Wizarding Employment: They're All Government Jobs

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Wizarding Employment: They're All Government Jobs

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:28 am

Wizarding Employment: They're All Government Jobs

This topic serves as an archive of a thread from the Harry Potter Lexicon Forum as hosted on World Crossing which ceased operation on April 15, 2011. Elanor

Michael Franz - Apr 10, 2008 7:41 pm
Edited by Detail Seeker Jan 3, 2009 1:07 pm
The Ministry of Magic is a vast place which always seems to be filled with wizards and witches. There are departments, sub-departments, undersecretaries, and paper-pushers; in short, a vast bureaucracy that would do any Muggle government proud.

But how can this be? We know the wizarding population of Britain can't be very large. There's only one wizarding school, one wizarding hospital, and one all-wizard village. All wizarding shops and businesses seem to be contained in Diagon Alley, Knockturn Alley, and Hogsmeade, and most of them are sole proprietorships. When you shop at Ollivander's, for instance, there's just Ollivander and no one else. It's a testament to the vast size and popularity of Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes that they actually needed to hire an single employee! Where do the rest of the wizards work?

The solution is simple. Any wizard who isn't a shopkeeper, healer, or professor works for the Ministry. For the vast majority of magical adults, the Ministry is the wizarding world. Of course, that raises the question: if the Ministry pays most people's salaries, who pays the Ministry? How can taxes work on a populace that almost all have government jobs?
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Wizarding Employment: They're All Government Jobs (Post 1 to 17)

Post  Elanor on Sat Jun 04, 2011 3:29 am

PeskyPixie - Apr 10, 2008 9:32 pm (#1 of 17)
" ... if the Ministry pays most people's salaries, who pays the Ministry? How can taxes work on a populace that almost all have government jobs?"

It's magic!

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Verity Weasley - Apr 10, 2008 11:32 pm (#2 of 17)

Other possible employers are the Daily Prophet, Witch Weekly, the Wizarding Wireless Network, Gringotts. We also know there are professional wizard bands and quidditch players. I'm sure there are other wizarding occupations that we may not have seen directly.

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Verity Weasley - Apr 11, 2008 3:17 am (#3 of 17)

I was just thinking, there must be a Butterbeer brewery somewhere as well. They'd have some employees. And the Knight Bus has at least two jobs.

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mona amon - Apr 11, 2008 4:54 am (#4 of 17)

A lot of the wizards we meet do not have gainful employment but just have piles of inherited gold lying in Gringotts vaults, which they live on (James, Sirius, Lucius, Bellatrix). I wonder how that affects the economy.

How can taxes work on a populace that almost all have government jobs? (Michael Franz)

But the services have to be paid for, I assume. School fees, hospital fees etc? I remember Apparition lessons were 12 galleons.

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Elanor - Apr 11, 2008 6:26 am (#5 of 17)

There are few wizard shops but there must be quite a lot of people working on producing what they sell: from broomsticks to cauldrons, quills, books, apothecary products etc. And let's not forget the Wizarding Owl Post services, or other "exotic" jobs as the training of Security trolls!

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Orion - Apr 11, 2008 10:09 am (#6 of 17)

That is a great question, Michael Franz, I've been wondering about that for ages! Hogwarts doesn't seem to collect fees, it's completely ministry-financed. It is a huge and very expensive place, even there are only a handful of teachers. Even if you consider that the house elfs only demand food and a place to sleep, they are still many. And there is a lot of food to be bought, and wood for the fires, and they have a large water bill, and so on. (And still nobody has found out where wizards and witches shop for food, we haven't heard about a wizarding supermarket, and who do they buy their food from? There aren't any wizarding farmers and wizards don't do business with muggles.)

And how did Malfoy become so rich? The wizarding community in Britain is so small that he must at some time have violated the statute of secrecy and done business with muggles, because there aren't enough wizards to sell stuff to to really become rich. And where does the gold in Harry's bank account come from? They don't sow, they don't reap, but they are filthy rich, that is strange.

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PeskyPixie - Apr 11, 2008 11:03 am (#7 of 17)

"Hogwarts doesn't seem to collect fees, it's completely ministry-financed." -Orion

I thought that all students pay education fees, except those who are truly poor (e.g. Tom Riddle).

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wynnleaf - Apr 11, 2008 2:13 pm (#8 of 17)

Hogwarts has fees. DD mentions it to Tom Riddle, doesn't he?

Also, there are shops, inns, etc around Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, etc. And then there must be manufacturers of all those wizarding products, just like Fred and George were making their products for their store. The Quibbler is privately owned. And there are musicians and writers, therefore there are publishers and some venue for the musicians.

It makes sense for the government, the school, and possibly the hospital to be under the Ministry of Magic, especially since in the UK, and many other countries, all health and much education are under the government. Ditto the Prophet. Isn't the BBC government owned? So the Prophet being under the Ministry fits. Gringotts is seperate.

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Michael Franz - Apr 11, 2008 7:16 pm (#9 of 17)

Also, there are shops, inns, etc around Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, etc.

My point is that there really is no "etc." Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley are it.

And then there must be manufacturers of all those wizarding products, just like Fred and George were making their products for their store.

But that's the point. Fred and George make the products themselves; they don't have a factory or outsource the manufacturing to India. When you go to Madam Malkin's Robes, there's just Madam Malkin. And why not, when she can cut an entire pattern with a swish, flick, and Diffindo?

The Quibbler is privately owned.

And it consists of one man with a printing press.

And there are musicians and writers, therefore there are publishers and some venue for the musicians.

The publishers, as far as I know, are all in Diagon Alley. (Check your copy of Fantastic Beasts.) I don't know about the musicians, but there can't be enough of them to make a real difference in the employment rate.

Hogwarts has fees. DD mentions it to Tom Riddle, doesn't he?

He mentions buying spellbooks and other supplies, but he doesn't say anything about tuition.

They don't sow, they don't reap, but they are filthy rich, that is strange.

Well, if I didn't know better, I'd say they were Dungeons & Dragons adventurers. Those guys treat dragons' lairs like we treat ATMs.

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wynnleaf - Apr 11, 2008 9:54 pm (#10 of 17)

My point is that there really is no "etc." Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, and Knockturn Alley are it. (Michael)

Sure, but just how big is the population of the wizarding world in Britain? As far as I can figure, it's probably no bigger than about 10,000. That's the population of my county in which there are about 3 little towns, each with a "Main Street" shopping district about the size of a Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley. So yeah, those few areas of commerce seem about right for a population like the WW in Britain.

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Chemyst - Apr 12, 2008 6:15 pm (#11 of 17)

"Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up." A.A. Milne
Those guys treat dragons' lairs like we treat ATMs.
Then there you go! Problem solved!

The Ministry does seem to be disproportionately large for the wizard population. And the Muggle Division seems to be the one department that is way too small and understaffed because realistically (as realistic as fiction can be, at least) there would have to be more problems resulting from interaction with muggles than about anything else.

But at least part of the government employment numbers can be explained by acknowledging that there are other species within the magical world too. Centaurs and Merpeople may not participate in commerce enough to bulk up the wizard economy very much, but the goblins, hags, and house elves do. Furthermore, the wizard banking system appears to be more globalized and not as dependent on local, or even national economic forces as the muggles'. I think a more globalized economy would explain some of the increase of government employment.

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haymoni - Apr 12, 2008 10:16 pm (#12 of 17)

I think the ability to Apparate helps quite a bit.

You don't need local government, local police - you can keep everything at the Ministry. You might need loads of employees to cover the country, but they can all be based at the Ministry and employees just apparate wherever they are needed.

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Choices - Apr 17, 2008 3:18 pm (#13 of 17)

*Completely Obsessed With Harry Potter*
Perhaps the Ministry of Magic oversees/serves an area larger than just Great Britain and collects taxes and fees from this larger area.

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Julia H. - Apr 17, 2008 3:20 pm (#14 of 17)

Colonies?

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PeskyPixie - Apr 17, 2008 3:40 pm (#15 of 17)

Do wizards pay taxes?

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Orion - Apr 18, 2008 3:43 am (#16 of 17)

Maybe the Ministry with all its splendour and gold and marble isn't all tax financed. You can't increase money by magic, but a good wizard or witch can magic architecture and materials, transform or increase them.

Gold must be an exception, because galleons are made of gold, and gold would be a sort of money all of its own. (Even if galleons had their own anti-fake-charms on them.) Gold and any other valuable materials. I'm contradicting myself here. Hmm. Does anybody have thoughts on this?

Edited to add: That doesn't explain who on earth pays Arthur's wages.

Edited to add: The labour wouldn't cost a thing because the house-elfs are slaves and work for food and a shabby place to sleep. So any material used can be very expensively done, carved, painted, adorned and so on.

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Solitaire - Jan 1, 2009 9:18 pm (#17 of 17)

The Dumbledores and the Potters (not to mention Bathilda Bagshot) lived in Godric's Hollow, a Muggle village. I would assume that there would be one or two Wizarding establishments even in the smallest Muggle villages and towns, if there are enough Wizards living there. Maybe they would be hidden, or maybe they would just have an unplottable or hidden room for Wizards to get whatever things they might need that are different.

Travel is not much of an issue for most Wizards. Some may have expensive Firebolts, flying cars, or maybe even private "vehicles" similar to Madame Maxime's flying coach and horses or the Durmstrang ship; but I would imagine most adults travel via Floo network, the Knight Bus, broomstick, or apparating/disapparating. This pretty much eliminates transportation expenses from the budget, as they can get wherever they need to go easily enough.

I agree that there must be some sort of "creators" of the items sold by vendors like Madam Malkin. Perhaps she has some House-Elves that make her garments. I wonder how much work she has to do to create a robe. How much can be done by a wave of the hand, and how much actual cutting and sewing must actually be done ... even if it is done by scissors and sewing machines that are enchanted and can cut and sew by themselves?

Mr. Ollivander seems to make all of his own wands, but where does he get the "raw material"--the wood and magical elements that go into the wands? Does he go out and get it himself? He probably does not sell a wand everyday. I would imagine he has to sell the occasional "replacement" wand to those who lose or break theirs, but I would guess he sells the majority of them at the beginning of each school year to Witches and Wizards entering Hogwarts. That reminds me ... do you suppose most Wizards keep their original wands for a lifetime--unless they break or are lost somehow?

Since Fred & George are busy manufacturing their products (or so it appears), it makes sense that they would need help in the store to sell the merchandise. Someone has to make the broomsticks that are sold at Quality Quidditch Supplies. There must be numerous suppliers who provide all of those exotic things to the Apothecary, and Eeylops Owl Emporium and the Magical Menagerie must have people who breed and train the animals they sell. It seems to me that there are a lot of non-Ministry jobs one could have.
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