Nov 192013

Some Star Trek fans like to dress up as Klingons or Starfleet officers. Others like to write long-form essays that posit an economic theory of Star Trek. Rick Webb does an excellent job of explaining how a post-capitalist, post-scarcity economy might evolve from democratic traditions and a greatly expanded welfare state. In such a society, it could be perfectly acceptable for people to not work since everyone has access to the resources needed to live comfortably. Instead, people are motivated to seek personal enrichment and fulfillment. For some people, this might mean joining Starfleet. For others, it might mean becoming a competitive 3-D chess player.

It’s an economic theory that perhaps relies on an overly sunny view of human nature, but Webb makes it sound plausible. As he points out, we already are on the threshold of a post-scarcity economy, but we do a crappy job of allocating those resources. If we look at Star Trek through Webb’s critical prism, the implications are clear: humanity can do better.

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