RE: [OPE] Star Trek and Labour Theory of Value.

Date: Mon Nov 03 2008 - 22:37:16 EST

Hi David, Terry, and Alejandro:
A few random comments:
1. The technology you are remembering is the 'replicator':
< This
_did_ require labor, though, not only to produce the
replicators (unless replicators could replicate replicators)
but also for the energy required to operate them -
powered by the 'warp drive' engine. To keep the energy
coming, the labor of 'Scotty' and the engineering crew
was required.
2. A variation on the 'no human labor' theme was the
extended production, reproduction, and sale of Tribbles
(in "The Trouble With Tribbles" episode). That might be seen,
truly, as the production of commodities by means of
commodities with little or no human labor required:
the tribbles were (quite literally) self-reproducing.
3. I have very few memories of any kind of production
taking place in "Star Trek" episodes. An exception was
the coal mining operation in "The Devil in the Dark" episode.
This was one of my favorite episodes because the 'alien'
- unlike most episodes - did not resemble 'humanoids' and
was more imaginative. The 'alien' was a 'Horta' - a rock eating
being who killed humans, it turns out, to protect her young
and her species from extinction. Even where there were
'Federation' colonies, the colonists tended to be there for
scientific research rather than for production (but a certain
amount of production happened in some episodes, if I recall
correctly, because the colonists sometimes provided for their
own needs).
4. To the extent that capitalists were featured, they tended
to be unsavory merchant capitalists like Cyrano Jones (the
seller of the tribbles) and the Feregni (e.g. 'Quark' from "Deep
Space Nine') who made a religion of "free enterprise." These
'capitalists' had the reputation of only being concerned with profit
in the form of 'buying low and selling high'. They were essentially
amoral, unethical beings. DS9 itself was largely devoted to trading -
but, once again, production didn't play much of a visible role (indeed,
theft played a larger role in the scripts).
5. The "Borgs" (from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Voyager") made for
interesting science fiction: cyborgs committed to perfection through
forced assimilation. Their oft-stated saying "Resistance is Futile"
echoed the policies of rmany epressive regimes on Earth in our time and
before. What is the human labor content of Borgs? After assimilation,
don't they cease to be human beings capable of human labor?
In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Mon Nov 3 22:43:49 2008

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