It was as if a million voices suddenly cried out in terror, and begged for a bailout.
Now, that’s what happened when the first Death Star destroyed Alderaan, but rather what did when the Rebel Alliance destroyed the second Death Star. Well, at least according to an academic who has spent way too much time thinking about the Star Wars economy.
The problem, according to Zachary Feinstein, is that technological terrors don’t come cheap. Or, as a certain Sith Lord might put it, the ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the financing it takes to do that. In the case of the Death Stars, if you assume their costs were in line with an aircraft carrier’s, that was somewhere in the neighborhood of $193 quintillion for the first one and $419 quintillion for the second. That probably would have been too much for the Empire to afford–21-figures is a lot of money on even a galactic scale–especially when it would have been wary of raising taxes too much and fueling more discontent. (As much as you might want to forget, it was the taxation of trade routes that started pulling the Old Republic apart). The upshot is that the Empire must have built the Death Stars with borrowed money.