So, the Federation is “fully automated luxury space communism.” Of course there are people who just hang out and don’t contribute, but that’s OK! They don’t need to!
But what do you do with the people who do need to? There are people who use the fact that they’re in a post-scarcity society to research, create, invent, make, that sort of thing. And that enriches their society further!
But what about the people who have a need to “do” but aren’t like that? The real misfits, weirdos, maniacs? Turns out, there’s a place for them, too: Starfleet!
Have an obsessive need for hierarchy? Want to create or work with barely-functional cutting-edge and frankly dangerous experimental technology? Eager for volumes of rules, full of loopholes, and the constant breaking thereof for a “higher purpose?” Then Starfleet’s for you!
It’s a total honeypot! It sure beats having these sorts of people screwing around with the actual society that trillions of people live in, and sometimes they can even do some good!
And that’s why “Lower Decks” is the most realistic Star Trek series. Thanks for coming to my talk at TEDx DS-3!