The glaring problem with the Harry Potter universe we don't talk about

Sam Wiegand
Tuesday 03 October 2017 08:30
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It's been 21 years since the first Harry Potter book hit shelves and captivated the hearts and minds of people worldwide. More than two decades later, we're still talking about it, and Quora user Sam Wiegand has one particular nitpick worth noting.

Living in the Wizarding World would be horrific to a modern Muggle.

It may be modeled on real-world Britain, but it has a huge and horrible list of flaws. For example:

1. Huge economic inequality. Not that our own societies are free from this, but also…

2. Those with lots of money have lots of power. One can argue that most real societies suffer this flaw as well. Which is true. But in the real world, developed countries have strong systems in place to prevent this. Checks and balances, diffusion of power, conflicts of interest. Lucius Malfoy could not simply waltz into Congress and expect the media not to have a field day on him. Which leads to…

3. Apparently, there is no reliable media. Every reasonable character knows well how sensationalistic the Daily Prophet is. The Quibbler is a joke. The most popular publications are the equivalents of Fox News and People magazine—highly biased, with zero accountability.

4. Again about income inequality… is there no welfare system in place? The Weasleys are shown to be very poor despite Arthur having a government job. At the least he should get certain benefits.

5. Speaking of benefits, does insurance exist in magical Britain? What about health care? When Arthur Weasley was attacked by Nagini, did he have to pay the medical costs? (Edit: health care is probably paid. I certainly hope so, knowing how well medical insurance works otherwise. Though I wonder about other forms of insurance—life, home, etc. Families of Ministry workers and those who die in battle seem to receive some compensation, but I wonder about other cases.

6. The money system is flawed regardless. They're still using gold and silver standards. Do they have Muggle provisions to prevent something like this?

7. Are there public schools? Or more than the three we know of for all Europe? (Edit: comments noted that Rowling has said outside of the books that tuition is paid by the Ministry, but not the cost of books, etc. unless students receive fund money. See Half-Blood Prince.)

8. Apparently wizards don't need math or science. Arithmancy? Sounds doubtful.

9. Many high-level spells could be easily accomplished using modern Muggle technology. No Dumbledore required!

That's probably enough for one answer. I do love Harry Potter, really! And there are of course plot-related reasons Rowling didn't go into more careful detail in her world. It's just amusing to view it through more realistic eyes every now and then.

This article originally appeared on Quora

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