Abolish the Ministry of Magic: Our World Is Better Than Harry Potter’s

I haven’t read Harry Potter but found this bit on Harry Potter and Ministry of Magic interesting. It also reminded me of another fun post in Manasi’s humor blog which defends why economists are not muggles with her son (This blog agree more with her son though!).

Coming to this Ministry of magic one, the author says we are far better off than not having a ministry of magic:

Would you want to live in the world of Harry Potter? Many readers wish they could magically transport themselves to Hogwarts or Diagon Alley, but despite all the witchcraft and wizardry, J.K. Rowling’s fictional world is simply not as good as ours. Life in the real world today is safer, more prosperous, and more comfortable than it has ever been. Why would anyone prefer the magical world of stymied progress and arbitrary authority?

The Harry Potter series is a great and epic story, but we must not be blinded by our love for it. Witches and wizards are stuck, after all, with Medieval technology. They can rarely make use of the nonmagical muggle world’s developments, nor can they unite the best of both worlds, because government regulations forbid them from doing so.

Even before the rise of Voldemort, the Ministry of Magic undermined the magical world, preserving poverty and hindering progress.

Perhaps, adding the ministry bit just makes the tale more appealing to children. As children we love playing games where someone is this big controller and others play the game around her/him.

Children also understand exchange very well, as mentioned in the post as well:

Some libertarians have tried to claim Harry as one of their own, but notice that Harry never questions the continuing existence of the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy long after muggles have stopped persecuting witches.

It is a grave mistake of the Ministry of Magic not to see magic as a service. The wizards know there is a muggle demand for magic, and sorcery is not a “fixed pie.” Why restrict free exchange between the magical and muggle worlds? Imagine if the Weasleys, who struggle financially, could perform magic for money. They could rise out of poverty while making muggles’ lives easier.

The ministry, however, not only forbids such voluntary exchanges; it even outlaws the magical use of muggle technology. Sorry, everyone: no flying cars allowed. (Notice, however, that the magical government exempts itself from such restrictions, as the ministry cars can magically jump ahead of traffic.)

The books’ protagonists fight for the rights of various creatures, but they still look down on muggles, however lovingly. The word muggle is even used by otherwise sympathetic characters as an expletive. Free trade with the muggles, where both parties can reveal who they actually are, would create tolerance as each side could supply the other with useful goods. What we have instead is a trade embargo that the muggles don’t even know about. In our world, embargoes are designed to isolate and punish an enemy. Apparently, Voldemort and his minions aren’t the only ones who see muggles as the enemies of witches and wizards.


Perhaps an interesting way to introduce these ideas of market vs bureaucracy to young students…


2 Responses to “Abolish the Ministry of Magic: Our World Is Better Than Harry Potter’s”

  1. manasiecon Says:

    Hi Amol,
    What an amazing way to connect Potter to trade! The book really creates an impression of an embargo between wizards and muggles, something that Harry supports tacitly.. Sometimes when governments fail to arrive at optimality and the market mechanism isn’t allowed for whatever reason, individuals get together to search for a via media. Maybe Ron Weasley and family are representatives of the Coase theorem!Anne Krueger would have quickly identified Lucius Malfoy to be quite the rent seeker, and horcruxes would be the inter temporal instrument of the eternally living household 😁👍 Economics and Potter!

  2. Amol Agrawal Says:

    Hi Manasi.

    I am just clueless on Potter and its characters But yes most basic economic ideas are surely seen in our world and Potter world. There is a reason why they connect and stay for a long time.

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