With the destruction of the Second Deathstar over the Sanctuary moon of Endor the Empire began its steady decline into obscurity. However the "darkest period of Galactic History" is, in fact a half truth. Indeed if you ignore the acts of genocide and mass murder committed by Imperial Troops and the Fleet and looked at the administration of the Galaxy, the Empire was actually a force for good.
The Clone Wars rocked the galaxy, not just on the Outer Rim but also on central core worlds, Kamino, Mygeeto, Felucia, Kashyyk and even Coruscant itself was hit by the War. The debt left by the Old Republic was the largest the Galaxy had seen in a long time and the reparations and restructuring costs were phenomenal.
The Old Republic's slow open forum senate would never have raised the funds to repair the Galaxy and the Government, under Supreme Chancellor Palpatine took the step of taking direct control. Where as before each planet would argue for its own restructure and its own trading rights etc the Empire could direct and rebuild from a central position, rating the planets and sectors by order of importance.
|Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin|
Indeed with the creation of the Grand Moffs the pressure was taken off the Central Government. Each Grand Moff would administer a sector, such as Tarkin's Sesswanna sector, and he would then administer the needs of his Sector using the resources of the Sector to increase revenues and better the planets within the sector. Central Government were unconcerned by the way these sectors were run as long as support and tithes were paid directly into their coffers. There were also Imperial agencies like INTSEC, COMPNOR and the Imperial Military intelligence Ubiquitous to keep an eye on Imperial officers and administration to make sure levels of corruption, which had been rife in the Republic, were kept as low as possible.
The Empire also increased Public spending in an attempt to reboot Galactic economy. Large Ship building programs and facilities were massively encouraged and undertaken in quickly "Galacticised" companies such as the Star yards at Kuat Drive Yards, or Seiner Fleet Systems (manufacturers of the famous TIE fighters) as well as Super weapons like the Deathstar project, Torpedo spheres and World Devastators.
Private investors were also encouraged with the creation wealthy Skyhooks over Core worlds for the elite in society.
Individual trading companies were needed to shift resources around the Galaxy and Imperial Credits were used to encourage this as well as bring trade around sectors.
The Public sector was also heavily subsidised by the Empire, a huge military machine was established and although there were a few clones left after the original war, there was a smaller number than you would imagine and the bulk of the Imperial Military was made of volunteers and conscripts all of whom needed paying and eventual pensions. The Imperial Military were indeed often the first point of contact for many across the Galaxy and even rim worlds like Tatioone has a small garrison of twelve Stormtroopers with the relevant support personnel, as well as other Imperial personnel serving planetside and fighting unemployment. Also the Imperial presence on the planets helped augment local police forces and system defence forces that tried to fight of the scourge of the space lanes - pirates and slavers. Under Imperial protection convoys and merchants could travel in relative safety, the sight of an Imperial Class Stardestroyer is often enough to deter even the most hardened criminal. Civil unrest could also be dealt with by the deployment of Stormtroopers or Imperial Army regiments in riot gear which would more than cope with local thugs and irate citizenry.
Indeed the Empire opened up new areas of the Galaxy to civilisation. The need for raw materials and living space for colonists meant that Imperial programs to locate and mine materials and minerals meant many craft were dispatched to the far reaches of space. Other "backwater" worlds were rapidly improved by Imperial investment projects and direct control by the Grand Moffs or Central government and local businesses and modes of production were stimulated.
The Rebel Alliance are fixated on returning to the period of the Old Republic, which proved itself to be slow and corrupt with each planet vighing for itself against the greater good of the Galactic whole. It too was undemocratic and its very fall came about by it's lack of Democracy and allowing the Confederacy of Independent Systems to cede from the Republic's administration.
Yes, the Empire did carry out some heinous acts to maintain order and to combat crime, but it also brought the Galactic economy back on track with Austerity measures and rapid investment in the Public and Government sector as well as stimulating Private companies.