Economics of Star Wars – Part 3: Death Star Cost versus Planetary Destruction

January 26, 2014 – Here is a thoughtful economic analysis of the cost of building and maintaining a DEATH STAR versus the loss in value of destroying a planet, such as Alderaan. The geeky analysis is courtesy of You can read the entire article here.
Alderaan Box
Some highlights:

► Why would the Empire take a huge economic loss by destroying a planet with the Death Star? The loss of tax-income and the planet’s resources make planet-obliteration illogical.

► ANSWERS: (1) To stop the cancerous spread of a rebellion, sometimes an arm or a leg must be cut off, or else you risk losing the entire body;
(2) Grand Moff Tarkin: “Fear will keep them in line. Fear of this battle station.”; (3) The insanity of the very idea of planetary destruction, and the unpredictable nature of a madman like the Emperor, also keep planets in check.

► To maintain order across your vast empire, you would have to maintain a SUPER MASSIVE BUREAUCRACY. The problem with bureaucracies, however, is that they are extremely expensive, unwieldy, become bloated and can sabotage you if not kept happy (i.e., paid well to avoid corruption).

► EXCERPT: “The more you spend on bureaucracy, the less control you have directly over your Empire. The less you spend on bureaucracy, the more you have to tighten your grip, and the more star systems slip through your fingers. So, the Emperor and Tarkin focus on making one really huge, high-impact investment: The Death Star. They throw in Alderaan as part of that investment. This doomsday weapon will supposedly free up their resources to spend less on administration, personnel and infrastructure….”

AND THE BEST PART: How To Build The Death Star

The “Death Star” from Coastline Studios on Vimeo.


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