cover image Trekonomics: The Economics of ‘Star Trek’

Trekonomics: The Economics of ‘Star Trek’

Manu Saadia. Inkshares/Pipertext, $22.99 (280p) ISBN 978-1-9417-5875-5

First-time author Saadia has written an amusing deconstruction of the economics of Star Trek and how they illuminate our current financial and social milieu. He identifies the essential feature of the Federation, the TV series’ futuristic society, as being its victory over the problem of scarcity. Key to this is the replicator, a machine that can create anything, from food to weapons, out of pure matter. As a result, resources are endlessly abundant, currency has been abolished, and work has changed from something people do to survive into something people do to better themselves and society and to gain prestige. The book’s most interesting section examines negative externalities, “the cost of an activity to a third party who is not involved in said activity,” as demonstrated in an episode about the Federation placing limits on faster-than-light travel after discovering it adversely affects a certain alien race. Saadia relates this to the sacrifices necessary to stop global warming and other environmental threats. Like Star Trek itself, the book is about more than spaceships and aliens; it illuminates the present by showing a future to strive for. (June)