If there is no money being used inside the Federation, how do they distribute goods or determine how much one can own, eat, or possess?

As an example, someone who really likes food would want to consume more than the "average" person and therfore his montly spendings on food would be much higher (let's throw away really specific and weird situations and focus on general rule). Today, we'd work to get money, we get money and have it to be more or less able to buy food, more elaborate living quarters, or other essentials and luxuries.

How do they handle this in the Star Trek universe, if there is no money to mediate that distribution of goods? What prevents one person from getting much more food than an "average" one, while working much less than him?


1 Answer 1


There is nothing stopping a 'really fat guy' from getting more food than a really skinny guy. There is nothing, in the Federation, stopping anyone from getting as much food as they need or want.

Star Trek, TNG in particular, is set in a post-scarcity economy in terms of the essentials of life, thanks in large part to replicator technology making food provisions and other life necessities trivial to come by.

People in this future no longer work to earn their means to live - they work for self-improvement and self-actualization, and what we see (at least in Starfleet, since the show's primary focus is there) is a society that rewards merit and hard work with opportunities rather than wealth. The distribution of essential resources is a solved problem.

This is referenced numerous times in the series.

"A lot has changed in the past 300 years. People are no longer obsessed with the accumulation of things. We've eliminated hunger, want, the need for possessions. We've grown out of our infancy." The Neutral Zone, TNG


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: The economics of the future are somewhat different. You see, money doesn't exist in the 24th century.

Lily Sloane: No money? You mean, you don't get paid?

Captain Jean-Luc Picard: The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force of our lives. We work to better ourselves and the rest of humanity. Actually, we're all like yourself and Dr. Cochrane. - Star Trek: First Contact

  • 1
    Per my answer here fattening food seems to be illegal.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:04
  • @Richard it seems not that its illegal, more like replicators just dont make it, so for people living planet side access to"real" food is still available which i assume would include bad foods, as trio has actually eaten real chocolate, But its easy to get fat eating anything, more calories in/then out means weight gain, even if its "healthy foods"
    – Himarm
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:08
  • Perhaps not illegal, but the ship asks Troi for authorisation before allowing her real chocolate. Note that the replicator evidently gives out food that's delicious but calorifically balanced.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:13
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    @Richard It doesn't ask for a command code or anything, it just asked if she wanted to deviate from the default. It's the replicator equivalent of an "are you sure?" popup, which makes sense when you're specifically asking for the less healthy option.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Jun 9, 2015 at 21:57
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    Post-scarcity is just handwavy nonsense, for example there are a finite number of places at Starfleet Academy. Why not just give everyone who wants one their own starship with a holo-crew? Oh because some things are scarce after all.
    – Gaius
    Commented Jun 10, 2015 at 11:23

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