U Miami Political Science Professor Gregory Koger knows how to get way ahead of the curve, and has published a comprehensive treatment of what will someday be a major political issue — Should we build a Death Star?:
I wish to address the most important policy question of the millenium: should we build a Death Star? This debate picked up this year after some Lehigh University students estimated that just the steel for a Death Star would cost $852 quadrillion, or 13,000 times the current GDP of the Earth. Kevin Drum suggests this cost estimate is too low but, in the context of a galactic economy, a Death Star is perfectly affordable and “totally worth it.” Seth Masket and Jamelle Bouie highlight the military downside of the Death Star, suggesting that more people might rebel against the wholesale genocide of the Empire, and that the Death Star would be the prime target of any rebellion. I have two thoughts to add. First, the Death Star is a bit misunderstood. It is primarily a tool of domestic politics rather than warfare, and should be compared to alternative means of suppressing the population of a galaxy. Second, as a weapon of war, it should be compared to alternative uses of scarce defense resources. Understood properly, the Death Star is not worth it.
And there’s lots more where that came from.
I look forward to subsequent articles about the costs, benefits, and ethical ramifications of building a time machine, a Stargate, and a transporter.
One interesting aspect of these TOS is that they have a very American flavor. There seems to have been no attempt to cherry pick law; the Wikimedia Foundation is in the US and it relies on US law, both helpful (CDA § 230) and perhaps less helpful (DMCA).