Would the world ever have a single, universal currency? Before you jump ahead and say no, let me explain and digress at the same time.
While reading through news articles a couple of months ago, I came across Elon Musk’s plan to colonize Mars.
The money nerd in me got me thinking What currency would they use on Mars? Think about it? One of the biggest challenges (or threats) to banking cartels would be the currency of choice when humanity expands to borders beyond our planet Earth.
Here is what Wikipedia cites regarding the Federation of Planets whose official currency is defined as a Federation Credit.
While the Wiki brief does mention the currency, here is what it has to say about its economics:
The Federation has been portrayed as an economic utopia. In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Dark Frontier", Tom Paris describes it as the "New World Economy", which began in the late 22nd century and eventually made money obsolete, as does Jean-Luc Picard while explaining the timeline to Lily Sloane in Star Trek: First Contact.
The first mention of the Federation not using money came in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, where Kirk (coming from 2286) says "these people still use money" upon arriving at 20th-century Earth, and says "We don't." when asked whether or not he and his crew use money in the 23rd century. In "The Neutral Zone", Picard tries to explain to cryogenically preserved people from the late 20th century that 24th century economics are quite different and money as they know it is not used or needed in the Federation. In Star Trek: First Contact, he gives a similar speech to Lily.
Money, the man made system of IOUs ceases to exist in the coming years. Man it seems has achieved more than a count of artificially produced wealth.
How would wealth in the future be measured? Presumably by the accumulation of natural resources, or even human (and alien?) resources? But by no measure would wealth be measured in Dollars or some other currency unit.
The vastness of space, forces man made credits or wealth units go to zero. Gold may have value here on Earth, but what if you discover a planet larger than Jupiter made of gold – how does that play out?
Diamonds may be DeBeers prized product, what if you discover an asteroid belt with diamonds as large as Rhode Island?
The very minute humanity colonizes outside the confines of our planet, wealth becomes immaterial. The delimiter of monetary wealth is perhaps the radius at which the International Space Station is. After this, the construct changes, money for which we beg, borrow, steal, sweat, work, idolize, etc. —- becomes as useful as an imaginary number.
Just thought it was something interesting to consider.
For Further Reading:
- United Federation of Planets
- Federation Credit
- List of Fictional Currencies
- Star Trek: Money
- Star Trek: Does Money Exist
- How Can The World Function Without Money In Star Trek?