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Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  840 ratings  ·  145 reviews
Star Trek is set in an amazing utopian universe of faster-than-light travel, of “beam me up, Scotty,” and Vulcan salutes. It’s also a universe where war and poverty have been eradicated, money doesn’t exist, and work is indistinguishable from leisure. In this ground-breaking book, timed to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Star Trek’s first episode, Manu Saadia tak ...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Pipertext
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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May 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Tea, Earl Grey, hot.

So spoke Sir Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard on many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But economist and consummate Trekkie Manu Saadia explains how getting the Captain his tea was both simpler and more complicated than would be expected.

Exploring how the Star Trek universe existed in a post-scarcity society, where people no longer had to work to survive, Saadia shares his exceptional knowledge of both economic theory and all versions of the Star Trek sto
Joshua Gans
May 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book but for a niche audience. You need to have watched Star Trek. I mean all of it. And you need to be interested in economics. Satisfy that and you'll have a fun time with this. ...more
Kara Babcock
Money is one of humanity’s most clever and enduring technologies. It is a brilliant way of transferring value across vast distances and decentralizing our economy. Barter makes sense on a hyperlocal, neighbourly scale, but you can’t run a vast industrial economy on it. As Niall Ferguson chronicles in his excellent The Ascent of Money , increases in numismatic sophistication were vital in increasing the range of trade and our abilities to innovate and provide services to citizens. So it seems ...more
Jul 17, 2016 rated it liked it
As a long-time Star Trek fan who has a bit of interest in economics, I thought this was an interesting read. I wish that the author had spent a bit more time developing how a society would actually get to the point of not using money for anything. The part about the replicator making the cost of most goods drop to zero makes sense, but what about everything else? There are only so many seats at fancy restaurants or music concerts, only so many penthouse apartments, etc. These are things that we ...more
John Mosman
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
The author uses Star Trek Next Generation as an example of society without money - people can work or not work as they wish because the replicator creates any and all things that people would want. Through a lively discussion the author brings us to today (well worth the journey). The replicator is fiction however technology and robotics are essential doing the same thing, there will not be enough jobs in the future for our world population. Do we have more and more people who are unable to work ...more
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long-time fans of Asimov, Star Trek and related s-f will appreciate this rumination on Roddenberry's utopia. How improbable is the Trek scenario? Well, we have communicators and talking computers now don't we? So why not a society that has eliminated war, poverty and other problems and where work is optional because replicators make anything and everything for free? How do I vote for this agenda? Shall we call it the Landing Party? ...more
May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
This is a rather hard book to review because I wanted so so much to love it. The second I saw an internet article about the idea, I was on Inkshares to support (throw money at) the endeavor and asking my friends to do the same. My partner and I ended up pre-ordering two copies because we were worried that it wouldn't make its goal and be published.

Well, this book was not successful. Perhaps the reason is that this book not only needed a good editor (and perhaps something akin to a phd mentor/ad
Aaron Arnold
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
As a lifelong Star Trek fan who has been reading economists Brad DeLong (who provided the Introduction) and Paul Krugman (who provided technical commentary) for years and years, this was so well-targeted at me it might as well have been a photon torpedo (sorry). I couldn't have been more interested in an explanation of the economic logic of the post-scarcity paradise depicted in the best televised science fiction franchise of all time. While the commendably enthusiastic fandom is not matched by ...more
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I heard about this book via Scalzi's Big Idea feature, and it sounded awesome so I picked it up right away. The author set out to write the book he wanted to read about the future economics of the world set up in Star Trek, and I think he succeeded well with an interesting and informative book that not only covers several aspects of economics and sociopolitical norms in Star Trek but also relates them back to our own real world. He closes the book with some speculation as to how the seeds of Tre ...more
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice choice Mom! Thank you for the recommendation!

"Live long and prosper" thus alludes to another kind of prosperity, the kind that arises from the cultivation of the mind rather than from greed, that antiquated and vulgar practice. It is an active sentence. Instead of "long life and prosperity," it is a grammatical imperative directed at the recipient. Long life and prosperity do not befall you out of the heavens, they are not random outcomes from the lotteries of birth or of life. You must li
Apr 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Wendy by: Goodreads Giveaways
In an age where novels about future change are often ominous and apocalyptic "Trekonomics: The Economics of Star Trek" which I won through Goodreads Giveaways takes a hit television series and questions the possibility of creating a utopian society where logic and reasoning prevail, and there's an abundance, no currency, racial tolerance and mutual respect. With episodic summaries, personal opinions and cursory analysis Manu Saadia evaluates the economic ideas inherent in the Star Trek universe ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Trekonomics is an accessible, engaging, and discussion-provoking look at the economics of Star Trek. Manu Saadia starts with a look at how Trek’s utopian society is built on a post-scarcity economic system where everyone shares in the abundance.

Saadia connects today’s technological change, economic and social trends with what we see on the show (pre-Discovery) and I think even less hard-core fans should be able to follow along for the discussions about replicators, robotic labour, and more.

May 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Backed this book on ink shares based on the subject matter, really wanted to like it and thought of it as a companion to The ethics of Star Trek. Unfotunatley, the book doesn't go in depth into economics analysis, instead, it constantly flits between episode summaries, the writer's opinion, and summaries of economic ideas. This books tries to be a lot of things and the ideas with potential are given short shrift because the book lacks focus and structure.

The author's passion and knowledge of bo
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
As I enjoy virtually any intellectual discussion of Star Trek, I was very surprised to find Trekonomics generally uninteresting. Perhaps this is because a significant portion of the book is not actually about Star Trek. The author frequently discusses a general economic principal at length and then draws only a tangential connection between that idea and Star Trek, e.g., by connecting it to a single episode. He also includes details of how he developed an interest in sci-fi and devotes a lengthy ...more
Steve Rainwater
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was ok
I wrote a lengthy review of this book in my blog. The short version is that the book is not so good if you're expecting to learn a lot about the economics of Star Trek.

If what you wanted to learn about was the author's favorite characters, episodes, and quotes from Star Trek - then maybe you'll like it. Or if you're curious about how the author got started reading Isaac Asimov books or what he thinks of Elon Musk, or - well, you get the idea. It's a very short book and most of it has little to
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well-done, with several good lessons. Love how this book tackles everything from what a post-scarcity world looks like, to automation and its potential impact on work, to what work means when it's no longer just about trying to make a living, but instead about honor and worth.

Trekonomics is best summarized by its end translation of "to live long and prosper": "It is how you live that matters, not how long."
Jun 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars

A trek nerd will detect several flaws, though the author's interpretive arguments and extensive delving through the canon deserve applause because they may will certainly shape how future writer's approach the concept of utopian trekonomics.
Neil McGarry
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
There were parts of this book that were engaging, but in the end, Trekonomics did not deliver what I was hoping for: an examination upon just how a post-scarcity economy would actually function.
Anthony Friscia
Sep 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: economics
A fun book, if a little glib, that wedded my love of sci-fi and my dilettantism in economics.
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
By Manu Saadia

This book is a decent but not magnificent exploration of the economics of the Star Trek universe. The premise is intriguing and there certainly is a need for such a book-- the author states that he had read so many other books on Star Trek, but none about the economics, and thus wrote the book he always wanted to read. Star Trek is different from many other science fiction settings in that it is utopian, or at least is moving towards utopia, and The Federation exists in
Bryan Cebulski
Apr 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
While not actually a great primer on the intricacies of economics in Star Trek, I found it a great source for inspiration in imagining a post-scarcity future. Trekonomics brings up a lot of solid observations on culture in a moneyless economy, the implications of technologies like the replicator, and what human drives and impulses would look like sans capitalist pursuit. It doesn't delve far enough into these topics in an economic research sense to earn its thesis, which is that a Trek-like econ ...more
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Economics of Star trek is an issue that's poped up on many an internet chatroom and occasionally seeps into Public discourse.

"Wait, they don't have any money? How does that even work?" Is the usual opening statement and it's honnestly a fascinating topic.

Trekenomics takes this topic to task and, for the most part, does it justice. The book is a celebration of Sci-Fi (not just Star trek) and it's influence on real society in general. Sci-fi like Star trek can help guide the direction of real
Marian Alexander
Nov 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2019
I like the concept of this book. It’s a fun intellectual exercise: What are the economics of the Star Trek universe? How are these principles demonstrated and what can we extrapolate about the economic organization of the Federation? The author puts forth some interesting ideas, but the execution is lacking. The writing is uneven. I would have liked more attention to the question of what we can do today to move towards a post-scarcity economy.
Still, it’s a fun/geeky read.
Lis Carey
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We don't ordinarily think much about the economics of Star Trek when watching an episode or a movie, but when we step back from the stories themselves, it's a pretty interesting question. How does the Federation's economy work? Although there are references to a currency called simply "credits" scattered through The Original Series, that's later retconned to "just a figure of speech." As explicitly stated in Next Generation and Deep Space 9, the Federation operates without money.

How does that wo
Tammy Batson
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Get your inner Econ geek on with this investigation on how Star Trek works without prices and money. Works well for increased understanding on what our society may need to find utopia.
Wesley Fox
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Trekonomics is unique and fascinating for its novel perspective on my favorite science fiction franchise. Although I took issue with a couple things, I am glad the author Manu Saadia chose to take on the topic, and I enjoyed most of this book.

Trekonomics examines the economic system of the United Federation of Planets, from original series to DS9 and Voyager. Unlike most academics who write on pop culture topics, Saadia also nerds out on the subject-matter. He is a bona fide Trekkie, and it come
Jun 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
There were some excellent pieces of analysis here: namely on the evolution of Ferengi society through the run of Deep Space Nine. Overall though while it was certainly thought provoking I found myself in disagreement with the text as it carried on so that by the conclusion where Saadia literally throws out that line: "A rising tide lifts all boats..." I thought: this is not Star Trek's economy. For one I can't imagine Data, or Spock looking through the computer records on late 20th/early 21st ce ...more
Dan Carey
Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed, non-fiction
Even for the non-Trek-obsessed, this book makes for thought-provoking speculation. It's not so mired in the formalisms of economics as to be opaque or boring. Nor is it so mired in Star Trek trivia as to put off the casual watcher. Instead, it is an exploration of what a post-scarcity economy would mean both economically and socially. ...more
John  Mihelic
Jun 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Saadia’s “Trekonomics” is one of the most interesting books I have read in a while. I like it because it give context to the post scarcity economics that we are facing through something that is culturally familiar – the world Gene Roddenberry created and that was extended off of his work in the world of Star Trek. It is almost as if it already happened, though we know the world of Trek to be in the future.

That’s not entirely true. There is much of the world of Trek that is left out. The original
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Saadia argued that the economics of Star Trek are a post-scarcity moneyless economy where individuals devote themselves to the betterment of themselves and humanity. It argues that without class structure and with everything provided for, the brightest will no longer be held back by circumstances of poverty, education, and power structures. He argued that Star Trek systematically argued, vagueally at times, why such a system is not utopian but would work, as everything is provided for by technol ...more
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