As I watch old Star Trek episodes on H & I, I'm not sure what to make of Kirk's frequent references to money: is he being humorous or had the writers not yet decided the Federation doesn't use money?

Episodes like "The Apple" and a few prior to that, Kirk tells Chekhov he's earned his pay for the week. In "The Apple" in particular, Kirk asks Spock how much Starfleet has invested in him. Spock actually begins to rattle off a large number, but Kirk stops him before he can say "dollars" or "credits" or whatever. Spock's line makes it hard to think Kirk's question was meant humorously. It also occurs to me that Spock could be tallying up man-hours or some form of energy units.

I am aware of at least one non-canon source saying Starfleet can provide officers with money for dealing with non-Federation people as required for a particular mission. This seems like a reasonable extrapolation, but I doubt the writers were thinking of such details when writing the first season of Star Trek.

P.S. I'm also wondering if anyone knows all the "heroes" and "icons" clips used on the H & I promo, I'm pretty sure there's a DS9 "Second Skin" clip in there, but Odo saying "and" could come from just about any DS9 episode. I'm not sure if that's an appropriate question to ask here. If it's not, please ignore this postscript.

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    See also this question from today on Movies & TV.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 5, 2016 at 22:54
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    Throughout TOS there were also occasional references to "credits," presumably a form of currency, taken at starbases and recreational facilities (for example, the bar in The Trouble with Tribbles).
    – fluffy
    Jan 2, 2017 at 2:11

1 Answer 1


The change likely occurred during the writing of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

There were explicit references to money being used in the 23rd Century in The Original Series, such as in "An Errand of Mercy":

KIRK: The Federation has invested a great deal of money in our training. They're about due for a small return. We have two hours with which to do it in.

Therefore, there was indeed a change in how the writers portrayed the economics of Star Trek, which takes us to the when part of the question.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment at which money was dropped by writers of the various Star Trek properties. But I suspect it happened during the writing of the fourth film involving the original cast, The Voyage Home. This film featured the first direct comparisons with humans of the 20th Century since TOS, leading to the following bit of dialogue in which Kirk asserts that money is no longer used in his time:

McCOY: It's a miracle these people ever got out of the Twentieth Century....

KIRK: They're still using money. We've got to find some.

I cannot locate an earlier instance in which the idea of not using money in the time of Star Trek is asserted so explicitly.

  • I remember seeing some quote or reference to roddenbury in regards to tng about no currency in the federation now ill have to see if that exists.
    – Himarm
    Sep 6, 2016 at 0:18
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    @Himarm : I recall that as well, but that comment would have been made a few years after Voyage Home.
    – Praxis
    Sep 6, 2016 at 0:29

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