Building a Death Star would be almost unbelievably expensive - so much so that the Galactic Empire would have crumbled after the Rebels destroyed not one but two of the machines.
Using the prices of modern aircraft carriers as a guideline, Zachary Feinstein in the School of Engineering & Applied Science at Washington University in St. Louis worked out that the second Death Star would have cost £278 quintillion pounds.
That’s £278,000,000,000,000,000,000- more money than there is on Earth.
The shock would have caused the entire Galactic financial system to collapse, Feinstein estimates - meaning that the Rebels might have had to bail out the ruined Empire.
‘This project was really about modeling the size of the Galactic economy and banking sector,’ Feinstein said. ‘Once I had that, I simply applied my research on measuring financial systemic risk to determine the required bailout.’
In the movies, both Death Stars are destroyed within a four-year time span, which would have been a staggering economic blow to the Imperial financial sector. To prevent a total financial collapse would require a bailout of at least 15 percent, and likely greater than 20 percent, of the entire economy’s resources.
“The most surprising result was how large the economic collapse could be,” Feinstein said.
‘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).
‘The outlook appears very grim for the common Imperial citizen,’ he said. ‘I think it is unlikely the Rebel Alliance could have found the political will and financial resources to provide the necessary banking bailout until it is too late.
‘It may be that the Force is awakening 30 years after the events of Episode VI because of the economic forces at play,’ Feinstein said.