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     "We're better" 
  • One of Quark's best scenes comes in "The Jem'Hadar," when he turns Sisko's Federation highhandedness back on him: "You're overlooking something, Commander. Humans used to be a lot worse than Ferengi. Slavery, concentration camps, interstellar war; we have nothing in our past that approaches that kind of barbarism. You see? We're nothing like you. We're better." It's a great example of how DS9 calls out Star Trek as a whole on its often hypocritical values. But does it really make sense? The Ferengi hardly have a great record on gender, and we have seen in other episodes that they do indeed practice slavery — maybe not of other Ferengi, but what difference should that make? And as we see in "Business as Usual," some Ferengi seem to have no trouble abetting genocide, so long as there's a profit in it.
    • I think you may have answered your own question, at least to a point. Unlike humans, the Ferengi haven't enslaved their own kind, which to them may be morally inferior to just slavery in general, and perhaps they don't believe that enslavement of other species is slavery at all. And abetting genocide isn't committing genocide. True, they're both morally bankrupt and reprehensible acts, but the minor differences may be enough for Quark to convince himself of Ferengi superiority (which he does, right up to the end of "Business as Usual", and that's mostly because of the scale of that particular slaughter, rather than the act itself). Whether he's right objectively is another matter, but I believe that at least Quark can justify it to himself (keep in mind that Sisko's reaction basically amounts to "You have got to be kidding me.").
    • History is written by the publishers. It's just as likely the history books detailing the slavery and warfare perpetrated by the Ferengi just don't sell as well as the ones that never question the wisdom of the Rules of Acquisition.
    • I wouldn't deny that it probably all makes sense in Quark's mind. But for me at least, subjecting these claims to scrutiny weakens the overall dramatic impact of the scene.
    • That could be the point. Quark goes on about how the Ferengi are better than hew-mons, but in reality the Ferengi have the same flaws that Quark denies. Consider how we tell ourselves today that we are better than our ancestors from even just a few generations back, and then compare our mental image with the reality in the streets.
    • This misses the primary point. The Ferengi are Blue-and-Orange Morality, but they stick to that. Humans say genocide, slavery, etc. is bad, but did it for thousands of years. Ferengi said not making profit is bad, and (with only small individual exceptions) held to that. This would be similar to only a few cases of fights in the history of human civilization. The point is the Ferengi stick to their moral code, humans don't.
      • You can't call hypocrisy on an entire species. Especially not when the moral values you claim humans don't stick to didn't even exist for most of our history.
      • No, and furthermore, Quark does accuse humans of hypocrisy, but it's along the lines of "You think you're better than us but your horrible history reveals otherwise," not "we are at least consistent in our values." It's simply not what he says. Other DS9 episodes try to redeem the Ferengi along the similar lines (I recall an episode where Nog suggests that the Ferengi could end the Dominion War through their methods by finding something each side wants), but this is a bit of a retcon of the fact that Ferengi were initially presented as a warlike species.
    • I've been wondering what Quark's mother would think of his little speech. Think she'd agree that his definition of "slavery" needs revising? My dictionary defines it as treating people as property. But of course, the Ferengi would never do that. Especially not to half their population.
    • Quark's "We're better" speech is very reminiscent of the morals of a lot of early TNG episodes, in that it makes sense so long as you don't think about it too hard. Objectively speaking, the Ferengi are absolutely not better than the Federation. They may not personally indulge in concentration camps or interstellar war (though I find it hard to believe they've never had to fight a war before) but they certainly have no problem enabling other civilizations to do that via arms deals and such. And as the above troper points out, I think a lot of Ferengi females including Quark's own mother would take great issue with his statement about slavery. Furthermore, I find Quark's statement that the Ferengi never do such things completely ridiculous on the face of it. We're talking about a culture where bribery is considered common courtesy. Are we really supposed to believe that in a culture where bribery is explicitly endorsed by the majority religion (ROA #98: Every man has his price) that no Ferengi has ever bribed a law enforcement officer to turn a blind eye to slave trading, hate crimes, or murder? Obviously this doesn't happen all the time, but surely it must happen sometimes, or has happened in the past. And if it's okay for Quark to condemn the entire Federation because some humans in the past committed genocide or endorsed slavery, then by his very own logic the Ferengi deserve the same condemnation.
    • I think at this point it is also worth noting that the inspiration for the Ferengi was gunboat capitalism. Or in other words, if you refuse to trade with them then they park twenty warships off your planet until you change your mind. Arguably better than concentration camps and slavery but hardly by much.
  • In Universe, as pointed out on the WMG page, it's highly unlikely that a single school on Ferenginar teaches anything but Ferengi exceptionalism, so Quark's speech is pretty much like a citizen of the People's Republic Of Tyrrany or any fascist regime boasting about their non-existent crime or how they've never committed genocide because Jews aren't really people. Out of universe, either the writers simply forgot Ferengi atrocities in giving Quark a moment of Character Development, or he's meant to be a dark mirror of speech-givers like Picard, because both are only preaching what they know.
  • Another possibilty is that it's just Quark's MASSIVE ego talking out his rear and counting on Sisko not knowing enough Ferengi history to call his bluff. Basically just somewhat skewed boasting that relies on the other party not really looking into it or knowing enough to call your bluff (like how certain countries claim to be the "greatest nation in the world"... but then you look at the history and current data and that boast goes right out the airlock)

     Rom's stands all he can stands 
  • In the first season, Quark is named the Grand Nagus' successor, and shortly thereafter the Nagus fakes his death to see how his son would react. He had hoped he could come out of retirement, but the Nagus' son instead tried to get a Klingon Promotion. Rom was part of the scheme, and was very close to pushing the button before Odo and Zek intervened. Now, that was in season one. Quark already knows Rom has it in him to kill him if he's pushed too far. So why the heck does Quark keep Tempting Fate with Rom? "One for you, seven for me" happened in Season 2. (Rom scurried away, whining.) Rigging Nog's entrance exam into the Academy... refusing to give him any kinda employee protection until he forms the union. Is Quark trying to get Rom to kill him?! Man, family is complicated.
    • Rom isn't bright enough to make Quark's death look like an accident, so even if he killed him and fled the station maybe Quark has something in his will to the effect of, "In the event of my death by unnatural circumstances, I bequeath my assets to Tholian assassins as payment to kill my brother Rom."
    • The idea of Rom conspiring to assassinate Quark has the aura of Early Installment Weirdness, doesn't it?
    • Agreed to the above statement, up there with Odo seeing through Quark's deception in Babel because Rom supposedly fixed something yet, according to Odo "Rom's an idiot. He couldn't fix a straw if it was bent." As to the parent poster, don't forget the Rules of Acquisition: "111: Treat people in your debt like family - exploit them." and, from Voyager - "Exploitation begins at home!" meaning first exploit your family members.

    Don't Mess With the Ferengi Commerce Authority! 
  • The existence of the Ferengi Commerce Authority really bugs me. Remember the Liquidator who somehow had the authority to come on to Deep Space 9 (a Federation outpost), shut down Quark's bar and threaten to sell all of his financial holdings because of his Mother's actions? How can they possibly have that power?
    • Well, even though Quark's is on a Federation outpost, the Ferengi are not a member of the Federation. Nog couldn't even join Starfleet unless Sisko sponsored him.
    • Quark is working under the authority of the Ferengi Commerce Authority. Regardless of where he works, he still has to operate under Ferengi law to keep their authority. Without their authority he cannot do business with other Ferengi. They have every right to revoke his license and take any other actions required under Ferengi law. It's like if you work for an American company in Russia. Your company can revoke your ability to do business with them there. (The Ferengi Government is more like a corporation than a government if you recall).
      • Plus, it's not a Federation outpost. It's a Bajoran outpost with a Federation administration.
      • It's not unprecedented for a government authority to have the ability to reach your assets in another jurisdiction. If you're American, you're a prisoner of the IRS wherever in the world you go. This is not true in most countries' tax systems, who only tax on money earned inside their borders.
    • Because his financial holdings are only recognized by the Ferengi government. The Federation can't stop Brunt from selling off Quark's assets because those assets ''do not exist" as far as the Federation is concerned. It would be like the United States trying to stop Switzerland from seizing the assets of a Swiss tourist.
    • At the end of the episode, he re-opens the bar and continues doing business after Sisko &co. donate furniture and resources (for the community's benefit). The FCA can stop him trading legally with other Ferengi, but have no power to stop him running a business in Bajoran territory, so they don't. (Let's just assume that the Ferengi staff are now formally employed by Sisko or something.)
      • Actually, for the duration of the revocation of Quark's business license, no Ferengi are seen working in the bar. Presumably he hires extra dabo girls, who then pull double duty as waitresses.
  • Doesn't its very existence go against the Ferengi principle of free enterprise anyway?
    • Awfully good question. If the Ferengi are ultra-free market capitalists, then where did all of this regulation come from? Are we supposed to think that the FCA collects taxes from its members? Evidently not, because late episodes state outright that taxes are verboten on Ferenginar (or at least were)... perhaps they collect licensing fees or something similar, but surely operating under their authority is something you have to pay to do, no?
      • It's more complicated than that. In "The Nagus" (an episode filled with Early Installment Weirdness, to be sure), when Quark becomes Nagus, it's implied that the Nagus (maybe acting through the FCA) decides who can do business where, and while in theory they might not always take a cut, it seems like the deals he makes ensure that they generally do. In other words, it operates more like a Mafia than a laissez-faire capitalist government. It seems to me that toward the end they wanted to make a political point against ultra-libertarianism that was different than the points they were making earlier (or even in other late episodes), and they used the Ferengi to do it.
    • If the FCA is officially a monopolistic conglomeration rather than a government, then they can skirt around the free enterprise, no-tax thing by calling them "membership fees" or rent money for living on FCA property (Ferenginar). All Ferengi businesses might be franchises of the FCA and are required to pay supplier fees.
    • There are laws governing Ferengi commerce, but they aren't laws that restrict it i.e. monopoly busting. They are instead designed to ensure that things like unions and contract violations don't interfere with the pursuit of profit. That's why Quark lost his license: he violated the terms of his contract with Brunt, and Brunt used his position to strip Quark's license as an act of petty revenge. Presumably the FCA is funded by the licensing fees that business owners have to pay in order to operate.
    • Ferengi Government isn't "Free Market", it's pro-business. This is a society where greed is considered a virtue, and where cutthroat business practices aren't simply allowed, they're actively encouraged by centralized powers.
      • On at least one occasion (in "The Dogs of War"), Quark explicitly cites "free enterprise" as a Ferengi virtue. Mind you, it would hardly be inconsistent for Ferengis to talk about favouring free markets while actually preferring heavily regulated markets — just regulation of a particular kind.

     Why are there no Ferengi Suffragettes? 
  • I find it very hard to believe that a society that has oppresses women to such ridiculous levels that they have to be completely naked in public would not have a Suffragette style movement triggered across the entire Alliance. A lot of people today forget that women back then often resorted to criminal behavior to achieve their ends - vandalizing property and chaining themselves to buildings etc and with the 24th century ability to communicate and travel on a planetary scale (something that was far harder in the early 20th) there should be outbreaks of violence and crime everywhere. And I refuse to believe the Ferengi government would employ Taliban level tactics of stoning women or chopping off their hands to prevent wide scale action due to A) The Federation would have something to say about that (Prime Directive aside) B) It would sully Quark's character irredeemably as all of those comic moments of arguing with his mum and refusing to acknowledge Pel would suddenly take on some very uncomfortable fascist implications. At the very least there should be women everywhere outright flouting the ban on clothes and traveling off world to conduct business - the FCA wouldn't have authority on other sovereign planets no matter how much they may claim to. As I see it, from the evidence presented, either Ferengi women simply weren't trying hard enough to change their society before Ishka started dating the Grand Nagus or they were actually on the whole quite happy with the situation with only a few dissenters around like Ishka and Pel.
    • Its probable that these rules are only enforced for the middle/upper-classes of Ferengi society who can afford to have a member of the household not contribute financially. Much of Ferengi society lives in abject poverty, barely able to feed themselves. In those cases the women probably wear clothes and work(albeit for a much lower wage) for the simple, practical reason that they would starve otherwise. Compare it to the industrial-revolution era in Britain. Sure, upper-class women were treated like property, but the lower class was expected to go out and get a job just like their husbands.
    • It's possible that plenty of Ferengi feminists exist, but they're such an embarrassment to misogynist Ferengi men that the men do not talk openly about them. Another possibility is that Ferengi men keep most Ferengi women ignorant of the outside world, so that many female Ferengi females wouldn't know that another way of life is possible (think Afghanistan or the FLDS). Ishka and Pel might have been among the few Ferengi women who received an education and a taste of life beyond their home planet.
    • Watch Ishka's performance at the end of Family Business when she pretends to hand over all her profits to Brunt. She's trying (though not very well) to come off as a Stepford Smiler. From this it can be inferred that many or most Ferengi women are not very well educated and probably don't even comprehend how repressed they really are.
    • Given the punitive measures threatened against Quark for his profit-earning, it's also likely that many Ferengi women who are well-educated and who haven't internalized their culture's extreme misogyny are discouraged because they don't want to ruin the prospects of their husbands/brothers/fathers/sons.
    • When the series was written, no one could have predicted the way social media affected political movements a decade or so later. Yes, it would have been supremely interesting if DS9 was written during Arab Spring, and they probably could have subtly incorporated some 24th century equivalent of a social media revolution
    • Rom's wife was said to have have exploited a loophole in her marriage contract and returned to her family, so, while the system is highly patriarchal, women can still exploit it. Also, while they lord over their wives, "Never insult a Ferengi's mother" is still in the Rules Of Acquisition, meaning women probably do have some pull within the household.
      • The full rule was revealed by the EU as being "Never insult a Ferengi's mother; insult something he cares about," but the point about Rom's wife is still valid.
      • The way Quark reacts on-screen would seem to indicate the EU is wrong. He gets VERY visibly upset about a potential crack at his mother. In context, he barely reacts to the suggestion that he abandon a large chest of latinum, but is ready to kill someone for making fun of his mother.
    • The Ferengi government probably draws the line at stoning or mutilation, but we have seen many times they do practice the death penalty on people who challenge the existing order, even in the pursuit of profit and in relatively minor ways, and in general they never struck me as above more authoritarian practices despite what they claim. Not to mention, even if there'd be little legal recompense for a woman flouting the sexist laws, defying a tradition that has dictated how half the population had behaved for millennia would come with immense social stigma, just like it does in real life.
    • Illiteracy appears to be a huge problem on Ferenganar. When he's first introduced, Nog can't even read. Its possible the Ferengi suffragettes simply have no way to get organized.

     Female Oo-Mox 
  • Was it ever stated as to why Oo-Mox is something only the males can experience? If I had to theorize it's because female lobes are smaller and as such may not be as ridiculously vulnerable to pleasure/pain that male lobes are but I was wondering if there was ever a canon reason given.
    • I'm not entirely sure it's ever suggested that oo-mox isn't pleasurable for Ferengi females (though I'm working off memory so I could be wrong). If it is, your theory seems plausible—higher density of nerve endings due to the smaller area of their ears does sound like something that might make oo-mox uncomfortable for them. Given the misogyny in Ferengi culture, though, it seems just as likely that it is pleasant, but nobody cares what Ferengi women like.
    • It doesn't make much sense for female oo-mox not to be possible. After all, humans of both genders share pretty much all the same erogenous zones, despite our considerable anatomical differences. Unless the Ferengi deliberately genetically engineered this difference between their males and females ( not entirely out of the question) Ferengi females probably can enjoy oo-mox. But, as the above troper speculates, it's likely no one bothers to give it to them.
    • Looking at this discussion it seems very likely that the writers were echoing certain ideas on female orgasms on purpose.

     Rom's Esoteric Happy Ending 
  • Realistically, how long is someone like Rom going to last as Grand Nagus surrounded by so many people who are going to vehemently oppose everything that he stands for? Brunt or someone similar is going to find a way to crush him either legally or illegally in short order and revert the Alliance back to the way it was with maybe a few concessions here and there to appease his supporters. And that goes double for the radical (for them) new rights for females that he and Zek brought in. You can't change a culture this misogynistic in such a short space of time, real life just doesn't work that way. Perhaps best illustrated by Zek, one of the progressive architects of this new age, visibly awestruck when Ishka suggested that there may be a female Grand Nagus one day. Imagine how the more traditional Ferengi are going to respond. My Fridge Horror sense is tingling as to the sort of bile the first clothed women are going to experience on the streets, and worse, when they start to answer back to men who are used to women being in their place. You only need to look at similarly sexist places on our own planet to see evidence of that.
    • Keep in mind that the Ferengi are not human and do not react the way humans do. What they care about most is earning profits and as long as that happens they're willing to accept changes, even if it's reluctantly. Yes, there will be a period where women are still treated badly simply out of habit but in time that will fade and be forgotten. Remember when the Nagus was changed by the wormhole aliens? He founded a bunch of very un-Ferengi groups that fly in the face of the culture's values and yet they were still fully staffed by Ferengi, even though Quark and Rom agree they'll all be executed if this continues? It seems that the Ferengi are willing to give anything a try so long as it leads to profits in the long run. Of course if it doesn't then yes Rom is screwed but he's not as stupid as he seems and will likely change things one piece at a time so they can accept it.
    • It helped that Rom took power right as a massive backlash against the old way was starting. Not only had Zek's reforms proved unexpectedly popular, the planet was in the throws of a massive disasaster caused by a greedy contractor padding his bottom line by using inadequate materials for vital infrastructure.
    • The ever-opportunistic Brunt's description of the new Ferengi parliament made it seem like the new government had a lock on things that Nagus!Quark couldn't just brush away.
    • Simple math will also tend to work in the reformers' favor over time. Yes, the traditionalists won't like the idea of females doing anything but keeping house and chewing males' food ... but how much extra money will they be able to bring into the household, once they can actually work for pay instead? How much value will tradition have, weighed against having doubled the number of family members which you can profitably exploit the hell out of? Even the most bigoted Ferengi male is bound to see the benefits in female relatives becoming a potential source of funds, by their own labor, rather than a helpless and persistent drain on them.

     Death Customs 
  • In "The Nagus", dried remains of the Nagus are sold, but since he's not really dead, what's in the disks and who authenticated them?
    • Either they're fake or they're the remains of some other Ferengi, and the authentication is similarly forged. After all, this is a vital step in Zek's faking of his death, since it would look suspicious if such disks did not hit the market. Related question: do Nava and the others who bought the disks get their money back? Knowing what I do of Ferengis, I seriously doubt it.
      • There was probably some sort of disclaimer buried deep in the T&C (I bet the Ferengi are big fans of EULA's that would make even itunes blush in embarrassment), remember Rule of Acquisition #1.
    "Once you have their money, never give it back".
    • And Rule of Acquisition #239:
    "Never be afraid to mislabel a product."
    • In "The Alternate," we hear that Quark possesses fraudulent remains attributed to a Ferengi named Plegg. Quark simply states, "The Ferengi Seal of Dismemberment is right there." One can expect something similar is the case with Zek; some minimum standard of accreditation has been met, placing it in the legal clear.
    • What bothers me though is that episode where Quark promises to turn himself into disks for Brunt, realises that he is not going to die so he backs out, but STILL has to go through with it because of the Rule of Acquisition that states that a contract is a contract is a contract and Brunt has a contract for disks of Quark. So how is that any different to this situation? Brunt was down a Quark and all of those others were down a Zek. Sure, Zek is a lot more powerful than Quark, but even the Nagus seems to be at least partly under the control of the FCA and it would definitely hurt his credibility.
      • Brunt had a contract. When the Nagus's son was selling pieces of him, he was in on the gag. The people buying Nagus disks did not sign contracts. We can also presume that Brunt intended to authenticate his Quark parts much more thoroughly than most others. Its probably that mis-labeled Ferengi remains are quite common.
    • The Nagus is (at least as of that episode; his age seems to catch up with him in later ones) also a lot more canny than Quark, and unlike Quark, no one was trying to entrap him into killing himself. So either the Nagus managed some EULA fine-print legalese kung fu that got him out of it, or he managed to trick / blackmail / bribe whoever bought the disks into letting him out of the contract. Or maybe the contract wasn't with the Nagus himself, but some offscreen fall guy who acted as the executor of his will and did the actual selling of the disks. Plenty of ways it could have gone down, we just never got the details because it's honestly not that important.
      • Yeah, the thrust of the issue in "Body Parts" was that Brunt refused to play ball with Quark's attempt to recompense him for the non-supplied disks. It's easy to imagine that Zek, with his resources, would have no such problem (anyone who decided to press the matter would probably just be "taken care of" Mafia-style).
    • I bet even the fake remains of Zek from that time he faked his death are valuable keepsakes. Or try this on: maybe the Nagus made a clone of himself and had it vacuum desiccated so that his remains really are those of Zek — just not that Zek. There's always a loophole!
    • Alternatively, they just started selling disks of "The Grand Nagus" after Zek was announced to have died, but they were actually disks from some really unpopular and disliked Nagus from 300 years ago that had been sitting around gathering dust in a vault. So yes, you got a disk of a Grand Nagus, you just weren't very careful about making sure which Grand Nagus it was. That way you don't even have to pay for a clone, you just finally move some malingering product for a vastly inflated price.

     Why Don't Ferengi Women Freeze to Death? 
  • So Ferengi women are not allowed outside of the house unless they are completely naked - no doubt a play on real world cultures who do not allow women out without covering their face. The thing about that however is that clothes do more than just shield your nakedness; they exist to protect you from the elements. The cold mainly, but also from sunburn. So how do they leave the house to go shopping for food etc. without coming back with frostbite? And they can't all own replicators for the simple fact that Ferengi replicators cost money. Some of them at least will be going to the equivalent of Dollar Tree.
    • Married Ferengi women don't go out in public. Not sure about the single ones, though.
    • One can imagine that in those rare opportunities when women have to move outside (say if the whole household is travelling), she would be able to be covered for the elements, but this is considered a different situation than "wearing clothes."
    • That'd depend on Ferenginar's temperatures. Sunburn is probably not much of an issue, as it seems to rain almost all the time; I don't recall whether something about the temperature was said, but if, say, Ferenginar always had between 25 and 35°C, you wouldn't need clothes to prevent frostbite and freezing.

     The Nagus's "shuttle"? 
  • Whenever the Grand Nagus visits the station, he shoes up in a dinky little shuttle. What's the deal with that? The richest and most powerful Ferengi in the entire Ferengi Alliance spends weeks traveling around in a tiny, cramped ship with no amenities, no crew, and a single man servant who has to pilot for him?

     Nog's Latnium? 

  • In S 1 E 15(Progress Nog) and Jake end up with 5 bars of Latinum from their deals.
  • In S 5 E 25(In the cards) Nog only has 5 bars.
  • Why is their no difference over the 4 years?
    • Part of the reason Nog gives Sisko for wanting to join Starfleet is that he has no head for business, so his failure to acquire, or keep, any profits is probably what convinced him of that.
    • S 1 E 15(Progress Nog) AND Jake end up with 5 bars, making Nog's cut 2.5. Doubling that in 4 years is fairly impressive. Maybe. We have no idea what the buying power of a bar is. Still there was probably a lot of change in those 4 years we just don't hear about, with 5 being the final number and Nog's "life's savings".
      • Given the thousand bars of latinum that Morn stole is considered a small fortune, enough for his accomplices to find worth killing for a decade later, 5 bars seems like a fairly significant amount of money for a teenager to have.