Friday 2 November 2012

If I had 4.05 billion dollars...

Disney buys LucasFilm and all anybody can talk about is what will happen with the Star Wars franchise, as though there's anywhere it can go but up.*

Rather more interesting:** George Lucas owned LucasFilm outright. So he now has $4.05 billion burning a hole in his pocket. Forbes put him at $3.3 billion as of September 2012; I guess that goes up a bit now. What do you do if you suddenly have $4.05 billion in liquid assets instead of owning a company valued in the billions?

Forbes notes he recently gave $33k to Obama's victory fund; I'm guessing political contributions aren't high on his agenda. He also gave $175m to U Southern California in 2006. So we might expect a bit of action in the education philanthropy space.

I've no clue what Lucas will do with his now more liquid portfolio. But I know what I'd do: Take half of it and make a big bet on Seasteading. I'd reconcile myself to being really likely to lose the money; that isn't the point. But imagine taking $2 billion, building a half dozen Seastead hubs, getting open-source plans up for anybody else who wanted to do the same, and then sell barge-houses that could dock modularly to any of the hubs. The Seasteading Institute figures it would cost just a bit over $110m to build a Seastead. Double that and you still have change left over for building a half dozen. Worst-case, you only have $2 billion to play with afterwards. Best case, you've entrenched a model that can revolutionise governance.

Not having $4.05 billion, I'll stick to my Octopus-level support.

* Seriously, watch the RedLetterMedia critiques. Anakin gets a cryptic warning that Padme will die in childbirth, and instead of taking her to a med droid for a check-up, he joins Palpatine and kills all the younglings? I swear the script had a section [Fill in reason for joining Dark Side here] and they just left it blank 'till 5 minutes before filming.

** Another fun thought-experiment: do we in 2072 get a 1977 copyright fixed point for Steamboat Wookie?


  1. Do NOT tempt Murphy by saying that Star Wars can only go up. Please

  2. "Coruscant... the whole planet is one big seastead."


    Education? C'mon.

  4. Barring a change in Govt policy capital gains taxes go up next year quite considerably; so Lucas gains by selling now and using his "saved" money for his favourite causes. Could be a couple of farms in NZ in the mix?


  5. To be fair, those younglings had it coming.

  6. He should re-release the original trilogy on dvd and blu-ray. Get rid of all the ridiculous changes.