Empire or Federation: where would you rather live?

Because I’m a geek, and because I have plenty of time, I’ve been thinking lately about Star Trek and Star Wars. Comparing and contrasting, listing pros and cons, entertaining questions for which I’ve never had satisfactory answers, etc. I’m a fan of both franchises (how I hate that term!), and, in my idle moments of Walter Mitty-like fantasizing, project myself into their respective universes. While I’m (mentally) there, these are some of the things that occur to me…

In Star Trek*, you never see any private or commercial space traffic. How come? Is that by design, or merely a practical consideration of Trek’s limited budgeting? Alien ships aside, Starfleet appears to be the only authorized human venue for space travel. Which would be kind of like, in our present day, having only Navy ships at sea; no freighters, no yachts, no tankers, no runabouts — only armed-to-the-teeth warships, even for the most benign exploratory or scientific purposes. And, I guess, only Air Force planes in the sky. Hey, that would be like living in a military dictatorship!

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