Rogue One, the latest Star Wars movie to hit our screens, explored an exciting time between Episode III and A New Hope. During this era, wars were fought, lives were lost, and the ultimate power in the universe was constructed. We are talking, of course, about the Death Star.
Taking a closer look at the Death Star, Rogue One asked and answered a lot of questions about the infamous technological terror. While we won’t spoil anything for you, there was one question it did fail to address: how did the empire afford to build such a weapon?
If Disney won’t answer the question, we will with this Star Wars infographic:
How to Buy a Death Star
Before this Star Wars infographic explaining how to buy a Death Star could be made, we had to first learn how much it costs to build in the first place.
Luckily, some clever people have already done that. The figure, just for the raw materials, came out at 852 quadrillion US dollars. Conveniently, one dollar equates to one credit, the currency used in Star Wars.
How The Empire Bought a Death Star
In the Star Wars films, we see only a small portion of the galaxy far, far away. However, it is actually immeasurably vast, with just the known regions of space inhabited by 100 quadrillion lifeforms, many of whom work and contribute to an interlinking, interstellar economy. All this economic firepower means that the Imperial Empire has a wealth as immeasurable as the galaxy itself.
But even they would have struggled to create the Death Star.
Look at the US Navy for example. The crown jewels of their fleet are the Nimitz-Class warships, costing $13 billion. These massive warships come at a cost of just 0.08125% of the country’s entire GDP. The cost of the Death Star, however, was 170% of the Empire’s tax revenue for the year. While it was built over 20 years, its actual cost being 8.5% of Galactic tax revenue per year, it was still an absolutely gargantuan project, even for a public body that measured its income by solar system.
So, is it actually feasible, even for the galactic power like the Imperial Empire, to build a Death Star simply though tax? This Star Wars infographic answers the question with an emphatic yes, here’s why:
The US joined World War 2 in 1941 and fought a noble, yet expensive, four-year fight. The overall financial cost of WW2 for the States was $341 billion. Adjusted for inflation, that is $3.6 trillion. Per year, this war would have cost just over 5% of the US’s GDP. This money came almost entirely through taxation and austerity. It was a tough time, but they saw it though.
The Galactic Empire could easily follow similar cuts and austerity measures in a time of war. Let’s not forget, this isn’t a democracy. It’s a totalitarian regime headed by a man built of pure evil; he doesn’t care about poverty or wealth gaps. If the US government could fund their war on 5% of the GDP, then the Imperial Empire could fund theirs on 8%.
Could We Build a Real Death Star?
At $852 quadrillion, the price tag attached to the Death Star is roughly 13,000 times the GDP of the entire Earth. This Star Wars infographic demonstrates how the Imperial Empire, an organisation that rules over and taxes 100 quadrillion living beings, could eventually afford one. Earth, with a population significantly less than that, stands little hope; you don’t need a chartered accountancy company to tell you that.
That didn’t stop some people trying to go ahead with the idea, though. Some American hopefuls set up a petition in 2012, requesting the US government build a Death Star. Not surprisingly, the idea was rejected. I’m sure that once they see this Star Wars infographic then they’ll understand why.
And would we want to? The Death Star was completed and destroyed within just a year. After extreme taxation laws and a monster amount of financial injection that cost more in terms of percentage than the Second World War, it lasted just a few short months. Not a great investment.
The Galactic Tax Returns: How Tax Helped Build the Death Star [Infographic] infographic was brought to you by the team at Russell Smith Chartered Accountants.
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