Happy Star Wars Day

Why do anarchists love Star Wars? Because it’s a story about a populist movement who rises up to challenge an exploitative, overbearing galactic empire – and wins.  Economics nerds (and regular nerds) rejoice: this article has an entertaining look at the economics of a massive, planet-shaped death machine:

“Mark’s question assumes that every planet has a trade surplus. In the case of Alderaan, at least, that probably isn’t true. The whole point of empires, according to the classic Leninist line, is that they sustain an unrealistically high standard of living for the bourgeoisie and the plutocrats back home by exploiting the cheap labor and undeveloped natural resources of the conquered territories. Empires need two things to sustain themselves: new markets for manufactured goods, and new exploitable sources for raw materials. A third element, not mentioned by Lenin AFAIK but presumably necessary, is a well developed military industrial complex back home to help turn those gas reserves/indigo plants/poppies into kerosene/fabric dye/opium in such a way as to profit the elites. Blowing up Alderaan is not much of a loss by this way of reckoning. It’s part of the galactic first world: there’s no new market, no new stock of raw material to be found there. And from what little we see of the planet, it’s not a *crucial* part of the Empire’s infrastructure. (one doesn’t imagine that the emperor – a sane one, anyway – would offer the same treatment to Geonosis). By reducing the number of citizens, the Empire can increase the per capita benefit to its remaining citizens.”

Check out the full article here:  http://www.overthinkingit.com/2011/04/25/star-wars-death-star-economics/

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