Star Trek Money

      • In one episode of ST-TNG there’s a person from the past visiting Picard’s ship (-is it still called the Enterprise?-) and the guy asks how much the starship cost. Picard says something like “Well, in the 25th century we don’t have money as such, and that it doesn’t really have a price”, or something like that. It seems like I’ve heard references to money used in other episodes, but I’m not sure. Was this particular economic system ever explained (- why little things could be bought but big things could not)? - I am curious as to ole’ Gene’s take on capitalism. - MC

It’s not an episode, it’s the First Contact movie. You’re remembering it wrong and I don’t feel like looking it up, but it doesn’t matter.

The answer is simple–never assume that the producers of Star Trek care about continuity. Of course there’s money, you saw it used on The Next Generation and all the time on Deep Space Nine.

And while you’re at it, ask yourself the following questions–

If Scotty was present when Kirk died, why did he think Kirk had rescued him when he was found 70+ years later on The Next Generation?

If Checkov was a new person on the Enterprise in season two of the original series, how could Kahn have known him when he was from an earlier episode?

You could spend all day thinking up stuff like this. As I said, never assume that the producers of Star Trek care about continuity.

Jim Petty
An oak tree is just a nut that stood it’s ground

      • I’ve probably seen all the movies (mostly on cable) but I don’t remember which one was which. I never noticed enough to see that other stuff.
  • After that “Ferengi = Jews” website thing, I just wondered how detailed they’d been in making up the financial system. - MC

Once upon a time, there was an author named Conan Doyle who created a character called Sherlock Holmes. Doyle not only didn’t care about continuity (Watson is called John most of the time, but his wife calls him James in one story), he paid no attention to continuity with reality (made-up example: case begins on Wednesday, October 2, 1895 on a stormy night … when Oct 2, 1895 was a Friday, and clear.)

Discussions about the Sherlock Holmes stories have persisted for almost a hundred years. The general line taken is that Watson wrote the stories, and sometimes deliberately lied to disguise the true events. There are volumes and volumes of discussions and debates over some of the most extraordinarily trivial inconsistencies imaginable.

It is harder with Star Trek, since the media is visual rather than written, but the principle is the same. If you’re attracted as a fan, then you care about such things. If you’re only attracted for the entertainment value, then you don’t.

BTW, there is a Sherlock Holmes chat every Sunday night (8 PM EST) on AOL, keyword: books, go to Mystery Forum, then chat.

Jimpy: If Checkov was a new person on the Enterprise in season two of the original series, how could Kahn have known him when he was from an earlier episode?

“Catspaw”, Chekov’s first appearance, was on SD 3018.2
“Space Seed”, Khan’s first appearance, was on SD 3141.9

Even though they aired (erred? :slight_smile: ) in the opposite order, their SD’s allow for the explanation that Chekov was aboard the Enterprise when Khan was found.

I do agree with you about the Scotty Paradox. Usually, TNG was better about their continuity than TOS.

Other continuity problems with “Generations”[ul][li]Riker was clueless about what “trilithium” was, even after the incident at Arkaria base (“Starship Mine”)[]Data’s emotion chip and it’s placement changed shape for the second time[/li][]Picard’s brother and nephew didn’t look the same as in “Family”. (But his nephew in “Family” looked an awful lot like young Picard in “Rascals”.)[/ul]

  1. The original Star Trek didn’t care about continuity because few prime time TV shows of the 1960s did. (PEYTON PLACE is the only example I can think of.) The shows were broadcast in whatever order the network chose, so there was no point in continuity when episode 7 might air before episode 3.

  2. TNG and later ST started being concerned about continuity because the fans demanded it. However, they had a rather limited form of continuity – a certain amount of consistency about alien behavior (BTW, I’ve heard the originally Klingons and Romulans were supposed to be the same alien enemy, only the writers forgot what they had previously named them). They do not show the same sort of episode-to-episode continuty that are a part of most current dramatic shows (e.g., NYPD BLUE, ER, CHICAGO HOPE, B5, etc.).

  3. Roddenberry >seemed< to favor the elimination of money as a method of exchange (the dialog referred to in the original post was in the early years of TNG, when nothing got on without Roddenberry’s OK). Like many of Roddenberry’s ideas (the transporter, the replicator), he never really thought out the consequences; he just thought it was neat to eliminate all money.

  4. When Deep Space 9 was started, they realized they needed >some< method of exchange. But with replicators, this was difficult, since if you chose pokemon cards as the basis for our economy (like currently), someone could take the replicator and make as many as he needs. The writers came up with gold-pressed latinum. Like all of later ST, the science is gobbledegook (one of the things that make the original superior is that sometimes they actually made an effort to get the science right), but there was one important principle about the gold-pressed latinum – it could not be created in a replicator. That was actually well thought out for a change.

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction.

I saw an episode just last night where Kirk says to Spock, “Do you know how much money Starfleet has invested in you?”, and Spock replies, “One hundred and thirty four thousand…” before Kirk rolls his eyes and cuts him off.

It was the episode where the happy little community worships the dragon/computer ‘Vaal’. I know I’m supposed to know the episode number and original air date, but I left my Trekkie membership card in my other pants.


P.S. I know, I know… It’s ‘Trekker’.

Who can forget “I’ll wager 400 quatloos on the newcomer”?

(There’s actually a website dealing with financial scams named after 'em-

A notable exception to this was the last season or two of Deep Space Nine. I had stopped watching it (it became too much of a western goodguys vs badguys show, and not enough thoughtful sf) but the continuity made it interesting enough to go back for.

The impression that I’ve always gotten is that there’s no money within the Federation itself, but within the other ‘States’ (Klingon/Romulan Empires, Bajor, the Ferengi, whathaveyou) and between ‘States’ (Including between the Federation, and the others.) they use Latinum.

Might be wrong of course, but that’s the best I can do to shoe-horn some continuity into the issue. :stuck_out_tongue:

‘They couldn’t hit an Elephant from this dist…!’

Last words of General John Sedgwick

Well for one, we have to remember the settings of most of the ST shows and movies. Most occurred on a Star Ship. That is very similar to the Navy. Both are military and both are away from their home base a lot.

On this ship, they did not really need money. Everything they could need they were able to get. Need new clothes no problem. Need food just go to the mess hall. Back on Earth they used a credit system. Probably much like money but on a debit type card. That way you could not replicate the cards, just get money added by doing your job.

Ask people in the military how much a ship costs today. They do not pay for it and it is really just a number.

While the people on the Enterprise could travel anywhere anytime via transporter for free it was implied that on Earth it costs people to do so.

DS-9 was a different situation, because it had many people from different planets and all congregated. These people did need some system of barter. Apparently gold pressed latinum was chosen for the reasons given above.

The reason for no money, why bother with such trivial things. Bathrooms were not shown either. Did they not exist? No. They just were not necessary to the plot.

The Scotty thing was mentioned. I believe that that episode happened before the movie Generations occurred, so at that point they would not have planned on what would happen in a later movie. Also, maybe his memory was not that good holding in a pattern buffer for 70 years.

Star Trek is still the best.


My WAGs on the economy of the future:

Automated production, including replicators, means that within broad limits material resources are no problem. The main limiting factors that create scarcity are (1) exotics not made of ordinary atomic matter, like monopoles or heavy-quark matter; latinum and dilithium probably fall in this category. (2) Things that require a live person to devote their time and attention -skilled technicians, the service sector, etc.

Thus, in DS9, during the war with the Dominion, the Federation could usually come up with more starships and weapons, but nearly ran out of trained crews. (after two years, Nog went from being a first-year cadet to a lieutenant).

Since people in the military also get paid and Starfleet is military, we assume that each Starfleet member gets a salary, too. How else would they buy things from alien worlds when they go on shore leave? It would be in poor taste, as well as economically devastating, to go to an alien world, use your tricorder to “copy” an object for sale, and replicate it on the ship.

after two years, Nog went from being a first-year cadet to a lieutenant.

No real inconsistancy there; my father joined the Navy in November, 1941 as an ensign with no previous military experience (the Navy was on a crash program to build up its officer ranks, even before Pearl Harbor). Dad became a lieutenant in less than a year; fast, even for wartime, but not unheard of.


“Believe those who seek the truth.
Doubt those who find it.” --Andre Gide

In TOS the Federation used “credits” as legal tender. In “the trouble with tribbles”
they went for six credits a body. In “mirror mirror” the evil Kirk tells Spock “all right Spock whatever your game is all pay it, you want credits I’ll give them to you, you’ll
be a rich man.” In “catspaw” Desalle was betting “credits to navy beans” they could put a dent in a force field. I don’t remember any reference to “credits” in TNG or DS9.
Also I remember some sources said the original Enterprise cost the Federation 50 billion “credits”!!!

The first episode that mentioned credits (the first one written but not necessarily the first one shown) was “The Trouble with Tribbles”. The writer, David Gerrold, made the claim in his book The Trouble with Tribbles which was about how he came to write it, naturally. The book is out of print, but you could probably find it at a convention or an SF bookstore. I met David a couple of times at such a store, Dangerous Visions. Nice guy.

Remeber the DS9 Tribble episode? David is in one scene as a grey-haired ensign sitting on the floor holding a tribble. He’s also one of the crewmen in ST-TMP in the scene where Kirk addresses the crew on the Recreation Deck.

Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it. Georges Santayana

I think they must have gotten this idea from Philip K. Dick. In one of Dick’s SF worlds (maybe Game Players of Titan or Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch), the global economy had the same problem–almost everything could be “replicated” and was thus unsuitable as a medium of exchange. The solution wasn’t some kind of “gold pressed latinum” but rather a naturally occuring fungus that couldn’t be replicated for some reason; money made from this fungus was referred to as “skins”.

At least as far as I remember.


In the episode “In the Cards” (DS9) Nog mentions that the Federation does not use a currency-based economy. Apparently, therefore, the Federation owns some amount of gold-pressed latinum, but uses it only for foreign expenses.

By the way, gold-pressed latinum is a liquid, “encased in bits of worthless gold” by “someone who got tired of making change with an eyedropper” (“Who Mourns for Morn?”, DS9). That it cannot be replicated is not canon, but merely assumed, as far as I know.

Jimpy said:

I remember a Next Generation episode where they find 3 people (a woman and two men) in cryogenic(?) chambers that had been frozen in the 20th century. They were all fixed up and thawed out. One of the men (a Texan, I believe) asked for a phone so he could call his broker, and made other comments about money. Picard explained that money and material goods were not as important as they had once been.

Credits, as far as I know, only appeared in The Original Series. Presumably, when the replicator was invented (they had food and other “synthesizers” on the original Enterprise, but they appear to operate on a molecular basis, not a transporter basis) the Credit was no longer needed.

The idea that gold-pressed latinum is unreplicatible is not canon, but it’s supposed to be obvious. The only place I’ve seen the principle mentioned was in the Next Generation novel “Balance of Power”. However, this mentioned the fact that it’s the latinum that holds the value, and that it doesn’t matter if it’s gold-pressed, silver-pressed, or cardboard-pressed, before any episode did, so I think that we can take that for granted.

P.S. Does anybody else remember the DS9 episode where bars of gold-pressed latinum are suddenly, inexplicably, referred to as “izziks”? This was in the episode where that El-Aurian guy opens up a gambling establishment on the Promenade and almost runs Quark out of business, and the term only occured in that one episode. It must have been the probability fluctuations that were also happening…

God is dead. -Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead. -God
Neitzsche is God. -Dead