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Thread: Technics and civilisation

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Lark's Avatar
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    Jun 2009

    Default Technics and civilisation

    I was wondering what everyones opinions about the relationship between technology and politics or civilisation are, more specifically whether or not replicators or something like them would make something like star fleet and the federation more or less likely.

    Poul Anderson wrote a story about the last republican and the last communist in the US meeting and drowning each other by accident in a confrontation which no one else really understood or had any sympathy for because both ideas, in fact any large scale idea or political order, had become obsolete to them and a big factor in bringing this about were revolutions in energy technology permitting individuals and small groups of neighbours to go and live their own lives independently of anyone else. Its not exactly replicators because I think they are still farming and artisan communities, although perhaps that just became the life they wanted to live, but they have no interest in travelling even to the next town over but they can with small shared "flitters" which sound like solar powered helicopters. A curious upshot of it all is that people rever people who have books in their homes because books arent published anymore, there's no larger scale industries anymore and there's nothing like PCs or tablets, probably because they werent thought of but also because there's no collective power grid anymore.

    This is in sharp contrast to the other post-scarcity society in Star Trek, although I suppose that with replicators, then the additions of holodecks and those tablets which give them access to all the books ever published why would anyone be bothered to do anything?

    Either scenario actually appears plausible to me but I wonder what everyone else thought, also would it be determined by the technology or would the way the technology was used be determined by other factors, like typology, including extroversion and introversion?

  2. #2
    Senior Member Array
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    Aug 2011


    I thought that replicators were the fundamental component of the post-scarcity society in how the total EROEI of the final replicated product was extremely high in contrast to traditional methods. The price of everything plummeted through the floor and anybody could subsequently live in luxury. In such a society there would not need to be socialism or communism; capitalism can remain the de facto political model but is pretty much redundant due to the high degree of affluence and equality at very low costs.

    I have not read Anderson's work but if I would to hazard a guess I would say that the societies have a different orientation and this is the only meaningful difference between the two is the structure of government: Star Trek has developed a top-down system whilst Anderson's world is bottom-up. Star Trek has a centralised government with the individuals receiving the scraps, but the scraps are so large the people are happy. This potentially inefficient socialist system comes with the benefit that their society is interconnected and united. Anderson's world has many groups rising up and growing in their own way without restriction or interdependence but at the expense of unity and outside ideas.

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