We are definitely the Ferengi, at least us who live in the western world. The need for money, no, the addiction to it, and the need to make profit wherever
and whenever possible seem to be symptomatic for societies based upon the European model. Of course, one could say, it is not the addiction to money itself
but to all the things money can buy. But then: Is it not somehow dramatic how our society and the Star Trek Federation differ?
Federation economy is not based upon money but upon the urge to improve oneself. Does this make any sense? Of course: It is in a way some kind of communism, but without the elements of dictatorship, world revolution, discrimination, state-atheism and anti-intellectuality (I have lived in the GDR, so I definitely have an idea of what communism based on Marx, Lenin and Stalin would be like). Federation ideology is pure communism paired with individualism: "Logic dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." But also vice versa: The needs of one single individual are as important as the needs of the community, because a community consists of individuals. This would be a model of society that is much more complex and difficult than that of today, but it would be much more effective. In a way it parallels the foundations of Christianity.
We have not arrived at this point yet, today's economy is based on greed and it is not really trade but war, fought with other means, but business is war,
nothing else. It is aggressive and does not care if there are losers in the society, and we pay a high price: Unemployment, poverty, destruction of the
environment, discrimination against minorities, racism, sexism, a constant need for lawyers and therapists...
Star Trek Ferengi often seem to be a little bit silly (except for Rom and even Quark, who have been in contact with the Federation and Starfleet for
much too long), but isn't that true for today's industrialized humans? We do not even care what wonders might wait for us, we do not even seek exploration
and discovery all the time. We have potential, as shown in the ensuing Borg article, but we still have much more work to do to stay true to our own self.
May 3rd, 1998