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I know that TNG was made during the end of the Cold War and the parallels between the United Federation of Planets and the 'good capitalist' society of America are striking.

That got me thinking: were the Borg (UFOP's mortal enemy) intended by the writers to represent a communist society - assimilation and the loss of individuality, all succumbing to the will of the one (dictator)?

I'm not asking for opinions, but what the writers/directors/producers/actors had to say about this subject, if they said anything at all.

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    Although you specify that you're not asking for opinions, this question is highly subjective. Among other things, answers will depend on the definition used of "communist state." The rough definition you gave may not match what the producers/writers had in mind... Given that all 5 of your recent questions have the same issue, I think you should consider slowing down on asking so many opinion-based questions. – Ward Apr 7 '14 at 5:18
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    I really don't get why this guy gets so much heat for his questions. Most of them would be easy to answer with a canonical source. Granted, those might be hard to find, but that doesn't render the question useless. – LarissaGodzilla Apr 7 '14 at 5:43
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    The Borg were certainly compared to communism at the time. When I was at university studying international relations there were many heated arguments over whether the Borg more accurately represented China or the USSR (I usually responded that their pale skin made them resemble Scots, to the annoyance of my Scottish professor). Whether or not this was intentional on the part of the show's writing staff is debatable and unproven. It does seems suspicious that the first attempt at creating an enemy for the Federation, the Ferengi, were blatantly capitalist, and their replacement is a hive mind. – James Sheridan Apr 7 '14 at 7:54
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    I find it hard to consider the Federation (or at least humanity) "capitalist" when they've eliminated money. – Brian S Apr 7 '14 at 14:36
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    You have it backwards - the Federation is supposed to be the utopian Communist state (no money, everyone wears a uniform, etc). – Gaius Sep 13 '14 at 8:05
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No. They were originally conceived as an insectoid race, the remnants of that storyline you can see as the space bugs in the episode Conspiracy.

Budget constraints kept the Borg from being depicted as insectoids as Maurice Hurley had originally intended, though the hive concept survived to become the overwhelming group mind known as the Collective. Q-Who

It's also mentioned that the impetus upon introducing what would become the Borg was simply a new enemy for our heroes to fight.

This was intended to lead into a series of episodes that would have introduced the Borg as a main villain in the wake of the Ferengi's complete failure to meet with audience expectations of a major Starfleet antagonist. Q-Who

It's pretty clear that later stories about Borg, at least on TNG, while dealing with a multitude of themes, came about simply building upon what was started in Q-Who, and then building on what came later. You have this implacable new enemy you want to see again but ultimately without a direct foil for the heroes. So you make Picard the bad guy and send him on a wave of destruction, only stopped in the nick of time. So then you've done the ultimate Borg show, you can't top that. So you don't, you make a small personal story with just one Borg and give it humanity. And so on. Until you get to First Contact, where you change them into space zombies or vampires or something.

If anything, I feel the utopia of the Federation represents the idealistic worldview of a post-scarcity hybrid democratic/communist state. The Borg don't really represent a political ideology, more like some kind of societal change of the ultimate integration of self and technology, possibly what writers were prognosticating at the time all the way back when, but the future we seem edging towards.

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It's possible. While the primary motive for their introduction was plot development, as sumbuddyx mentions, the striking parallels warrant discussion.

The Borg are the embodiment of pure collectivism. Human communist states have thus far only managed to seize mere property for the collective use (killing about 100 million people in the process, per the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation). Even the totalitarian hellhole of George Orwell's Oceania only controls what you dare to say. In the Borg, your entire life is rewritten for The Borg Collective's benefit. Even your thoughts only serve to advance the collective's hive mind.

Through this, "From each according to his ability, to each according to the need" is realized to the greatest conceivable extent. Each Borg citizen's brain is actually (involuntarily) reprogrammed to use his body for the collective good. Their individuality wiped away, Borg drones expend their labor and their lives for other drones, until they cannot. And the collective takes its own life through them, seeking to grow.

The result is Star Trek's "most viscerally terrifying villain".

Given the broad similarities, it's certainly possible that the writers consciously wrote some communist elements into the Borg as the story developed.

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That is exactly what I thought. The Borg's first encounter with the Federation is a perfect example of the difference between Socialism (The Federation) and Communism (The Borg). A lot of people don't know the difference between the two and, for me, this was the perfect explanation. I don't think that is want was intended by the writers but I don't really care I really like this interpretation.

  • This appears to be a comment on one of the answers, and not an answer to the question. – Blackwood Feb 14 '17 at 0:48
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I didn't think that the Borg represented communism. I thought that they were supposed to represent Satan, and that Q represented God. I think I originally read this in one of the ST:TNG official manuals. Especially in Voyager, this seemed to be a recurring theme. When Janeway wants to fight Species 8472, she talks about "making a deal with the devil"--ie, the Borg. Then, Q comes to Janeway and wants her to have his child, shades of God and the Virgin Mary.

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    -1; The only religious relation between Q, the Borg, and any member(s) of Starfleet is in Tapestry when Picard has a near-death experience and Q claims to be God (or Picard hallucinates Q claiming to be God). "A deal with the devil" is a common idiom/trope. – Brian S Sep 12 '14 at 19:19

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