|2008 has been a year of financial crisis unparalleled since the Stock Market Crash of 1929 such that the National Bureau of Economic Research has pronounced the recession in the US to be the third longest since the Great Depression. It has been worldwide and affected all levels of society from national economies to retirees and it has the potential to be as devastating as a world war!
All is not doom-and-gloom though as governments work globally and nationally to coordinate a response that reflects a rejection of the "every-man-for-himself" lifeboat mentality of past years in favour of international coordination.
When Gene Roddenberry created Star Trek in the mid '60s, he specifically gave it an optimistic world-view of a united Earth without national boundaries. The Starship Enterprise was the product of a flourishing society that had conquered the problems of racial conflict, cultural intolerance, poverty and famine. How could we achieve such a paradise and what, one wonders, would the economic luminaries of the 24th century view our current situation and who would these "three wise men" of 24th economics be?
Star Trek has always had a commitment towards thought-provoking science fiction and one of the things that makes this possible is the way that it's fictional universe is a macrocosm of the tensions and stereotypes that exist in our present, real-life world. It is peopled by alien cultures that represent extremes of attitudes that are part of the human psyche, such as the warlike and aggressive Klingons and the Ferengis, whose culture is based on commercial gain. Who better to give you a different take on our current financial situation that a Ferengi a Klingon and a high-ranking architect of the United Federation of Planet's economy?
The Ferengi Viewpoint from Gelt the Ferengi
Noel Green's Ferengi News website was my inspiration for today's present. A small business owner, he has definite opinions on commerce and economics and delivers them using the analogy of the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (a full copy of which is on his website).
The Klingon Viewpoint from Kash the Klingon
The Klingon ethic of honour, old-fashioned and irrelevant to the hedonistic world of generation "X" or "Y", is a basic psychological concept of self-image and pride. If your self-image as an honourable person helps you to lead an ethical existence then can it be wrong? Kapact of House Abukoff and Kirok of L'Stok have collaborated on this translation from the works of the Corporate Raider, Kash the Klingon!
The Federation Viewpoint from Honoré de Monet, Minister of Commerce, UFP
Another avenue for learning about the real world through the fictional Star Trek universe has always been the Academy of Starfleet International. These are a series of fan-run correspondence courses on subjects ranging from Andorian studies in the Institute of Alien Studies to the College of Economics of the Institute of Arts whose director, Commander Jan Sleigh of the USS New Hope, gave us a scholarly interview with the UFP's Minister of Commerce, Honoré de Monet. Her work is hosted by fellow SFA director and CO of the USS Atlantis, Cpt. Jayden Tyronian, our website guru from last year!