Julius Sykes went to an amazing effort with this: Brave New World: The Government, Culture and Starfleet of the United Federation of Planets.
Also, "The existing evidence establishes the United Federation as a Marxist communist society." - hehe, told you so ;)
Interestingly, he suggests that the moneyless aspect of the Federation evolved in the late 23rd century - that is, in-between the original-cast movie series and the Next Generation series, with the movie-era being the transitional period. I tend to suspect it's always "supposed" to be moneyless, and the appearance of a change is more just an artifact of inconsistent writing (Roddenberry seemed to guide Next Gen much more strongly in the first couple of years, i think he actually described it as fixing up the things he always wanted to do with the first series), but it's a fun exercise.
Anyway, from the perspective of this genre of essay, calling something the result of inconsistent writing (or low budgets, or a need for drama, or bad special effects) is like cheating.
He also has another one called Senatus Populusque Romulanus: The Government and Culture of the Romulan Star Empire, which i haven't got around to reading yet, and a range of similar articles set in the Star Wars universe.
Fun-times, if you're an absolute nerd with an interest in politics and exhaustive detail...