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Here’s How Money Works in The Mandalorian
In a galaxy far, far away, the hustle is still real. Even residents of the Star Wars universe seek fruitful day jobs. In the Disney+ TV show The Mandalorian, our moody bounty hunter, Din Djarin, bargains for the best deal in Imperial Credits, but how much is the best deal worth?
We don’t have an encompassing or consistent idea of interpreting the show’s fictional money system, but with the help of some seasoned Star Wars fans who double as finance experts, we’ve laid out what we know about the money in The Mandalorian — and why Baby Yoda’s bounty is probably $1 million.
Imperial credits — a volatile universal currency
At some points in the Star Wars timeline, we hear references to the Republic credit, Imperial Credit or New Republic credit, depending on the current ruling government.
Dino Selita, Co-founder of The Debt Relief Company, told us that “credits in the Knights of The Old Republic video game, prequel episodes and The Mandalorian, all vary significantly. This may be due to inflation or even the relative strength of ‘The Empire.’ When the power of imperial forces wanes, I think the purchasing power of ‘credits’ also tends to diminish. Possibly due to trust in the reliability of the currency.”
In The Mandalorian (Episode 1), the bounty hunter is offered payments in the form of Imperial Credits, with Greef Karga (the leader of the Bounty Hunters’ Guild) insisting, “They still spend.” Based on the hunter’s reaction to the offer, “I don’t know if you heard, but the Empire is gone,” we can deduce that the Imperial Credit has lost value but has yet to be succeeded by New Republic credits. It’s an unstable form of currency due to the fall of its government backing.
We see something similar in The Phantom Menace (1999) when Watto refuses to accept Old Republic credits from Qui-Gon Jinn.
“Mind tricks don’t work on me, only money” – Watto, The Phantom Menace. Probably the most iconic quote of all time, no? pic.twitter.com/D5KkkzLnPC— VOX Cinemas (@voxcinemas) February 3, 2019
Jason Cherubini, CPA/CMA, compared credits to the euro, “Imperial Credits are a fiat currency that was created by a large centralized government to ease trade across borders. In our current world, it is most analogous to the euro.” According to Cherubini, “The European Union created the euro to replace the individual currencies of the member states, making trade and commerce easier across borders. The Galactic Federation would have done the same thing, replacing the local currencies of its member star systems with a centralized currency to make trade and commerce easier.”
Calamari Flan — a stable state currency
In the same transaction with Greef Karga, Din Djarin chooses to accept Calamari Flan instead of Imperial Credits because it holds its value better. It’s a currency tied to an economic state (rather than galactically universal) but is much more secure than Imperial Credits. It’s likely many places would either accept the Calamari Flan, or convert it for a steady value.
Caleb Chen, a member of the first class to graduate with a Master of Science in Digital Currency from the University of Nicosia, compares it to the British pound, “Calamari Flan is from the Mon Calamari civilization of Admiral Ackbar fame — they’ve survived civil wars before and their currency is seen as more stable.”
Though Cherubini compared it to the Swiss franc, “Calamari Flan is another fiat currency, but this time of a single state that is considered secure and stable. In our current world, this is similar to the franc. While it’s not accepted everywhere, and conversions need to be made to local currencies, the economy of Switzerland is considered secure, so the franc holds its value well.”
Beskar steel — a precious commodity
The coveted beskar steel isn’t exactly a currency; it’s a commodity. It’s similar to precious metal or elements like gold or rhodium. Its rarity and hardy characteristics make it extremely valuable, especially for Djarin — who’s paid in bars of beskar steel in the show.
This material is also used to create the unique Mandalorian armor and is highly sought after because of its extremely protective material. We can assume that given its significant value to the Mandolorians’ culture, beskar could have the same value as gold does on Earth.
How much is Baby Yoda’s bounty in US dollars?
Using what we know about previous bounties in the Star Wars universe, our experts estimated that Baby Yoda’s bounty is likely between $1 million and $10 million. Cherubini adds, In Return of the Jedi, we see Jabba the Hutt put a bounty of 100,000 credits for the capture of Han Solo and then pay 250,000 credits for the carbonite ‘artwork’. While a high-value bounty, it is reasonable to assume that the bounty on Baby Yoda could have been for much more than this.”
I would risk it all for baby yoda pic.twitter.com/Qb0W9LdTQY— love, sarah (@KeptinOnZeBridg) November 9, 2020
Also, the bounty on Princess Laia after the events of A New Hope was 10 million credits. Given that both characters have similar relative importance in these stories, a bounty between 1 million and 10 million credits seems plausible for Baby Yoda.
Converting credits to dollars is definitely not an exact science, but we can use context from the films to take a guess, According to Cherubini we can also compare two key prices mentioned in A New Hope. “Luke was looking to sell his land speeder for about 2,000 credits and the flight to Alderaan was between 10,000 and 17,000 credits.”
Cherubi adds that assuming that the land speeder was equivalent to a high schooler’s first car, “then we can use that value to set a standard. Again, we are making assumptions, but a high schooler’s used car fetching $2,000 sounds reasonable, which gives us an easy $1 to 1 credit conversion.”
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