The Link Between "Star Trek" and the Newspaper Crisis

Actually, there are two links.

The first is in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. After the crew of the USS Enterprise time travels to 20th century San Francisco, Admiral James T. Kirk states: “They still use money. We’ll have to get some.”

If you’ve ever been curious about cash in the universe of Star Trek, this movie makes it clear that money isn’t used by the Federation. They don’t need it. In their 23rd century world of replicators, money is unnecessary — a holdover to the bygone eras of greed and corruption. Just ask any Ferengi.

The second takes place in the new Star Trek film which, as this article explains, traces its roots back to today’s economic, online and technological advances, and a theory by economist Paul Romer.

And just what does any of it have to do with newspapers — especially in light of today’s “discreet” meeting of newspaper execs to settle on ways and means to charge for their “intellectual” content?

To some people, the implications of Romer’s work are all too visible in the restructuring of the music industry and news business. Anything that can be digitally copied is nonrival and very difficult to exclude. So anyone whose job depends on the processing or delivery of information is feeling a great deal of stress right now about the difficulty of devising business models that thrive in a nonrival, nonexcludable operating environment.

Are we are at the beginning of an economic and worldwide adventure — a world without money?

As Spock would say, “Fascinating.”

Spock (Leonard Nimoy) clowns around with handcuffs and a gun. The newspaper headline reads “Spock Gets 2-Year Prison Term, Fine … for Anti-draft Activities” — referring to the June 1968 conviction of controversial pediatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock (the verdict was later reversed on appeal).

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