appears to be presented and/or implied.

While I think the person who wrote this was entirely serious I also think they had dubious real world notions for arguing it, nor do I think all the conclusions they draw are accurate since they use the lack of evidence to the contrary as 'proof' of said conclusions, however, some of the points they raise about how Earth 'seems' to be under the apparent auspices of the Federation and Starfleet are interesting to use as a jumping off point.

http://stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essa...k-Marxism.html

I don't disagree that Sisko's father does a job he loves. The reality of that is that most restauranteurs LOVE that type of work anyway. Few go into that particular business because they have nothing better to do. But that doesn't really explain the sort of model under which his place operates.

But yeah, I agree that one of the potential fallacies of the idea that everyone gets given enough to be comfortable with so they don't have to 'work' is that without a step change in human nature (which, in fairness, may appear to be the basis of the theory of Star Trek even if various episodes and characters also tend to betray this idea in many ways) many people WILL just sit on their asses all day because it's getting given to them.

This is a hot topic in the UK at the moment. I am a firm believer in the UK's NHS and of the concept and idea of the Welfare State that was developed post-War in the UK to give people access to things like universal healthcare, and to provide support when people fall into difficulty................I think it was one of the greatest and most benevolent acts ever by a Government for it's people of the last Century. But like all things it has developed problems and a lot of people live from the state. Now, not that it's relevant but I will support the concept and principles of the UK's Social Welfare system as it was intended to operate until I drop dead, but many people are able to use it for what's argued to be free ride and don't do anything. It is of course more complex than that but it's a side effect on a basic level.

I would like to know how that issue is gotten around in the Federation system, because it could not support itself if you had chunks of people doing nothing all day every day.

That kind of rambled............but I think it made a sort of sense.

It doesn't really matter, the thing will never be really explored in Trek. As I always say, we're not meant to question how it works..........just accept what characters tell us about it and hope it comes to pass!
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Last edited by kevin : 07-14-2012 at 12:47 PM.
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  #54  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:43 PM
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Not only did it make sense, it got right to the heart of the point I was trying to make! I've seen the same types of problems here in the US. Not in exactly the same form as we don't have a universal health care system, but when it comes to welfare programs. There is often a strong incentive to stay on the welfare, as opposed to working. If you work, you lose some of the welfare benefit. It's a trap.
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  #55  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:51 PM
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Trap is exactly what it is. And there are times when I don't blame people for refusing to work because a lot of jobs out there pay diabolically bad wages.

But then the flip side is, I work and don't get any kind of benefits because I don't qualify for them. So I have to make do on what I earn. Not easy, and it gets tiresome having to watch the pennies ALL the time. But it's what I have to do, so some days I'm the very opposite!!
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  #56  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Captain Tom Coughlin View Post
Not only did it make sense, it got right to the heart of the point I was trying to make! I've seen the same types of problems here in the US. Not in exactly the same form as we don't have a universal health care system, but when it comes to welfare programs. There is often a strong incentive to stay on the welfare, as opposed to working. If you work, you lose some of the welfare benefit. It's a trap.
While I am a social democrat and thus a big fan of the welfare state it is undeniable that unemployment in the eighties and nineties (I am not familiar with any studies about the last two decades) has been higher in Europe than in the US because of the higher benefits over here. But if you take a look at Nordic countries you learn also that elements of the welfare state like free education increases the productivity of the workforce better than a pay-to-get-smart system. In the recent years we have also seen that unfettered financial capitalism (as opposed to the post WWII kind of moderated industrial capitalism) creates a lot of problems.

Trek has ever been explicit and unambiguous about the precise economic structure and rightly so.
But it is definitely a society which has more in common with social democracy than with anarcho-capitalism. People get paid and a captain's salary buys a sweet apartment (TWOK) but that's not the main reason Kirk does his job.
When an ordinary working man like Tarses (Drumhead) is about to lose his job he is less worried about being unable to get food, shelter and medicine and rather shattered because he lost his dream job. It is a simple job but he nonetheless loves to be in Starfleet.

Of course the latter is slightly unrealistic, not all jobs can be dream jobs. I doubt that it is a moneyless society as you then need direct forms of oppression: authoritarianism, capitalism with "Asian values" or however you wanna call it (BSG is a show which pretended to be liberal but obviously depicted such a society).
On the other hand one has to acknowledge that the values of people are shaped by the society they live in. When you gotta pay for everything yourself like in the US money simply becomes more relevant to you, when you live under authoritarian rule like in Singapore you become an authoritarian person, when you live in Sweden or United Earth money simply matters less.

Last edited by horatio : 07-20-2012 at 02:33 PM.
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  #57  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:28 PM
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But I think that just goes to my point. They don't address the issue because they can't convincingly. And we know it's a moneyless society, they've made that point many times.
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  #58  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:45 PM
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I only remember Picard's line in FC. In Farpoint as well as Tribbles we saw Fed officers using money. OK, it was the usual problem of women wanting to be luxury items.
Seriously, overall Trek seems to be fairly ambiguous about the money issue.

The Neutral Zone illustrated the issue of values very well. The music dude wanted to be famous and the finance dude viewed making money as a challenge and not as means to an end. I believe that basically all super-rich people who want to become even richer tick like and that is precisely which is why I am all for taxing the sh*t out of them ... meaning in practice that they should at least pay higher average actual (!!!) tax rates than middle class folks.

We are to some degree plain hedonists who follow the pleasure principle. But there is also a spark of craziness in ourselves. We want more than just food, shelter and health, we wanna do something important in our life, something which makes us feel immortal. It can be the publicity of the musician, the accumulation of wealth of the financier or the public service of the captain.
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  #59  
Old 07-20-2012, 02:56 PM
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But the basic question remains, how do you get people to do the jobs that noone aspires to? Nobody aspires to work as a ditch digger, and I'm sure there are plenty of 24th century equivalents to that. Why go to that unpleasent job when you can pretend you have talent in music or something, even if you don't.
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  #60  
Old 07-20-2012, 03:15 PM
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Why live in the "Outer Rim" instead of the "Core Worlds", why labour as a miner and meet funky and dangerous silicon-based lifeforms, why stay near the Cardassian border and even fight with these folks? Why did Eddington sac his life in a futile fight when he could have just lived comfortably on Earth? Why are people ready to die for a cause? Why does Picard work like crazy when he could just lay on the couch, watch pornography and eat crisps?

As I said, spark of craziness. Freud called it death drive, German idealism called it radical negativity. Whatever you call it, it is something which you cannot account for by conventional liberal logic which I naturally cherish very deeply.
On a personal note, whenever I did something mildly important in my life it followed the same pattern, i.e. it was something crazy, it was tiresome, it served no purpose and only made sense in hindsight.
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