Nothing Leprechaun Gold Can Stay: Financial Lessons From “Harry Potter”

• Witches and wizards apparently operate in a cash only society. Maybe you too can get by without a credit card!

• “One can never have enough socks. Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.” —Dumbledore, who should start celebrating Hannukah

• The wizarding world does not seem capitalist; in fact, it seems barely post-industrial, perhaps in line with JRR Tolkien’s shire. Everyone is pretty happy even though no one makes it onto Forbes’ Fictional 15. More leaning back, drinking butterbeer, and watching Quidditch for us all.

• 1 Galleon = 17 Sickles = 493 Knuts. This must be mocking the pre-1971 British currency system, where 2 farthings = 1 half-penny, 12 pence = 1 shilling, 5 shillings = 1 Crown, and so on. Decimalization FTW.

• Keep your money safe by hiding it in a locked vault at the bottom of a goblin bank protected by blind dragons. Or the modern equivalent: a CD.

• According to Wikibooks, “the use of magic will significantly distort the economy from what we Muggles expect, because chattels can be created and changed to other chattels effectively at no economic cost; so it is entirely possible that the Prophet can still turn a profit at a cost of 5 Knuts (or even 1 Knut) an issue.” Or maybe print is even dead in fake Britain.

• Always tip your owls. What does your owl do with its coins? Same thing it does with vole bones, we assume.

• Beware of boards. Institutions beholden to Boards of Governors will inevitably make poor decisions, like to kill innocent hippogriffs or put pink-wearing sociopaths in charge.

• “As much money and life as you could want! The two things most human beings would choose above all. The trouble is, humans do have a knack of choosing precisely those things that are worst for them.

• Writing a children’s story about an orphan forced by mean relatives to live in a cupboard under the stairs and never given enough to eat made JK Rowling the richest author in the world but first her advance was only £1,500, and that was after she had been turned down by 12 publishers, so keep at it, y’all. MFA, NYC, whatever.


PS: “JK Rowling is to write the screenplay a for a new Harry Potter-style adventure about Grynt Cashfarm, the wizard who created money. Set 70 years before the Harry Potter stories, Fantastic Piles of Money and Where to Find Them, will be a dazzling, CGI-laden spectacular about one wizard’s limitless appetite for wealth.”


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