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precarious since 1997 | by maryann johanson

question of the day: How would the economy in Harry Potter’s world differ most significantly from our own?

I stumbled across an article at The Economist recently headlined “The Harry Potter economy.” How cool is that?! I thought: a serious economics magazine is extrapolating upon the economic implications of magic. That is some mega-geekery.

As it turns out, the article is just another rundown of the money side of the Harry Potter franchise in our muggle world: how rich Rowling is, how much money the books and movies have made for everyone involved, etc., including a sweetly baffled section on fanac — fan fiction, fan films, that kind of thing — that appears to believe that active, creative fandom was invented by imaginative 12-year-olds around 2003 or so.
Anyway, the article got me thinking: Well, what about the economy in Harry Potter’s world? Clearly, Rowling gave it some major thought. There’s not only money in the wizarding world, and shopping — significant portions of some of the books take place in Diagon Alley, the wizard shopping mall — but also class issues: there are rich wizards and poor wizards, so obviously being able to do magic is no guarantee that you’ll be well off. (Are there unscrupulous witches and wizards who use their powers to gain muggle wealth? What do wizards and witches think of muggle wealth? Does it somehow not “count”?)

What do you think? How would the economy in Harry Potter’s world differ most significantly from our own?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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