You might have come across this recent article which argues that destroying the Death Star in Star Wars would have economically crippled the galaxy.

There are a number of problems with the article, as Janet Neilson at the Foundation for Economic Education points out. The three major causes for concern are:

  1. Mistaking the cost of the inputs in the Death Star is its economic value.
  2. Treating economic growth and GDP growth as one and the same.
  3. Failing to take into account the Death Star’s outputs (death and destruction).

As Neilson put it:

“…the column fails to consider the Death Star’s outputs: death and compliance, and ignores completely the cost of operation and maintenance for the battle stations. Wiping potentially valuable people and their possessions out of existence is tremendously costly, though that cost is impossible to estimate. And that’s before we start talking about operation and maintenance. A Death Star should be considered an ongoing and substantial cost to the galactic economy.

So if you cheered for the destruction of the Death Stars, it’s okay. And if you understand why, we’ll all be better off.”