Every once in a while fandom put on their real-world lenses and take a look at popular movies, in an effort to see how much energy is needed to power an arc reactor, or how badly Avengers‘ Battle of New York would have bankrupted America. We’ve even had an official White House petition to get a Death Star built – and a response. All of this stuff is ultimately futile, yet it’s undeniably fun, and makes all this stuff even more fantastical.
The subject of the Death Star has been returned to by Zachary Feinstein, professor of Financial Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, in a 10-page paper titled It’s a Trap: Emperor Palpatine’s Poison Pill – although fortunately he isn’t proposing to build one this time. Feinstein instead navigates the costs of constructing a technological terror such as the one Palpy got made (twice), but mainly focuses on the major financial fallout which would have occured in the galaxy – again, twice – in a four-year time span. I know jackshit about economics, but it’s quite a fascinating read regardless. It’s got plenty of big sentences such as, “calibrate a model of the economic health and financial system in the galaxy”. Gotta love it.
If you’re too lazy for that, however (as well as not knowing anything about economics), then we’ve got the basic points summed up for ya right here!
- The first Death Star is estimated at a cost of $193 quintillion
- …the second cost $419 quintillion. Man…
- The Galactic Empire had an annual GDP of $4.6 sextillion, culminating to $93 sextillion over a twenty-year period
- It’s basically the Manhattan Project x100000000000
- The galaxy’s got itself 17,501 banks
- The Rebellion reeeaaallyyy fucked up the economy thanks to Endor – no wonder there’s no New Republic
- The Empire would need a 20% bailout – at least – to properly get the galactic economy back on track, funds which the Rebellion clearly don’t possess
Feinstein also chatted to Yahoo! about his report, which has got some more fun statistics.
“Without a bailout, there was a non-negligible chance of over 30 percent drop in the size of the Galactic economy overnight — larger than the losses from the Great Depression over 4 years (from peak to trough).”
And now your childhood is ruined!
In all seriousness, Zachary Feinstein deserves major props for putting together such a comprehensive and in-depth report. It takes some true fanboy dedication to go into as much detail as he did for what is, arguably, a kids movie about space cowboys. Have a beer on us, Zach!