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The Borg
witchy poo
sodyinoz wrote in startrek
Star Trek in many ways reflects cold-war North American politics. It's all about individuality against the collective: the US style-libertarian political view vs. the evil collective of socialism.

Agree? Disagree?

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In a way, it does, but I've always believed that the Federation represents pure communism with its lack of capitalism, money, and really any inherent personal responsibility, and the other races represent the U.S. point of view. The only thing lacking with the Federation is a desire to grow like the Soviet Union did.

More like democratic vs authoritarian, the federation is hardly a libertarian capitalist utopia.

Ah! Capitalism is founded on the decisions and actions of the individual ... do you think the Federation based on the principle of the individual is consistent with a society without the profit motive?

There is more to being an individual than profit, and there is more to the federation than being founded on the actions of the individual. The federation, much like starfleet, is a mixture of social and individual focuses.

"You see... money doesn't exist in the 24th century."
"No money? You mean you don't get paid.</b>"
"The acquisition of wealth is no longer the driving force in our lives. We wish to better ourselves and the rest of humanity."


Sounds pretty socialist to me. I have YET to meet a die-hard libertarian/capitalist that was interested in bettering humanity more than their own pocketbooks.

Yes, capitalism is only about the accumulation of capital and any connection to a "principal of the individual" or just about anything else is pure speculation.

Re: THIS.

(Anonymous)
Ah! But what about Seven-of-Nine's pursuit of individuality in Voyager? :o)

What of it? She was a human trying to find herself, and as far as I saw it had no connection to capitalism. I think you for some reason thing that individualism = capitalism and collectivism = communism when there are many individualistic and collective aspects to each.

I know it's more complex than individualism = capitalism and collectivism = communism ... but the original post refers to cold-war politics in North America where the individual and capitalism was portrayed as opposing the collectivism of communism. A simplistic approach to politics, but that's how the message had to be when you were dealing with political concepts to the masses.

But if you want to contrast it with old cold war scenarios, you should not really bring in 7 of 9 as that was well after the cold war was over.

Honestly, the writers messed up the entire thing when they switched from having a borg collective to suddenly having a borg queen. They went from something that could be a metaphor to something that was basically a slave race to one person, the queen. Heck, they even had the borg queen talk about how she wanted to help 7 also find some independence and individual strength to be a better borg, talk about mixed metaphors.

You also have to remember that it is easy to get mixed up with propaganda from both sides of this equation. People who are pro-collectivist in the past have said they are selfless and often turned out to be very selfish, and people who are pro-capitalist might talk about the emphasis on the individual while using old boys networks, collusion, and other very communal mechanisms.

If you read Marx, he talks tons about how his view of communism would allow each individual to spend most of their time doing their own thing, as opposed to the capitalist machine that forces you to only do the jobs available. On the other hand, Adam Smith talked a great deal about protecting collective property and valuing the greater good. How these systems actually work is separate from their theory, which again is separate from their connected discourses.

I agree with your analysis :o)

I guess my experience has been blurred by the Australian socio-economic experience as it transitioned from a mixed economy to a more capitalist country. The economic change from a highly regulated economy with high levels of government ownership to the opposite has seen a change also in societal values. My generation is old enough to remember the old economy and is still somewhat collective in its values; whereas the younger generations believe more generally in less government controls and are more consumerist and individually oriented.

Perhaps you could answer a specific Star Trek question, which has troubled me. In First Contact, the Borg Queen is killed in the past, yet she is killed as well at the end of the Voyager saga - is there not some inconsistency?

Yes, basically the borg queen grooms new queens to take her place in the event of her death and 7 was one of these possible new borg queens. That, is why the Queen said she let 7 go on purpose to voyager, she needed to learn some independence to be a future queen. The queen can also upload herself and have a new body cloned if she has not been completely destroyed.

I want an extension of the borg civil war idea, where a group gets a real collective going but it would be more like an anarchist syndicate where different groups who want to do different things split off and may come back or not. Of course, they might not be the best fighting force, but with their own minds they may in fact be more inventive.

But yes, in answer to your original question I do believe the borg were originally designed to be a cold war analogy that quickly strayed. I just always find these thing interesting though as Marx often called capialism an unthinking machine where its workers were drones chained to their machines to churn out products. Of course, Marx also compared capitalism to zombies and vampires, not dissimilar to the borg in ways.

I did a thread about this a while

Picard is the ONLY Trek character to ever say they dont care about money anymore

every other trek character has brought up money

The Federation was originally intended to represent a socialistic state :) But I think the Borg express a fear of 'communism' quite well.

I'd love to have 15 minutes with Marx and Engles to discuss it! :)

Yeah, but they would have to watch the Borg episodes of TNG. :P I bet Marx would have loved Star Trek! :D

Best of Both Worlds, both parts, were my second favorite eps of the whole series... I'd go for that.

(Deleted comment)
Riiiiight... when the Federation doesn't use money, doesn't need money, and everyone works just for the sheer hell of it.

If anything, Star Trek says the best thing is socialism.

Then explain Seven of Nine's pursuit of individual from the collective of the Borg. Her pursuit of individuality is actively embraced in Voyager.

(Deleted comment)
Borg isn't even collective, its strict authoritarian and you can have a democratic collective.

(Deleted comment)
www.politicalcompass.org is a useful tool for explaining the differences.

I think the biggest part of Seven's pursuit of individuality was to get through the biological portion. She's like a severed organ trying to move on. She had to overcome the biological need the Borg built into her to be a part of the collective, so it seemed to me to be more of a fight against addiction. Her references to having all the voices in her head, then everything suddenly being quiet make me think that way.

The Federation trying to be socialism

the borg are microsoft- gobbling up and assimilating other technologies

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