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6. How to Describe Business Life?

In this section I will discuss hypothesis 3: "J.K. Rowling's way of describing business life in the magical world is interesting and suitable for her readers".

1. It is demanding to recognize the business life because you need certain background knowledge to judge the economic parts of the story, for example the Common Market parodies in section 4.c. To illustrate that is here a non-economic example that takes certain knowledge of British everyday for granted: Mr Weasley arrives to the Muggle home of the Dursleys by transferring to the fireplace but finds it blocked:

    Loud bangings and scrapings were coming from behind the Dursleys' boarded-up fireplace, which had a fake coal fire plugged in front of it. ... [Harry] approached the fireplace and called through the boards:

    'Mr Weasley? Can you hear me?' ... it's Harry ... the fireplace has been blocked up. You won't be able to get through there.'

    'Damn' said Mr Weasley's voice. 'What on earth did they want to block up the fireplace for?' (4-4-51 f.)

This is funny, well, but much funnier if you know that in the Muggle world all British fireplaces in the cities are boarded up with fake coal fire plugged in front of them – and only wizards like Mr. Weasley doesn't know that.

2. How do the target groups understand the description of business life? In section 3.c I referred, how Rowling's writing has become more sophisticated as Harry Potter has grown older.

  • Young readers: Many children will recognize patterns from the shops they know. Some of the younger readers will not understand all the economic matters, but as long as they still feel that the story is exiting, they will continue reading and enjoy the text. They will remember the way Fred and George created a business of their own.
  • Adults can grasp the economic subplot and enjoy how it is mixed up with other parts of the action. Adults may recognize patterns and compare to their experience, so they will have the greatest yield of this part of the story.

3. Is the description of business life interesting? The economic subplot adds life and colour to the action of the books. Hopefully I have been able to show what I find interesting by the means of citations in sections 4 and 5. Many descriptions are quite funny. It is unlikely, that you will ever hear another bookseller explain a situation like this:

    'I thought we'd seen the worst when we bought two hundred copies of the Invisible Book of Invisibility – cost a fortune, and we never found them ... Well, is there anything else I can help you with?' (3-4-61)

4. Is the description of business life suitable? This is difficult to answer, because what is suitable depends on the target group.

  • Young readers: Today's business life is very complicated and cannot be explained in a children's book. It would be pointless to try to explain the complicated realities of nowadays, for example the economics of television commercials or the value of data warehousing. The simple description of business life connects the story to a part of the world that children meet in their everyday life.
  • Adults can enjoy the descriptions of the business life, including the parodies. However, the small-scale, stable description of business life may contain a danger in that respect that some readers may wish that today's business life would return to the Adam-Smith-like past. Regarded this way the description will have an ideological effect that I do not think was the intention of the author.

Summary:The description of business life is interesting, as it adds life and colour to the action of the books. The description is suitable as well, as the simple business life connects the story to a part of the world that children meet in their everyday life. However, the small-scale, stable description of the business life may contain a danger in that respect that some readers may wish that today's business life would return to the Adam-Smith-like past.

'The consequences of our actions are always so complicated, so diverse, that predicting the future is a very difficult business indeed.' Albus Dumbledore (3-22-459)

7. Judging the Hypotheses

Note: The text in this section consists of hypotheses repeated from section 1.a above merged with paragraphs repeated from section 4.e, 5.h, and 6 above.

Hypothesis 1:

The business life in Diagon Alley and elsewhere in the magical world agrees with Adam Smith's descriptions.

Summary: J.K. Rowling describes ordinary business life in the magical world as small-scale and relatively stable quite like Adam Smith saw business life in the ordinary world around him. However, there are traces of modern marketing in section 4.b.

Conclusion: I confirm hypothesis no. 1.

Hypothesis 2:

Fred and George Weasley's new business agree with Schumpeter's theories on entrepreneurs.

Summary: Schumpeter's six criteria for innovation are met in an exemplary way and to a higher degree than it would ever be possible in real life. There are three kinds of innovation involved: New goods, opening of a new market, and the carrying out of a new organization – and I believe that J.K. Rowling has created this regularity without knowing Schumpeter's criteria but out of sheer wish to tell an interesting story.

Conclusion: I confirm hypothesis no. 2.

Hypothesis 3:

J.K. Rowling's way of describing business life in the magical world is interesting and suitable for her readers.

Summary: The description of business life is interesting, as it adds life and colour to the action of the books. The description is suitable as well, as the simple business life connects the story to a part of the world that children meet in their everyday life. However, the small-scale, stable description of the business life may contain a danger in that respect that some readers may wish that today's business life would return to the Adam-Smith-like past.

Conclusion: I confirm hypothesis no. 3.

7.b Considerations of Validity

There are four considerations one always should take into account in social studies:

  1. Validity: Is this study actually examining what it claims to study? Yes, there is agreement between the hypotheses and the studied matters in sections 4 to 6.
  2. Reliability: Is the study carried out in a sufficiently exact way? Yes, I consider there is a reliable connection between the chosen theories and the findings in the text.
  3. Representability: Are data representative of the case? Yes. I have extracted and analyzed all parts of the text dealing with the exchange of goods and money from the Harry Potter books 1-6, meaning that there can be no problems with representability.
  4. Method: Is the chosen method appropriate? Yes, the model with interpretation of the author's intentions seems appropriate.

8. Sources

8.a Harry Potter Books

J.K. Rowling 1997: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, paperback 1998, 223 p.

J.K. Rowling 1998: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, paperback 2004, 366 p.

J.K. Rowling 1999: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, paperback 2004, 468 p.

J.K. Rowling 2000: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, paperback 2004, 796 pages

J.K. Rowling 2003: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 766 pages

J.K. Rowling 2005: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 607 pages

All of the Harry Potter books are published by Bloomsbury, London.

8.b Other Books

Esben Sloth Andersen 2004: Joseph A. Schumpeter, Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, København

Ib Andersen 2003: Den skinbarlige virkelighed (The Incarnate Reality, textbook of social sciences methods), Samfundslitteratur, København

Bukh, Bang & Hegaard 2004: Strategikort (Strategy Maps), Børsens Forlag, Copenhagen

Janet Hichman: Introduction, in Dorothy L. Sayers (1939): Striding Folly, New English Library, London, 1972

Richard Lynch 2003: Corporate Strategy, Third Edition, Prentice Hall, Harlow

Caroline B. van der Plas 2005: Harry Potter og oversætterens univers (Harry Potter and the Universe of the Translator), unpublished dissertation, September 2005, Aarhus School of Business

David Reisman 2004: Schumpeter's Market, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham

Jan-U. Sandal 2003: Jakten på Entreprenøren (Hunting the Entrepreneur), Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm

Dorothy L. Sayers 1933: Murder Must Advertise, Pockets Books, New York 1939

Joseph A. Schumpeter 1934: The Theory of Economic Development. An inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Seventh printing, 1961)

Adam Smith 1776: An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, seventh edition, 1773

8.c Internet Sites

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1a_CHAP__II_.html

http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1a_CHAP__VI_.html

http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1b_PART_FIRST_.html

http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1c.html

http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK4a_CHAP__II_.html

http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=80

http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=87447

http://www.wilkiecollins.demon.co.uk/coinage/coins.htm

9. Appendixes

9.a Books, Chapters, and Page Numbers

Here is a conversion table to find approximate page numbers in other editions, other languages etc.:

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

Ch. 1

7

7

7

7

7

7

Ch. 2

19

18

23

23

24

25

Ch. 3

28

31

39

34

43

42

Ch. 4

39

50

57

47

58

59

Ch. 5

49

74

79

60

76

81

Ch. 6

67

98

107

76

92

103

Ch. 7

85

115

135

86

112

124

Ch. 8

98

134

154

108

126

148

Ch. 9

107

154

176

132

137

163

Ch. 10

121

176

199

162

163

184

Ch. 11

133

198

22

176

181

205

Ch. 12

143

223

253

190

200

223

Ch. 13

158

246

274

213

226

242

Ch. 14

167

269

292

230

251

261

Ch. 15

177

286

315

251

274

284

Ch. 16

191

305

339

273

295

305

Ch. 17

209

329

358

299

312

327

Ch. 18

.

351

376

316

332

350

Ch. 19

.

.

686

344

352

374

Ch. 20

.

.

407

370

372

398

Ch. 21

.

.

416

398

390

419

Ch. 22

.

.

448

421

412

439

Ch. 23

.

.

.

440

433

460

Ch. 24

.

.

.

473

456

480

Ch. 25

.

.

.

499

480

500

Ch. 26

.

.

.

522

503

519

Ch. 27

.

.

.

554

528

541

Ch. 28

.

.

.

582

550

557

Ch. 29

.

.

.

613

574

570

Ch. 30

.

.

.

631

596

590

Ch. 31

.

.

.

657

520

.

Ch. 32

.

.

.

689

643

.

Ch. 33

.

.

.

698

662

.

Ch. 34

.

.

.

715

674

.

Ch. 35

.

.

.

726

689

.

Ch. 36

.

.

.

750

712

.

Ch. 37

.

.

.

776

723

.

Ch. 38

.

.

.

.

745

.

9.b List of Characters

Harry and friends:

Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger

Ron's family:

Parents Arthur Weasley and Molly Weasley, Elder brothers: Percy Weasley, Fred Weasley, George Weasley (and two more), younger sister Ginny Weasley

Hogwarts teachers:

Headmaster Albus Dumbledore, Professors: Minerva McGonagall, Rubeus Hagrid, Horace Slughorn, Gilderoy Lockhart, Dolores Umbridge

Other Hogwarts pupils:

Tom Riddle, McLaggen, Zabini, Melinda Bobbin, Lee Jordan

The Dursley family:

Petunia, Vernon, Dudley

Public servants:

Mr. Crouch, Ludo Bagman

Others:

Dobby: House-elf at Hogwarts
Madam Rosmerta: Landlord of The Three Broomsticks
Mundungus Fletcher: Shady character

9.c Countries and Nationalities Mentioned

All of the action takes place in England and Scotland (if Hogwarts is in Scotland), but there are a lot of other countries mentioned:

Book 2:

Majorca 2-1-13

Book 4:

In the chapters on Quidditch: Albania, Australia, Ireland, Peru (+ 6-6-116), Bulgaria, England, Transsylvania, Wales, Uganda, Luxembourg, Norway, Egypt

Book 5:

Spain 5-1-9, Greenland 5-5-77, Assyria 5-10-169, Poland 5-19-355

Strangely enough the United States are only mentioned in one sentence:

    .. while a group of middle-aged American witches sat gossiping happily beneath a spangled banner stretched between their tents which read: The Salem Witches' Institute. (4-7-93)

9.d Note on Tobacco, Alcohol, etc.

Tobacco is only mentioned sparingly. Among young people it is only in the Muggle world, as Dudley is smoking on street corners (5-1-8). Professor Wilhelmina Grubbly-Plank is smoking pipe (5-17-318), and some other grown-ups are smoking at pubs, etc.

Young people are allowed to drink Butterbeer (3-10-217). There is very little on strong alcohol. Exception: Ron is wondering, whether he could order Firewhisky in the Hog's Head in Hogsmeade (5-16-301).

The effects of drug abuse are discussed in books 1 and 6. In book 1 the Headmaster Albus Dumbledore explains the Mirror of Erised to Harry Potter:

    '.. shows us nothing more or less than the deepest, most desperate desire of our hearts. ... However, this mirror will give us neither knowledge or truth. Men have wasted away before it, entranced by what they have seen, or been driven mad, not knowing if what it shows is real or even possible.' (1-12-157)

In book 6 professor Slughorn is explaining how the love potion works:

    'Amortentia doesn't really create LOVE, of course. It is impossible to manufacture or imitate love. No, this will simply cause a powerful infatuation or obsession. It is probably the most dangerous and powerful potion in this room – oh yes,' he said, nodding gravely at Malfoy and Nott, both of whom were smirking sceptically. 'When you have seen as much of life as I have, you will not underestimate the power of obsessive love ...' (6-9-177)

Slughorn is describing the Felix Felicis potion, which make you lucky:

    'Desperately tricky to make, and disastrous to get wrong. However, if brewed correctly, as this has been, you will find that all your endeavours tend to succeed ... at least until the effects wear off.'

    'Why don't people drink it all the time, sir?' said Terry Boot eagerly.

    'Because if taken in excess, it causes giddiness, recklessness and dangerous overconfidence,' said Slughorn. 'Too much of a good thing, you know ... highly toxic in large quantities, but taken sparingly, and very occasionally ...(6-9-177)

9.e Storytelling as Marketing for Film No. 5

What is Warner Brothers' idea of releasing the story below? I think that the idea is to let us know that behind the characters of Harry Potter and Hermione are real human beings, who grow up and must pass their examinations in real life. Have pity on Daniel and Emma as they must work through. Anybody else working on the film may have a month off in the middle of the summer!

Actors' exams will cost the Warner Brothers

    Washington: The makers of the Harry Potter series, Warner Bros are set to lose about 3.6 million dollars, to enable Harry and his friends to take their exams in real life Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson who play Harry and Hermione in the series will sit for their Advanced Supplementary (AS) Levels and General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) exams this summer, stalling the progress of the fifth movie “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”, by a month.

    “Not everyone is going to be paid but Warner Bros are having to factor in an extra GBP2 million into the budget to pay for studio hire and offices,” a source was quoted by Contactmusic, as saying.

    Radcliffe, is studying English literature, history, religion and philosophy, while co-star Watson, will take the exams for standard subjects including English, Maths and Science. [Note 35]

Footnotes

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

[3] Ib Andersen 2003: Den skinbarlige virkelighed (The Incarnate Reality, textbook of social sciences methods), Samfundslitteratur, København, p. 24 ff.

[4] References to Wealth of Nations are to book, chapter, and various subdivisions. Source: http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK4a_CHAP__II_.html

[5] http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1a_CHAP__II_.html (both citations)

[6] http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1a_CHAP__VI_.html (all three citations)

[7] Jan-U. Sandal 2003: Jakten på Entreprenøren (The Hunt for the Entrepreneur), Almqvist & Wiksell, Stockholm, p. 14

[8] http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1c.html

[9] http://www.ebbemunk.dk/smith/BOOK1b_PART_FIRST_.html

[10] Esben Sloth Andersen 2004: Joseph A. Schumpeter, Jurist- og Økonomforbundets Forlag, København, p. 34 f.

[11] Andersen 2004 p. 32 f.

[12] Lynch 2003 p. 223

[13] Joseph A. Schumpeter 1934: The Theory of Economic Development. An inquiry into Profits, Capital, Credit, Interest, and the Business Cycle, Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Seventh printing, 1961). The list is according to Andersen 2004 p. 41 f.

[14] Schumpeter 1934 p. 64, including note 1.

[15] Schumpeter 1934 p. 88, also: "Although entrepreneurs of course may be inventors just as they may be capitalists, they are inventors not by nature of their function but by coincidence and vice versa."

[16] Schumpeter 1934 p. 66

[17] Schumpeter 1934 p. 66

[18] Schumpeter 1934 p. 69, also p. 70: "... in carrying out new combinations, "financing" as a special act is fundamentally necessary".

[19] Schumpeter 1934 p. 67

[20] Schumpeter 1934 p. 66, and Andersen 2004 p. 39

[21] Sandal 2003 p. 218

[22] David Reisman 2004: Schumpeter's Market, Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, p. 56, here referring to Joseph Schumpeter 1934: History of Economic Analysis, Allen and Unwin, London

[23] Bukh, Bang & Hegaard 2004: Strategikort (Strategy Maps), Børsens Forlag, Copenhagen, p. 19, here referring to Peter Drucker 1993: Post-Capitalist Society, among others

[24] Richard Lynch 2003: Corporate Strategy, Third Edition, Prentice Hall, Harlow, p. 209, 360, 390, 429, 536

[25] Interview on J.K. Rowling's official website: http://www.jkrowling.com/textonly/en/news_view.cfm?id=80

[26] Here is maybe an error: The Weasley family is "listening to a Christmas broadcast by Mrs. Weasley's favourite singer, Celestina Warbeck, whose voice was warbling out of the large wooden wireless" (6-16-309). Clearly, the wireless is large, wooden, and old-fashioned, but one could wonder if it is not worked by electricity?

[27] One exception: 'Rumours about the Yule Ball were flying everywhere ... for instance, that Dumbledore had bought eight hundred barrels of mulled mead from Madam Rosmerta.' (4-22-428)

[28] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

[29] Caroline B. van der Plas 2005: Harry Potter og oversætterens univers (Harry Potter and the Universe of the Translator), unpublished dissertation, September 2005, Aarhus School of Business, pages 36, 46, 47.

[30] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter, the figure is per January 2006.

[31] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Potter

[32] Written by J.K. Rowling at a time when nobody else had ever heard of Harry Potter.

[33] See more on money and coinage in Victorian Britain: http://www.wilkiecollins.demon.co.uk/coinage/coins.htm.

[34] Dorothy L. Sayers (1883-1950) was a learned, somewhat eccentric lady. After an education in Oxford she was working as a copywriter in the advertising agency of Messrs S.H. Benson Ltd. in London 1923-31. The novel Murder Must Advertise takes place in the authentic setting which she knew very well, the advertising agency. The citation is from page 372 in the book.

[35] News: http://www.newkerala.com/news.php?action=fullnews&id=87447.


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