ST TNG "The Last Outpost":

KAYRON: You see? They are demented. Their values are insane. You cannot believe the business opportunities they have destroyed.

LETEK: Proof of their barbarism. They adorn themselves with gold, a despicable use of a valuable metal. And they shamelessly clothe their females.

MORDOC: Inviting others to unclothe them. The very depth of perversion.

ST DS9 "Little Green Men":

QUARK: Dollars? Never heard of them. Don't you have any gemstones or precious minerals?

DENNING: You mean like gold?

QUARK: Gold? Gold is good.

DENNING: How much gold are we talking about?

DS9 "Who Mourns for Morn":

QUARK: Beautiful, isn't it? And the way it picks up the light I wonder who came up with the idea of suspending liquid latinum inside worthless bits of gold?

DAX: Probably somebody who got tired of making change with an eyedropper. Are you going to play or not?

DS9 "Who Mourns for Morn":

QUARK: That can't be! There's no latinum in these bricks!

ODO: What?

QUARK: Someone's extracted all the latinum. There's nothing here but worthless gold.

ODO: And it's all yours.

QUARK: No! No! No!

DS9 "Who Mourns for Morn":

(Morn looks around, picks up a glass and regurgitates a drop of glistening mercury-like liquid.)

QUARK: Of course. Your second stomach. You've been keeping it in your second stomach all these years? That's a lot of latinum. No wonder your hair fell out.

(Morn gives Quark the glass.)

QUARK: For me? That must be a hundred bricks worth. I don't know what to say. Thanks. Not that I didn't earn it after all you put me through. If you ever want to set me up again, feel free. You know, you and I should consider doing business together. Two enterprising gentlemen like us could do all right for ourselves. Take that gold dust of yours. It doesn't have to be a total loss. I hear there're some primitive cultures who consider it quite valuable.

This is somewhat confusing. My question is: What is the value of Gold in the 24th century? Is it still considered a precious metal?


2 Answers 2


It's quite worthless

As per Memory Alpha:

Though once considered very valuable, by the 23rd century the Federation considered [gold] almost worthless, except for decorative and functional purposes. (TOS: "Catspaw"; TNG: "The Last Outpost", "Time's Arrow"; VOY: "Muse")

However, that is the Federation; the Ferengi still considered it valuable up until fairly late in the 24th century:

Dialogue in TNG: "The Last Outpost" and "The Perfect Mate" suggested that, at least as late as 2368, Ferengi considered gold valuable. In "Little Green Men", Quark says to a 20th-century Human that "gold is good" while discussing what humans could trade for advanced Ferengi technology. However, by the time of "Who Mourns for Morn?", Quark described gold as "worthless", seemingly contradicting the earlier assessment that gold had "good" trade value.

The reason for this, as explained in Philipp's answer above, is probably the replicator

One explanation for this apparent devaluation of gold was the fact that the Ferengi had only recently made First Contact with the Federation. Replicator technology, if introduced to a gold-based economy, could send markets plunging. This may have happened to the Ferengi, who would have experienced a massive gold market crash as a result. Then again, gold may have lost value for some other reason. The comment in "Little Green Men" may be in the context of a pre-replicator economy, especially since he stated his intention not to go back to his own time, remaining in the past and ruling the Earth within a year.

  • 3
    Nice work @N_Soong, very complete! +1 I just placed a comment below the other answer that's very similar to the end of your answer (without having seen it in your answer). One of us is using his synaptic scanner again... ;-)
    – Praxis
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 2:50
  • 4
    In "Little Green Men" Quark said "gold is good" because most likely it was the only resource humans could've given them in sufficient weight - "gold is good" as in "we'll be satisfied in half your planet's supply" - it's like paying for a LED TV with quarters
    – Petersaber
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 9:37
  • 1
    Kind of like what happened to aluminum: slate.com/articles/health_and_science/elements/features/2010/… Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 22:05
  • 3
    Also, @Petersaber, Ferengi understand fiat currencies. Offering Quark a million greenbacks would be pointless, it depends on the full faith and credit of a government he doesn't want to be bound to. Gold, as a commodity valued in pre-replicator society, would be fungible, useful with all nations on Earth, almost all cultures, without worrying about fiddly things like currency conversion. Finally, commodities cannot be traced. You can't PROVE that brick of gold came from the USSR, not once it's remelted into a new mold.
    – Zoey Green
    Commented Dec 29, 2016 at 22:02

Thanks to replicator technology, most common elements can be created from energy, making them practically worthless as a trade commodity. Gold is one of these.

The only resources which still have value are those which can not be replicated, like Dilithium or Latinum.

  • 2
    Well, sure, we know that. So what's the story with the scripts quoted above that talk about gold as if it's valuable? Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 0:39
  • 2
    @ErnestFriedman-Hill Bad writing. Star trek writers often forget the implications of replicator technology.
    – Philipp
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 0:41
  • 8
    @ErnestFriedman-Hill : With respect to the "Little Green Men" episode of DS9, Quark said earlier in the episode that, if they couldn't get back to their own time, he would stay on Earth and attempt to rule it within a year, using his knowledge of the future. If that was indeed his plan, then gold would have been valuable to him as it was a precious commodity on Earth in the 20th Century.
    – Praxis
    Commented Aug 16, 2015 at 2:35
  • @Praxis Yes, exactly. Ferengi are traders, so whatever is valuable they will be trying to trade and acquire, whether it's gold, latium, or self sealing stembolts.
    – user11521
    Commented Oct 12, 2016 at 16:32

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