As far as I know (I am not a Trekkie), Roddenberry never explained how his cashless society worked - and while I haven't read all of the Culture novels (yet) Banks takes care to explain life beyond capitalism. In his imagined universe the inefficient rationing of market capitalism has been replaced by algorithmic driven logistics. In the Culture humanoids flourish and have a say, but immensely powerful artificial intelligence, or Minds, organize all of society's incidental affairs. The Culture is a fantasy almost as old as ideal worlds - a nanny state with no need for nannycams.
So, as I am saying, doesn't what was said before and what's being said now form them into true guardians, still more and cause them not to draw the city apart by not all giving the name "my own" to the same thing, but different men giving it to different things--one man dragging off to his own house whatever he can get his hands on apart from the others, another being separate in his own house with separate women and children, introducing private pleasures and griefs of things that are private?
The most interesting parts of the Culture novels are not the hows, however, they are the why-fors; the moments when Banks pauses to explain what meaning work, or anything else, might have in a world where all material needs were met effortlessly, and where artificial Minds and mechanical drones can outmatch any human effort, ability, or craft where medicine has conquered addiction and every imaginable STD and social dysfunction. In the series' third book, Use of Weapons, Banks has one of his skeptics question an academic - who could as easily be taking part in an orgy, sitting by a pool, or studying his field of interest - why he instead voluntarily chooses to clean tables at a bar:
"Of coarse I don't have to do this... but"--he slapped the table--"when you clean a table you clean a table. You feel you've done something. It's an achievement... My wiping a table gives me pleasure. And people come to a clean table, which gives them pleasure. And anyway"--the man laughed--"people die; stars die; universes die. What is an achievement, however great it was, once time itself is dead? Of course if all I did was wipe tables, then of course it would seem a mean and despicable waste of my huge intellectual potential. But because I choose to do it, it gives me pleasure. And, "the man said with a smile, "it's a good way of meeting people."Americans deeply under the sway of flowers of Hayek and his half-with step-daughter Ayn Rand, have set to attacking the foundations of consumer culture by means of democracy. The American Left believes that it is democracy that is under threat and that consumerism is the enemy, but I respectfully disagree. The Koch brothers and other right wing reactionaries, are exactly that: reactionaries. They pretend to worship free markets but they are hypocrites and hate mongers; the real God these so-called Libertarians worship is not free markets, it is private property. The most remarkable aspect of Star Trek as the founding myth of consumerism, however, is that the moment property enters the picture the utopia is instantly transformed into a dystopia. (Continue reading.)
Friedrich Hayek and the trouble with property in a postscarcity economy.