Just like any other from of entertainment, Star Wars is always taking real world elements and applying them to the Galaxy Far, Far Away. One thing that is ever present in our world is banking and the financial industry. Because I happen to work in the financial industry, I thought it would be a great idea to take an in-depth look and see just how Star Wars uses these institutions and applies them.
Throughout most of the Star Wars saga, the InterGalactic Banking Clan has been the leader of finance in the Galaxy. Led by the finicky and conformist Muun’s, the IBC (common shorthand) has been around since the formation of the Galactic Republic. The IBC is one of the strongest corporations in the Galaxy, located on the planet of Muunilinst where they are led by the most powerful family clans among the planet.
One of the clear differences between the state of the financial Galaxy and our own financial world is that our institutions are not ruled over by family clans and we do not have one singular institution that is the majority controller over all dealings.
In The Clone Wars the IBC takes a front seat in several episodes, especially in an arc in Season 6 that features Padme and Rush Clovis. While being a corporate entity the IBC was represented in the Galactic Senate and services both the Republic and the Separatists. This lead to great trepidation and suspicion from Padme who believed that the Clan was in league with the Separatists while still profiting off their relationship to the Republic.
“The InterGalactic Banking Clan will support you wholeheartedly, Count Dooku. But only in a nonexclusive arrangement.“
This is a quote from IBC Chairman San Hill at a Separatist meeting just prior to the Battle of Geonosis. This certainly wouldn’t be an agreement that could exist in real world finance.
One similarity that I have noticed is the close ties of the IBC and the Trade Federation, which very much makes sense when compared to the real world. For us, international trade has been in existence for hundreds of years and in the GFFA even longer. For trade to be successful it often needs large financial backings from banks and other institutions. Not only to regulate importing and exporting but also to keep control of taxing, exchange rates, and interest rates. It must also be said that any bank’s main goal is to make money and thus banking in Star Wars is even more of a reflection of our real world institutions, whether good or bad.
Of all the things involving the InterGalactic Banking Clan or events and subsidiaries thereof, my favorite is what happens in the course of James Luceno’s novel, Darth Plagueis. Darth Sidious’ Master, Darth Plagueis, under the guise of his public persona Hego Damask II, was a high ranking member in the IBC. Plagueis was the head of Damask Holdings, which was a financial subsidiary of the IBC, but also acted as a political lobbying organization as well as a secret source of wealth for Plagueis.
When acting as Hego Damask, Plagueis would first meet Palpatine and use him has his agent to report back on Damask Holdings’ efforts to elect their own candidate for the Naboo throne. Plagueis learned that there was a massive reserve of plasma deep beneath the capital, Theed, which would be extremely profitable for those on his side. It is here where we first see glimpses of the Dark Side that are showing themselves in young Palpatine.
After Plagueis’ dealings with Palpatine and successfully gaining access to the throne, and more importantly the plasma, he envisioned him as just the right person to enact the final stages of the Grand Plan. The two went on to cause certain events, all while using their public guises and the wealth and influence of the IBC and Damask Holdings to ascend to the Chancellorship. Then, as the Rule of Two dictates, Palpatine would murder Plagueis the night before he would be elected as Supreme Chancellor, obviously leading us right into the events of Episode I.
So what do you think? Do our real world connections in banking and finance make you consider the same in Star Wars? Have you read Darth Plagueis and been engrossed in the financial and political intrigue? I’d love to hear your thoughts! You can email me at email@example.com or contact me on Twitter at @mike_audette.
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