The Economics of Star Trek – Medium

The Proto-Post Scarcity Economy

The thing that never sits quite right with post scarcity economics, though, at least the very little that I’ve read, is that it’s always sort of an all or nothing affair: you either don’t have enough of anything or you have enough of everything. Thinking of this as a mental exercise is kind of fun, I think, but in reality it seems to me that getting from point A — a scarcity economy — to point B — post scarcity — is going to be a long, complicated journey as some things become more abundant in some places, while other things are still scarce.

The key here, to me, is to start thinking about how economics would work when we decouple labor from reward.

The Federation has clearly taken the plunge to the other side of people’s fears about European socialist capitalism: yes, some people might not work. So What? Good for them. We think most still will.

It’s interesting to me because these are things we’re going to have to reckon with, I believe, in my lifetime. If robots do all the dirty work, and the US is hugely rich, does every single person really need a job? Are we going to let all of that money pile up in the 0.1% ruling elite, or can it be distributed to everyone? … What happens when the surplus is more than enough?

Source: The Economics of Star Trek – Medium