Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter | TigerDroppings.com

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Tiger1242
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Member since Jul 2011
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Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter



First lets be clear that this is involving the books, the movies don't explain/show some things differently and certainly leave a lot more plot and background holes than the books (although the books leave plenty). Also lets be clear that work is extremely slow for me today so I can put quite a bit of thought into this...

Now, how exactly does the economy work in the world of Harry Potter? It seems to me with magic there would be little need for money, you can conjure up most of the things you need (shelter, clothing, entertainment), you can't create food but you can increase the quantity if you have some food, and you have little to no transportation costs bc you can apparate and take the Flu Network. Also, although the wizard world does not use muggle money, it seems to me that if you knew magic you could easily produce or do things to make a lot of money in the muggle world, and use it to buy things like food, housing, and other essentials. Honestly it's shocking how little wizards seem to know about muggle society or muggle money, why wouldn't they get high paying jobs and use that money to fill their needs?


Also there is the less talked about use of house elves, which are free laborers, so basically they are slaves and most of them are happy about it. All you need is a few house elves to do all your housekeeping or farming for you, hell you could probably send a house elf out to get a job and make you money.

Now you need money for things like school supplies, wands, going out to eat/bars, magical toys like broomsticks, ect... But when you don't need money for so many other things it should be pretty easy to keep a little spending money around I would think.




All of that being said money is clearly a big deal in the wizard world, just look at how the Weasley's are ridiculed by wealthier families like the Malfoy's, and how big of a deal it was that Harry's parents left him all that money, and how much power the goblins at Gringotts have. Even still though the Weasley's can't be hurting THAT badly since they can afford to bring the whole family to the Quidditch World Cup, and 3 of the sons seem to have legitimate jobs that would pay (not to mention Arthur has a stable job).

So it is kind of confusing that they care so much about money, since it seems to me they really don't have a need for it. My best personal explanation is that having name brand/new/expensive things is more important in the wizarding world than the muggle world. You don't need money but having it gives you some sort of superiority over others. Still though I don't see why the Weasley's couldn't have magiced themselves nicer things and a better house, why didn't they?

Here is an explanation I found online

quote:

A part of this is more or less explained in "Quidditch through the ages." It's simple really. Different wizards and witches have different talents and/or actual powers. Not everybody can make a broomstick fly or charm a dangerous beast. As such, different abilities and attributes give certain people obvious jobs. And as such, you need currency. Sure, most wizards and witches could survive by themselves, conjuring up food and such, but it'd be less then the ideal life. With the exception of ghosts and immortals, few could live long enough to learn everything about magic and become completely self sufficient. They have magic, not omnipotence.

The simple answer would be, they can't create anything they want. They do not live in boundary-less world. They can't just conjure money out of nowhere. Well, they probably can. But the Ministry of Magic probably keeps that illegal, for obvious reasons. It would be like counterfeiting.

It's never clearly stated, but I suspect that they can't just create anything they want. It still has to be made from existing raw materials, even though magic replaces technology in assisting the production process. Note that there aren't any Hogwarts classes in creation: transfiguration, illusion, summoning, transporting, yes, but not creating something from scratch that didn't exist before. If you did manage to create something by magic, it would be made of magic, and probably not have quite the same properties as even an enchanted physical object would.

Even if I'm wrong about that, the time-honored reason to have a medium of exchange still holds true: Specialization. Either there are some things that only some people know how to make, or some people make some things better than others. You yourself could go to the fabric store and sew your own clothes--assuming you can sew--heck, you could grow the cotton and weave and dye it, but it's easier to go to a store and buy clothing ready-made. Given that there are brand names for things, the wizarding world has both specialization and mass production.

I guess this makes sense but still the Weasley's have proven to be excellent wizards so I don't see where magic skills play a part in it. I don't know the answer to be honest, why is money such a big deal to wizards when they can live actually very successful lives without it?


Wow this post is long, I guess I will talk about the wizarding government (which seems like an Oligarchy more so than a Democracy even in the earlier books) later on.







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Tedock
LSU Fan
Little Rock
Member since Jun 2014
199 posts

re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


I love the books but as I got older I started to realize that JK Rowling didnt put a whole lot of thought into some of the world buidling.

The magic in the series has no depth, its just wand waving and funny sounding words and its inconsistent too. The Killing Curse is one example that makes no sense to me. Its an Unforgivable Curse, the worse one, but what about the curse that Peter Pettigrew used to blow up a fricking city block or the once curse they mention that turns your insides into outsides. Those curses seem to be a lot more awful than just falling over dead instantly.

Also Quidditch is the most pants on head retarded imaginary sport ever created. The golden snitch basically renders everything else irrelevant.






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Dire Wolf
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Sudden Valley
Member since Sep 2008
8919 posts

re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


I always pictured a semi-socialist society

Magic works has everyone basic need the government shouldn't have to produce everything for the lower class. As you said being poor is not the end of the world so upward mobility is not the biggest concern. So after that people find their niche and become as successful as their skills allow them.


Having communist/socialist party always explains why the government was so easily corrupted. Since money isn't as big of a concern wealth is defined in power. The corrupt sought public office or political influence (darko and co)


btw, i am completely talking out of my ass



This post was edited on 7/9 at 1:35 pm


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Tiger1242
LSU Fan
Member since Jul 2011
22837 posts

re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Let's not get into Quidditch pleas it's been beaten to death.
I do agree with what you're saying about curses though. She made a lot of rules/gave the government a lot of abilities that she shouldn't have. For instance they have the capability to be alerted and instantly appear when a word to their choosing is uttered, why not make that word the unforgivable curses and catch people who commit crimes instantly?

Also they can apparently track people who use magic (underage wizards), so do they keep tabs on everyone? If they do how have some bad people been free for so long?
They are making kids get licenses for apparating in the 6th book but it's never mentioned again, can they track apparition use?

The government sure does have a lot of capabilities for their to be so many bad wizards wondering around unchecked and unknown






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Tiger1242
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Member since Jul 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Yea there is definitely some kind of socialism/communism going on, I'd say it's more of an Oligarchy though where a few people have all the power and can seemingly do whatever they want, which is why you have people like Dumbledore and members of the Order of the Phoenix who have to work outside the laws the government enforces in order to help society





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sbr2
Member since Apr 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


But they have newspapers with moving pictures on them! You can't explain that!





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Billy Mays
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Member since Jan 2009
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

Also Quidditch is the most pants on head retarded imaginary sport ever created. The golden snitch basically renders everything else irrelevant.



I would assume catching it is nearly impossible - only the GOATs have a chance, and it even takes a bit of luck (like it going into Potter's mouth on accident).

Maybe the books provide a different view on it, IDK.






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AngryBeavers
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Member since Jun 2012
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

The golden snitch basically renders everything else irrelevant.


Never understood this either. Why wouldn't you just have a goalie and everyone else look for the snitch?






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Tiger1242
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Member since Jul 2011
22837 posts

re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Please get off of Quidditch, no it doesn't make any sense. Why not just have a goalie and a team full of Seekers. She clearly made it so Harry could be the most important, let's change the subject





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Tedock
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Little Rock
Member since Jun 2014
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

I would assume catching it is nearly impossible - only the GOATs have a chance, and it even takes a bit of luck (like it going into Potter's mouth on accident).


The game only ends when the snitch has been caught. Thats what makes it so stupid. If there was a set time limit and catching the snitch wasnt required then I could see it as something akin to a last second hail mary. Or if it was just soccer on brooms with the bludgers thrown in then it would have been fine.






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SoDakHawk
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


I thought the Golden Snitch was worth like 500 points or something and the game continued until it was caught. I remember when reading that it is possible for a team to outscore an opponent so badly that even catching the Golden Snitch could not make up the point difference.

Also, I seem to remember her mentioning some matches could last for days.

As for the ecconomics/government, definitely reminded me of a Russian style society with a consolidation of power at the top.

I probably would have shunned the magic world, went to Vegas and used my magic power to rake it at the tables. Live a life of luxury in the human world, though I bet there were laws against that in the wizarding world and I would have been sent Azkaban.






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Tiger1242
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Member since Jul 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

I probably would have shunned the magic world, went to Vegas and used my magic power to rake it at the tables. Live a life of luxury in the human world, though I bet there were laws against that in the wizarding world and I would have been sent Azkaban.

Probably this, but it's never explained






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Dr RC
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Member since Aug 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

Please get off of Quidditch, no it doesn't make any sense. Why not just have a goalie and a team full of Seekers. She clearly made it so Harry could be the most important, let's change the subject


lol wut?

Why not have soccer players just stand near the goal and launch it down to them for easier goal scoring chances?

Oh yea. B/c there is a rule against that.

The rule in Quidditch is you only get one seeker. Pretty simple.


Also, catching the snitch is worth 150 points so it is very possible to beat the shite out of a team so badly it wouldnt matter if they caught it.

in fact, this actually happened in Goblet of Fire at the World Cup when Krum caught the snitch while Bulgaria was down 160 points to Ireland.



This post was edited on 7/9 at 2:02 pm


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Jcorye1
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


JK Rowling fell arse first into a great idea.

Her society wouldn't work, as she never explained why wizards can't just create shite constantly.

If I had to take a stab, land would be the most expensive asset you could buy, as you can create magical houses and shit, but there seems to be agreements that you can't move people's locations of business and residential magically.






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Jcorye1
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Member since Dec 2007
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

Also Quidditch is the most pants on head retarded imaginary sport ever created. The golden snitch basically renders everything else irrelevant.



IIRC Harry was a balls to the wall prodigy. Most games would last long enough that the snitch wasn't an automatic winner.






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OMLandshark
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Member since Apr 2009
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


Honestly, Hermione saying that they "can't make food" is quite a lot of bull shite. Not only is it possible, but there is an entire course dedicated to it: transfiguration. They turn things into animals in that class all the damn time. Why couldn't they transfigure an inanimate object into a chicken?





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BloodSweat&Beers
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

But they have newspapers with moving pictures on them! You can't explain that!


.gif






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Tiger1242
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Member since Jul 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

Her society wouldn't work, as she never explained why wizards can't just create shite constantly.

Well she kind of does
Gamp's Law of Elemental Transfiguration

Remember these are like laws of gravity, not laws people make up

Basically there are things that you are unable to create and/or change with magic, like you can't create food. We never get all 5 but we can make reasonable assumptions as to what they probably are

1. You cannot create food out of anything else (although you can enlarge it or increase the amount) confirmed

2. Money - I think we can say with pretty much certainty that there is some kind of enchantment or something preventing you from creating or multiplying money (not to mention it's counterfeiting which is illegal) Not confirmed but pretty much agreed to be true

3. Intentional Curse damage - It is shown several times throughout the books that injuries caused by curses cannot be undone with magic, you can heal a broken arm with a wand if you fall off your broom, but if someone breaks your arm with a curse you can't magic it better. This is a fact and confirmed in the books, and I think we can safely say it is one of Gamp's Laws

4. Bringing Someone Back from the Dead - You can reanimate bodies, talk to pictures, create elixars that make you immortal, and interact with ghosts; hell you can even bring somebodies spirit back to their body (with the resurrection stone), but you can't fully bring somebody back to life with magic. This is also confirmed, but I'm not sure if it is one of Gamp's laws or not

5. The 5th one I am less sure about, maybe Energy? As in you can't take energy from one place and bring it somewhere else with magic?


quote:

If I had to take a stab, land would be the most expensive asset you could buy, as you can create magical houses and shit, but there seems to be agreements that you can't move people's locations of business and residential magically.

Also what you just described is stealing, I'm pretty sure there are laws against stealing property whether magic or not






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Dr RC
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Dallas
Member since Aug 2011
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re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


quote:

Honestly, Hermione saying that they "can't make food" is quite a lot of bull shite. Not only is it possible, but there is an entire course dedicated to it: transfiguration. They turn things into animals in that class all the damn time. Why couldn't they transfigure an inanimate object into a chicken?


b/c that isnt how the spell works

just b/c you have magic doesnt mean you can do whatever the hell you want.

I dont see why the money thing is so odd to people. Its very clear throughout the books and movies that wizards dont all have the same powers. Its one of the main reasons Hogwarts separates students into different houses. Certain students excel at some things while being poor at or unable to do others.

Hell, Seamus can barely pull off a spell w/o it blowing up in his face. The Weasley twins kick so much arse at prank spells they are able to have a successful business out of it.

I think its pretty normal that wizards who rock at certain spells would want to be compensated for doing them for others.






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Dam Guide
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Nooga
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4496 posts

re: Diving into the Economics and Politics of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter


nvm, beat me to it


This post was edited on 7/9 at 2:25 pm


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