One Geeky Correction

Over at the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez writes:

Congressman Paul Ryan has had considerable success lately explaining the main problem with health care — and with “social democracy” — in general: it’s unsustainable. It’s an old message which has until recently taken a back seat to the idea that the welfare state was the wave of the future. OpenLeft argued that the hidden message of Star Trek was that in the future humanity would establish a socialist paradise. “The most familiar utopian socialist society would be that of the United Federation of Planets in the popular television series Star Trek – particularly that depicted in The Next Generation. There is no money, no want, no poverty, no crime, no disease or ignorance in human society; everyone works for the advancement of all humanity — as well as the rest of the Federation.”

One correction: Star Trek isn’t a socialist paradise. Do you ever about taxes? I believe the idea is that through amazing (TECH THE TECH) advances, goods such as food, clothes, housing, transportation, and even advanced tech like those cool iPads they all carry have prices approaching zero. So, the only reason one would work are 1) for personal satisfaction of some sort, or 2) to acquire whatever scarce goods are still available, such as collector’s items of something or services that require human contact. I can think of all sorts of ways a person may get those still-scarce items without “money”. But it’s not socialist per se, but just a hyper abundant society. Government doesn’t tax (no money!) and doesn’t own the means to production, as I’ve seen episodes where people have their own replicators. That’s about as individual of means of production as you’re going to get.

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