Is Rick Berman the Diet Coke of Evil?

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It's 42 hours old—an epoch in web terms—but this 60 Minutes "expose" of pro-business PR maven Rick Berman is good for some giggles. Morley Safer keeps pointing his gun down Berman's nose, pulling the trigger, and watching the bullets plunk harmlessly on the floor.

Mr. BERMAN: The businesses themselves don't find it convenient to take on causes that might seem politically incorrect, and I'm not afraid to do that.

SAFER: What you have become is a major tool for corporate America, correct?

Mr. BERMAN: My mission is not–is not to defend corporate America.

SAFER: You're a hired gun.

Mr. BERMAN: Well, I go out to people and I say, `Look, you believe in what I believe. Will you help fund it?' Now, I don't know if that's a hired gun or not, but the point is, yes, I do get paid for educating people. If that's my biggest crime, I stand accused.

NEXT: He Died With His Fro On

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  1. Is this the same Rick Berman who ruined Star Trek?

  2. He’s not a hired gun. He’s a hired ICBM. Good for him. My only question: is Berman merely good at his job, or does he also lie to his kids/wife/friends/etc.?

  3. Saw the item.

    It didn’t seem to be much of an ‘expose’. In fact, the item came across as fairly favorable towards Berman.

    The guys who were criticising Berman didn’t come off well at all. Everything they said about Berman was ad hominem without a single solid fact.

  4. damn, jf, took the post right out of my head

  5. Berman ruined Star Trek, the bastard. I dislike him with such intensity that my feelings extend to all who share his name.

    A major tool for corporate America? Corporations are unified into a monolithic block? How convenient that must be for them. Why, there must not be any competition at all!

  6. Heh. Safer called Berman “a major tool.” Heh. Heh heh.

  7. Safer is not a “hired hand” for the media? He’s not a “tool” for sensationalistic reporting? I wonder how these media types keep getting away with impuning the motives of others as if they have no interests themselves.

  8. I saw the piece. I wish they would have put Berman and the guy from CSPI in the same room and had some sort of dialog between the two.

  9. Berman ruined Star Trek, the bastard.

    Did he? Remember, “Encounter at Farpoint” was written by Roddenberry*. Seriously, there’s blame to go around. Actually, I blame Straczinski and Whedon, for raising the bar beyond a level that Star Trek could follow.

    *huh, Firefox’s spellchecker** recognizes “Roddenberry”. Score one for nerds.

    **second huh, it doesn’t recognize spellchecker.

  10. lunchstealer,

    No, I’m not talking bad episodes. TOS had bad episodes. I’m talking sustained undermining of the whole point of the show. The b-b-b-bastard.

    There’s room in the TV science fiction universe for optimistic Trekishness as well as a gritty ‘verse and Cylons. And Babylonians.

  11. Where’s Rhywun’s Hat Tip?

  12. He’s not a hired gun. He’s a hired ICBM. Good for him. My only question: is Berman merely good at his job, or does he also lie to his kids/wife/friends/etc.?

    What has he lied about?

  13. With a title like “Dr. Evil” and the general tone of the interview, it’s pretty clear that Safer and CBS didn’t take a completely impartial look at what Berman does. Then again, we’re dealing with the air-fluffed ego-driven media. These are the folks that LIVE for alarmist mentalities and spreading the very fear-mongering messages that Berman and his ilk are opposed to. The media is just as guilty of wanting to impose a regulation-happy nanny state as the Chicken Little mentalities who spread their messages of fear.

  14. TOS had bad episodes.

    Boy howdy! I remembered the image of “The Tholian Web” from my childhood, and always thought it was cool. But every time they ran Star Trek in syndication I never saw it. I kept being frustrated that I could see some episodes over and over and over and I never saw some of the more obscure ones like The Tholian Web. So when I finally got the TOS on DVD, one of the first eps I watched was The Tholian Web. And Lo, there was a reason it was rarely shown in syndication, and verily that reason was that The Tholian Web doth suck.

  15. Safer should know. He and most of his 60 Minutes colleagues can remember when tools were first invented.

  16. TEH CORPORSHUNS ARE CRUSHING ME AND I NEED GODZILLA GOVERNMENT AND MEDiA TO STOP THEM FROM MAKING ME BUY THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

    Moreley smirks at him when he says “major tool”… The Q&A is so lamely driving to make moreley’s point, because he doesnt really believe this guy can honestly believe that transfats are no big deal, or that maybe diet-management is something people best address themselves rather than through legislation…

    I think all in all Dr Evil comes out looking good

  17. A major tool for corporate America? Corporations are unified into a monolithic block? How convenient that must be for them. Why, there must not be any competition at all!

    He finally gets it.

  18. I thought it was a good interview.

  19. The CSPI guy came off as more of a “tool.” He perfectly played right into the Nanny role.

    Berman came off as the “good guy” in the piece, but I have to admit since I am libertarian maybe I am biased.

    I would prefer if some of the “corporate tools” would make more of an effort to stand for “consumer freedom” or something like that, though.

    Safer didn’t seem too biased either way, IMHO. I think he just asks questions and let’s people like the CSPI shine through as massive tools.

  20. All I know about Berman is that HE…COULD…GO…ALL…THE…WAY!!!

    (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

  21. According to the absolute authority that was my google search this guy has campaigned against MADD and PETA. What a legend!

  22. If CBS is “fear-mongering” for impugning the intellectual integrity of profit-maximizing firms and CBS itself is a profit-maximizing firm, isn’t it “fear-mongering” to criticize CBS?

  23. Berman did not ruin Star Trek he changed it a bit he tried to update it to the times.

  24. soliscjw,

    That’s rank heresy. Please consider yourself excommunicated and banned from blogging on these here Internets and related tubules.

    Next you’ll be saying that Firefly deserved to be canceled. Sinner! Unbeliever!

  25. Can we at least agree that the only worthwhile episode of TNG and DS9 were the ones Ron Moore had a hand in?

  26. JKP,

    I’d say that both Ron Moore and Ira Behr (who took over DS9 once Berman launched Voyager, and made DS9 at least the equal of Babylon 5) redeemed the franchise during their tenures, short though they were. The late Michael Piller was responsible for some of the greatest TNG episodes as well.

  27. DS9 was imperfect, but it had some excellent episodes to its credit. Not to mention the whole Hawk thing. My brother and I always noted that the best DS9 episodes invariably involved a more Hawkish Avery Brooks 🙂

  28. “nvariably involved a more Hawkish Avery Brooks :)’

    nice reference – but Hawk from the short lived series, “A Man Called Hawk”, or from “Spenser: for Hire” or how Avery Brooks worked as a mental image for Hawk in the Spenser novels?

    There are different levels of Hawkdom possible (think: Early Autumn, for example)

  29. Meh. The Dominion was the most boring adversary ever. The Maquis was interesting, because they were a grey area. They were fighting a brutal occupation, but they were threatening the stability of the Federation. There was some moral conflict there. The Dominion was just unalloyed bad. I lost interest at that point.

  30. Please state specifically how Berman “ruined” Star Trek, and provide at least one concrete example.

    Back on topic… wow, some people really saw that 60 Minutes piece in different ways. To me, Morley’s smirking condescension to “Dr. Evil” said it all. Rather like Bill Maher’s treatment of Ron Paul last week. “Really? How can one possibly believe such crazy things?!” You may think that Berman came out looking good and the food guy came out looking bad, but that’s only because you’re wearing libertarian-colored glasses. Morely was clearing trying to portray Berman as the kook, not “heart attack on a plate” guy.

  31. VM,

    All iterations of Hawk as portrayed by Avery Brooks. Note Sisco’s baldness and goatee in the later seasons. And I think he was wearing a stealth trench coat, too.

    lunchstealer,

    Well, I don’t think the Dominion was dull, I just think the decade-long story arc on them was a bit much. I absolutely hated the whole Maquis mess–it made no sense, was contrary to all things Trek, and was clearly introduced solely to foist upon us the abomination that was Voyager. Well, abomination except for Seven Sublime.

  32. I thought he meant “Hawk” from Buck Rogers. Guess not.

  33. Sigh. Voyager had more to offer than T&A. But now that I see this is about to devolve into yet another testosterone fest, I better bow out now…

  34. Rhywun,

    Why, no, I won’t. It’s self-evident, and if you don’t want to blame him, then you must be some sort of Voyager lover. Admit it! And no, I’m not going teen-aged boy on Voyager, I’m just noting its sole redeeming feature. I’ll leave the lust thing to VM and Akira. I’m getting married in two weeks, after all.

    Hey, right, I remember that Hawk. He was cool, too, even on a silly show like that one.

  35. Sure. I preferred Voyager to DS9 – which I found rather boring once I stopping watching and didn’t know what the hell was going on any more. And Voyager had some clunkers but no more than TNG or any of the others.

  36. “I’ll leave the lust thing to VM and Akira”

    *looks up. snort? arwoo?

    “I’m getting married in two weeks, after all.”
    YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “Voyager had more to offer than T&A. But now that I see this is about to devolve into yet another testosterone fest, I better bow out now…”

    (I’ve never seen Voyager…)

  37. Re: Voyager clunkers.

    “Threshold” was the worst hour in the history of television.

  38. Okay, I preferred DS9 to Voyager. To be fair, I simply stopped watching Voyager at some point, and I did actually end up seeing all of DS9. I abandoned Enterprise, though I’m watching it on DVD, now, and I think that it actually might’ve hit its stride about the time it got canceled. Voyager wasn’t universally god-awful, and I did like some episodes.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing a new series that was set in the Kirkian times, just on a different, non-blowed up starship. What the heck? It would be fun for a while, I think, with all of the Prime Directive twisting, etc. They could exceed Warp 10 back then, too, with a little help. Stupid noncontinuity.

    VM,

    Now you must watch, just so you can take on the role that has been given you.

  39. There is no room in the universe for optimistic, commerce free trekkishness. Buncha damn pinkos and hypocrites, that Federation.

    There, I said it.

  40. PL,

    Once Trek brought on Manny Coto to help run Enterprise it did seem to be finally hitting it’s stride, but for the network heads it was too little too late. A shame, because I have a feeling the last 3 seasons of ENT could have been magnificent, much like the last 3 seasons of DS9 were.

  41. DS9 also had the Scorpio Killer, to go with Hawk and Clayton. That’s just cool.

  42. So when I finally got the TOS on DVD, one of the first eps I watched was The Tholian Web. And Lo, there was a reason it was rarely shown in syndication, and verily that reason was that The Tholian Web doth suck.

    Yeah, but on the other hand, I only ever saw “Balance of Terror” once SFC started showing TOS – and it was cool.

  43. Also, I felt that the Bermanesque Trek was more openly socialist and politically insane, at least as far as most of the series went. DS9 was a little less so. At least TOS had money and stuff. I never expected libertarian optimism from Trek, though I always thought that there was a little of that implicit in the technological optimism of TOS and, to a lesser extent, TNG.

  44. [Viking Moose] This doesn’t look like the holodeck, Captian Pro Liberate…

    [shrrrrttttt! slam!]

    [ProL] Activate air lock opening! Engage!

  45. “Threshold” was the worst hour in the history of television.

    Um, no… that would be “Fair Haven”.

  46. Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the BiMonSciFiCon was today.

    NERDS!

    (Rule of thumb: Find the geeky discussion, you find Pro Libertate.)

    BTW, congrats, Pro Lib!

  47. There is no room in the universe for optimistic, commerce free trekkishness. Buncha damn pinkos and hypocrites, that Federation.

    There, I said it.

    Actually, I’ve discussed this with non-libertarian Trek fans, and we were not convinced that the Federation was intended to be outright socialist. A number of characters, particularly in DS9, were depicted as working for private entities within Federation society. The whole “money, what’s that?” thing may have been originally “post-capitalistic” silliness, but seems to have morphed by the point of the second two shows to some sort of cashless (but not money-less) economy.

    After all, Sisko’s father ran a restaurant on Earth – even a moment’s thought indicates that something keeps every random schlub on the planet with a taste for Cajun from wandering to a teleporter and showing up for dinner. For that matter, people paid bar tabs on DS9. They may have used alien currency, but they would have had to exchange something for it in the first place.

  48. Corporations are unified into a monolithic block? How convenient that must be for them. Why, there must not be any competition at all!

    Pro-L wins the thread.

    Why, all a bunch of Big Money Republican tools are those corporate peeps. What’s that? Not completely?

  49. Speaking of bizarre Bermanesque ways of dealing with issues, compare how he did his “we’re going to examine homosexuality in the 24th century” episode on TNG versus how Ira Behr dealt with the same issue on DS9. Berman gave us an androgynous alien that Riker had a rather disturbing and far too brief relationship with in “The Outcast”. Behr, on the other hand, dealt with it straightforwardly, pulling no punches and presenting it without apology in the DS9 episode “Rejoined”.

    It didn’t hurt that watching Terry Farrell and Susanna Kahn kiss was tastefully done (and quite hot).

  50. “”Threshold” was the worst hour in the history of television.”

    Lou Dobbs Variety Hour?

    (but why is the version of Star Trek with Avery Brooks testerone laden and full of T&A? Is that the flavor where former IL gov candidate Ryan’s wife is from?)

  51. Berman gave us an androgynous alien that Riker had a rather disturbing and far too brief relationship with in “The Outcast”. Behr, on the other hand, dealt with it straightforwardly, pulling no punches and presenting it without apology in the DS9 episode “Rejoined”.

    And had the most openly religious character go, “Well, so what’s the problem?” Mind, fictional religion and the “problem” in the text of the story had nothing to do with a homosexual relationship, but it was a nice touch to not break down the reactions to the metaphorical homosexuality in old-school “religious belief = close-minded intolerance” terms, ala TOS and even TNG.

  52. (but why is the version of Star Trek with Avery Brooks testerone laden and full of T&A? Is that the flavor where former IL gov candidate Ryan’s wife is from?)

    No, that was Voyager, and they brought her on to try to stiffen that franchise’s, ah, spine.

  53. gotcha!

    thanks again!

    where was Rhywun’s comment coming from, then?

  54. Incidentally, when exactly did broadcast and syndicated TV shows start showing gay couples kissing, aside from absurdly hyped rating stunts ala Roseanne?

  55. where was Rhywun’s comment coming from, then?

    Voyager and Enterprise get trashed a lot by fans of the other Trek series; he apparently was a fan of Voyager.

  56. Les:

    In the interview, he lied about whether he was paid to say things nice about his clients. It’s his job to lie about this. But it’s still a big, fat, obvious lie. We retain those kind of guys all the time. It’s par for the course.

  57. thanks again!

    yoo da man!

    “when exactly did broadcast and syndicated TV shows start showing gay couples kissing”

    that’s a good question. sounds like a good project. stay tuned!

    (actually on Scrubs today – it was the episode right after JD and Carla kissed. Carla demonstrated what the kiss was like on Dr. Ried – but they didn’t show it – just zoomed tight on JD. Then when JD gave Turk a peck (it looked slightly off target), they did show it)

    (so portrayal of who, and how, and when also would be interesting. stay tuned)

  58. There is no room in the universe for optimistic, commerce free trekkishness. Buncha damn pinkos and hypocrites, that Federation.

    There, I said it.

    You’re right. That’s why I’d like to see someone bring Iain M. Banks’s Culture universe to the screen. Post-scarcity civilization is hard to comprehend.

  59. Berman gave us an androgynous alien that Riker had a rather disturbing and far too brief relationship with in “The Outcast”.

    Actually, thinking back to that old episode, it strikes me as anti-gay. The character that develops the socially-frowned-upon attraction to Riker is caught, “treated” for the deviant feelings, and seems perfectly alright and happy with the psychological “correction” afterwards. The character doesn’t even do the “I’ve been lobotomized and rendered only capable of talking in a cold monotone – that’s how you know I’ve been subjected to evil mental conditioning” shtick. The only unhappy person is poor, horny Riker.

    In this day and time, it all sounds uncomfortably reminiscent of the propaganda of those Christian groups that try to “cure” homosexuality.

  60. Happy to help out, VM.

    I found myself thinking in particular of another syndicated geek show – Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The characters of Willow and Tara were depicted as being in a romantic, sexual relationship for about a year before they kissed on-camera.

    I caught those seasons on DVD, so I’d have to check the years. Mind, male-male kissing still seems confined to cable – sexist certainly at play, there.

  61. sexism, rather.

  62. The only unhappy person is poor, horny Riker.

    I’ve always wondered exactly where Riker was going to stick it.

  63. Well, by 5th or 6th season of Buffy, the Willow/Tara thing was going full speed ahead. And it wasn’t just a single shock-value thing, but a constant thing for a major character. So by, say, ’01 lesbian kissing wasn’t a super big deal. It’s probably still a little controversial, but not too much.

    Man love still hasn’t really made an impact on any show I’ve watched.

  64. I’m still wondering when Riker’s going to come out, but that’s just me.

    Oh, and congrats, PL!

  65. Berman didn’t murder Trek. He just carried the bullet awhile.

  66. Lamar,

    I see what you’re saying. I thought there was something of substance he was lying about. I mean, who in D.C. isn’t a liar?

  67. “After all, Sisko’s father ran a restaurant on Earth – even a moment’s thought indicates that something keeps every random schlub on the planet with a taste for Cajun from wandering to a teleporter and showing up for dinner.”

    That’s a dishonest representation — ;^)

    The shows spend a considerable amount of energy making it clear that the food is available to whoever shows up, no money, just the enjoyment of service to fellow beings paid for by their gratitude.

    Don’t conflate the alien economies with Earth’s. It is dishonest ;^)

  68. Oh, and seriously, the jackass responsible for that godawful opening theme for Enterprise. He was evil, whoever he was.

  69. You’re right. That’s why I’d like to see someone bring Iain M. Banks’s Culture universe to the screen. Post-scarcity civilization is hard to comprehend.

    You realize, of course, that Banks’s Culture is full-blown communism, right? He’s said so himself. Google-up “A Few Notes on the Culture” if you wish.

  70. Thanks, everyone!

  71. We shouldn’t soften the pinkishness of Trek. Depictions of money and the ability to profit fit squarely with The Merchant of Venice view of things. Disturbingly so. Including the visuals of merchants, which look like they came from the mind of Borat.

  72. Isn’t “Ferengi” related to the word for “Frank” in Farsi? If so, it’s about us bad Westerners–or so I’ve always thought.

  73. The shows spend a considerable amount of energy making it clear that the food is available to whoever shows up, no money, just the enjoyment of service to fellow beings paid for by their gratitude.

    When’s that actually said?

  74. We shouldn’t soften the pinkishness of Trek. Depictions of money and the ability to profit fit squarely with The Merchant of Venice view of things. Disturbingly so. Including the visuals of merchants, which look like they came from the mind of Borat.

    The only problem with is that the original concept for the Ferengi was rather different. They were originally planned to be a scary nemesis for the Federation – the new Klingons, since there was a Klingon on the bridge. The first time they come up, Riker coldly states that the Ferengi “eat their trading partners” in a rather non-metaphorical-sounding way. The first few times we see Ferengi, they’re all military personnel advancing a colonial/mercantile empire.

    And then the producers realized that setup wasn’t working and the Ferengi weren’t coming off so much sinister as merely annoying, so we didn’t see Ferengi again until DS9. There, they became comical uber-capitalists (and we never saw energy-whip-wielding, snarling Ferengi military again).

    Amusingly, there was one late-season episode of DS9 that had one Ferengi, Nog, engage in a complicated sequence of exchanges in order to replace some broken, expensive item (I forget the details). When questioned as to why he was so optimistic about it all working out, he gave a little spiel about the “River of Commerce” that was basically a mystical take on market-solves-all-problems – and IIRC, it did all work out in the end, much to everyone else’s surprise…

  75. You realize, of course, that Banks’s Culture is full-blown communism, right? He’s said so himself. Google-up “A Few Notes on the Culture” if you wish.

    Yeah, that essay is a bit kooky. Command economies do sound awesome if you have godlike AIs doing the central planning for mere mortals…until you ponder that unless you conscript all the godlike AIs to run the economy, some off them will take part in the economy. Those AIs’ enterprises and interactions will make the economy complex enough that the planners won’t have complete knowledge, making planning only as good as human command economies, albeit with the huge cushion of post-scarcity to ameliorate things.

  76. “When’s that actually said?”

    I think it is in the first episode with Sisko’s, Picard also says as much in an episode or two of TNG.

    From Ron Moore, a writer on Deep Space Nine and TNG.

    “All I know is that by the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did “credits” and that was that.

    Personally, I’ve always felt this was a bunch of hooey, but it was one of the rules and that’s that. Fortunately DS9 isn’t part of the Federation, so currency could make a back-door re-entry into our story-telling.”

  77. The Ron Moore Link…

    http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/6952/ron9.txt

    Wouldn’t want you to accuse me of being dishonest

    ;^)

  78. I think it is in the first episode with Sisko’s, Picard also says as much in an episode or two of TNG.

    Ehn, I’d need more specifics to buy the first; as to the second, TNG was when things started moving slowly or quickly away from a lot of Roddenberry’s premises; characters said a lot of things about Federation society that got retconned later.

    “All I know is that by the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did “credits” and that was that.

    Personally, I’ve always felt this was a bunch of hooey, but it was one of the rules and that’s that. Fortunately DS9 isn’t part of the Federation, so currency could make a back-door re-entry into our story-telling.”

    Fair enough, though that doesn’t rule out some medium of exchange. Unless the premise is that the Federation ponies up for every bit of tourist-trap bric-a-brac its citizens buy when they come in contact with outside societies…

    Wouldn’t want you to accuse me of being dishonest

    Hey, as long as you’re not making contradictory arguments about why Voyager was great, then shrug and say, “But I never said I liked it,” it’s all good.

  79. Eric,

    Here’s you resource
    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Money

    Some bits

    * When Nog suggests that Jake should bid for a baseball card in an auction, Jake says “I’m Human, I don’t have any money.” Nog replies “It’s not my fault that your species decided to abandon currency-based economics in favor of some philosophy of self-enhancement.” Jake says “Hey, watch it. There’s nothing wrong with our philosophy. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” Nog then replies “What does that mean?” Jake responds “It means we don’t need money!” (DS9: “In the Cards”)

    * Jake: “(big smile) I sold my first book today. Quark: “Really? How much did you get for it? Jake: “It’s just a figure of speech. The Federation News Service is going to publish a book of my stories about life on the station under Dominion rule. But they’re not paying me.” (DS9: “You Are Cordially Invited”)

    When Lily Sloane asked how much the Enterprise-E cost to build, Picard tells her “The economics of the future is somewhat different. You see, money doesn’t exist in the 24th century… The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity.” (Star Trek: First Contact)

  80. er,

    “Your resource”

  81. I wonder if David Weigel had any idea before writing the original post that this would degenerate into a Star Trek thread.

  82. “All I know is that by the time I joined TNG, Gene had decreed that money most emphatically did NOT exist in the Federation, nor did “credits” and that was that.

    Really? In the second season of the original series, the famous and popular “Troubles With Tribbles” episode included a scene in which the trader Cyrano Jones tried to sell things to the space station bartender, with some dickering involved, and “credits” were specifically mentioned as the medium of exchange:

    UHURA: Oh, it’s adorable. What is it?

    JONES: What is it? Why, lovely lady, it’s a tribble.

    UHURA: Are you selling them?

    JONES: That’s what we’re trying to decide right now. (to Bartender) My friend, 10 credits apiece is a very reasonable price. You can see for yourself how the lovely little lady appreciates the finer things.

    BARTENDER: 1 credit apiece. He won’t bite, will he?

    JONES: Sir, transporting harmful animals
    from one planet to another is against regulations, or weren’t you aware of that? Besides, tribbles have no teeth.

    BARTENDER: All right. I’ll double my offer — 2 credits.

    JONES: Twice nothing is still nothing.

    UHURA: If you’re not gonna take him, I’m gonna take him. I think he’s cute.

    BARTENDER: 4 credits.

    JONES: Is that an offer or a joke?

    BARTENDER: That’s my offer.

    JONES: That’s a joke.

    BARTENDER: 5?

    JONES: You’re an honest man. I’ll tell you what I’m going to do — I’m going to lessen my price to 8 1/2 credits.

    BARTENDER: You’re talking yourself out of a deal, friend. 6 credits. Not one more.

    JONES: 7 1/2 … 7? … all right, you robber. 6 credits.

    UHURA: When can I have one?

    BARTENDER: Right away.

    UHURA: What are you selling them for?

    BARTENDER: Let’s see, little lady. 6 credits … figure a reasonable markup for a reasonable profit … say a 10% markup … 10 credits.
    ————————

    This, BTW, takes place on Federation Space Station K-7. Sounds like a money-using, profit-oriented society to me.

  83. Jf,

    With this crowd? No doubt. Note the clear use of the “Rick Berman” name, which he could’ve avoided. Of course, Weigel favors the moneyless Federation 🙂 Incidentally, I made an actual on-topic comment (or off-topic, depending on how you judge such things) up there ? somewhere.

    If I had to pick a Trek era to live in, it would be the Kirkian. Better clothes, credits, a flagrant disregard for the Prime Directive, Warp 14, and Earth-parallel worlds.

  84. Here’s you resource
    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Money

    The latter quotes are rather strong, but the first sounds like an ironic lampshade hanging on the “no money” thing. However, the entry you cite isn’t all that firm on the point of money:

    The exact nature of the Federation economy is difficult to describe; while money has not entirely ceased to exist, it does not play the central role in the lives of Federation and Earth citizens that it once did. It appears that the Federation economy is built on a model that is neither capitalist or socialist, but something akin to communist model, however precise information is very scarce.

    The latter end of that entry includes some counter-examples:

    * Quark sold his damaged shuttle Quark’s Treasure for scrap, in the Sol system, and was given enough to pay for passage back to Deep Space 9. (DS9: “Little Green Men”)

    * The Bank of Bolias was a major financial institution, and Bolarus IX, a Federation member planet, apparently has a market economy. (DS9: “Starship Down”, “Who Mourns for Morn?”)

    Money doesn’t exist, but it keeps creeping up everywhere. They’re beyond capitalism, but capitalists seem to live and work in the Federation. People write books, but being accepted by a publisher appears to matter over just publishing one’s writings over the Federation subspace internet. Folks don’t care about wealth, but they dicker over prices.

  85. If I had to pick a Trek era to live in, it would be the Kirkian. Better clothes, credits, a flagrant disregard for the Prime Directive, Warp 14, and Earth-parallel worlds.

    Not to mention interventionist foreign policies and a political culture where one planetary governor can say, “Crap, we’re low on food; time to start executing the useless people!” and readily expect the order to be carried out. 😉

  86. Another article from the same site:

    http://memory-alpha.org/en/wiki/Federation_credit

  87. Eric the .5b,

    Yes, Kodos the Executioner–that’s decisive leadership.

  88. Yes, Kodos the Executioner–that’s decisive leadership.

    I’m willing to bet we’ve all dealt with someone’s “decisive leadership” to fix a problem the decisive leader caused. 😉

    (Come on – one fungus outbreak affecting one crop and the colony is doomed? Clearly, Kodos was mismanaging the colony in the first place, leaving them vulnerable.)

  89. A more interesting imagination of a society without money in science fiction…

    Cory Doctorow
    Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom…

    Available without money here
    http://www.craphound.com/down/download.php

    “Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you wouldn’t starve; contrariwise, if you were rich and hated, no sum could buy you security and peace. By measuring the thing that money really represented – your personal capital with your friends and neighbors – you more accurately gauged your success”.

    A primary difference between Whuffie and money is that a cash-based currency system is zero-sum: as long as the money supply is constant, nobody can gain money without someone else parting with an equal amount. In Down and Out’s system, a person with a score of 0 is just as capable of giving and revoking Whuffie as someone with a score of 1,000,000. The person with the million-point score would be invited to a lot more parties and shows and other exclusive and elite events, while her bottomed-out counterpart would get dirty looks from people on the bus and would probably not be allowed into any reputable clubs or restaurants. But both of their opinions on somebody else would count for the same amount of gross Whuffie.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whuffie

    And U K. Le Guin thought very carefully about this too…

    The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia

    Study Guide for Ursula LeGuin: The Dispossessed (1974)
    http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/science_fiction/dispossessed.html

    Or read…

    Samuel R. Delany: ” To Read the Dispossessed,” in The Jewel-Hinged Jaw. N.Y.: Dragon Press, 1977, pp. 239-308.

    And, of course there is Delany’s fictional response to LeGuin

    Trouble on Triton
    http://www.upne.com/0-8195-6298-X.html

    “In the novel’s future solar system, Neptune’s moon Triton supports one of several human societies independent from Earth, which has developed along radically libertarian lines in some ways: though a representative government exists, it has virtually no power to regulate private behavior, and citizens may choose to live in an area where no laws apply at all. Technology provides for a high degree of self-modification, so that one can change one’s physical appearance, gender, sexual orientation, and even specific patterns of likes and dislikes.”

  90. On Triton the government exists solely to provide for the existence and welfare of all, yet it never imposes its thought on the citizens. Each citizen elects their own representative in government. Money and even the concept of money is nonexistent. Taxes are irrelevant.

    There is no povery, no issues of race or gender, no suffering and infinite creative freedom. No one has to work, and yet most do – not because the society demands it, but rather because it gives those who toil a sense of fulfillment or a sense of advancement within social ranks. Social ranks which are acknowledged by the narrator (Bron) as useless – and yet still desired.

  91. If I had to pick a Trek era to live in, it would be the Kirkian. Better clothes, credits, a flagrant disregard for the Prime Directive, Warp 14, and Earth-parallel worlds.

    Especially the miniskirts.

  92. Oh, yeah.

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