The Rebel Alliance Would’ve Tanked the Star Wars Economy by Destroying the Death Star
When the Rebels blew up the Death Star in Star Wars: A New Hope, did they account for the massive economic fall-out that would have resulted? Not to mention the loss of jobs (and the death of the people who originally had those jobs, I guess). Zachary Feinstein, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis, published a paper this week explaining what might have happened after the events of A New Hope — and it doesn’t look very hopeful.
Feinstein explained to Motherboard,
In this case study we found that the Rebel Alliance would need to prepare a bailout of at least 15 percent, and likely at least 20 percent, of GGP in order to mitigate the systemic risks and the sudden and catastrophic economic collapse. Without such funds at the ready, it is likely the Galactic economy would enter an economic depression of astronomical proportions.
Ouch. But on the other hand, isn’t that about what Princess Leia and the gang would’ve expected, over the course of overthrowing a tyrannical government? After all, the German economy was in shambles after World War II. (Then again, their economy was also in shambles after World War I, which is part of what allowed fascism to gain prominence, but I digress.)
That might not be quite the right example to use in this case, though — here’s the comparison that Feinstein used when asked for a real-life counterpart for the Death Star’s destruction.
I don’t know anything on this order of magnitude, thankfully, because if it were, then we get a crisis of this size. But really the best comparison I have is 2008, where we had this bailout of the banking sector.
Feinstein admits that his Star Wars paper is a publicity stunt — but it’s not for The Force Awakens, it’s Feinstein’s attempt to increase awareness about his work and the work of his colleagues about system risk, which he explains as “the risk of the system collapsing, or the risk of the financial sector, rather than any individual bank or any individual investor.” He elaborates,
This is, in my mind, is more what we should care about as a society. Because in the end, if a bank is going to collapse, and it has no impact on the rest of the economy, then that doesn’t really matter.
Of course, as we know post-2008, a bank collapsing does have an effect on the rest of the economy. I’m okay with that when it comes to taking down the Empire — but it is interesting to think about what the far-reaching intergalactic fallout of that would have looked like. I guess we can wait and hear Rey and Finn tell us what living through that was like, in a few weeks.
—Please make note of The Mary Sue’s general comment policy.—