The Replicator Defense

I want to live in a Star Trek future.

A world free of poverty, hunger, where all the sovereign nations co-exist peacefully.

Universal Basic Income (UBI) would be a step in this direction. But when talking with my fellow trekkies who believe we are living in a world of scarcity they fall quickly onto The Replicator Defense.

“Of course they have no poverty or hunger in Star Trek. They have replicators. They can just make food out of thin air.”

If there is anything that upsets a nerd more it’s the type of statement that invokes the response.

“Ummm… Actually.”

Replicators and even Protein Re-sequencers existed after the abolishion of poverty. In Star Trek canon this is due to the drastic decrease in population after World War 3. With a high level of technology and a massive decrease in population resulted in the creation of a post-scarcity society, with little to no governing authority preventing a drunk, Zefram Cochrane, from re-purposing a nuclear missile into a warp capable spaceship. (for fun)

Replicators just make the system easier… they were not the catalyst for the change in the first place.

People have a hard time accepting that with current farming techniques we can sustainably feed the worlds population (7 billion) three times over before we run into a scarcity of land over the preservation of unique and local ecosystems. We don’t have a resource problem. We have a distribution problem. We have an incentive problem.

There is no automatic incentive for feeding and housing people.

Capitalist hotels serve good food so that they can get repeat customers and earn a profit.

Communist hostels serve people good food because they depend on the social benefit those patrons add to the commune. If John starves he won’t be able to raise the hogs that make my favorite bacon dish.

Feudalist inn’s serve as quarters for the lords militia, a way station for merchants and travelers. The Inn-keeper was born into keeping, maintaining, and services expected of his position or else face punishment from his lord.

Egalitarian societies have never grown large enough to require the creation of a hotel/hostel/inn.

UBI creates a floor of value on every individuals life, regardless of birth, skill, or ability. It quantifies the charitable notion that no one deserves to starve to death for lack of resources as having value in capitalist economy.

No American Citizen Deserves to potentially Starve to Death.

That is why I support the Freedom Dividend as proposed by Andrew Yang.

With love as always,