Coffee, Tea and Political Power?

Set during first year, Harry Potter is in Hufflepuff and is speaking to the other firsties in his house about how the Dark Lord acted more like a Gryffindor during the latter parts of the Blood War. Draco Malfoy of Slytherin overhears part of the conversation…

"Potter! How dare you claim that the Dark Lord is anything other than the epitome of Slytherin," Draco growled menacingly.

Harry calmly glanced over his shoulder at the angry blonde boy and motioned him to join the crowd, "Draco…may I call you Draco?" The blonde Slytherin warily nodded, "Draco, think about the actions that the man undertook during the last few years. He became increasingly belligerent, gave out grand and long-winded monologues about his skill and fought with increasing flashiness. That, to me, is the mark of a Gryffindor."

A couple of the other Puffs smirked or chuckled.

Harry continued, "Now if it were me, I'd go a truly Slytherin approach that no one would recognize until it was too late." He pulled a single gold Galleon out of his pocket and placed it on the table, "A single Galleon. It weighs about 2 troy ounces of pure gold. According to Professor Flitwick, who by the way is part Goblin, the only enchantments on each of these coins are the maker's mark. There's nothing stopping anyone from melting these down to get an ingot."

"So?" Draco sneered.

Harry just gave him an mildly amused smirk in response, "So, in the muggle world, gold can be sold, bought and traded for a price on their stock market. The value fluctuates over time so each coin might be worth more or less depending on when it's put up on the market."

Hermione Granger, a muggleborn first year who had been sorted into Ravenclaw, nodded in agreement.

"Now, according to the Goblins in Gringott's, the currency conversion between a Galleon to the British Pound is 5 to 1, that is to say 5 pounds to 1 Galleon. Next, like I said each Galleon weighs about 2 troy ounces and this past July, gold was selling for £207.54 per troy ounce. That makes the gold in this Galleon worth £415.08."

The other muggleborns were surprised at that. Small murmurs of shock and interest floated through their quick conversations.

"So as we now know, the conversion rate of 5 to 1 means I can take that 415.08 and bring it back to Gringott's and exchange it for roughly 83 Galleons. Each of those Galleons is still worth the original 415.08. The amount of Galleons you get back with each trip to the muggle world and Gringott's will increase exponentially."

"But Harry, won't all that trading and selling destabilize the currency and gold prices?" exclaimed Hermione.

Harry nodded, "Yes, what I'm describing here is merely an ideal situation. In reality, I would advise against making as many trips as possible. Rather, I'd recommend making a trip only once or twice a month and even then with different gold dealers and Gringott's tellers so no one gets wise to the scheme."

The assembled group was stunned to say the least. At a quick glance, Harry could see that there would be a few of the less fortunate students that would be attempting this as soon as they went home for the holidays.

"Now to continue with my plan on world domination," Harry began, "You've gotten your financial side in place and you now need something to manipulate on a more personal level to get what you want. There are two main types of drinks in this world, coffee and tea. Yes, there are others but none more readily available to all levels of civilization. Imagine that you go to a stockbroker if in the muggle world or Gringott's in the magical, and you tell them that you wish to buy out controlling interest in the entire production line from farm to cup of either coffee or tea. It really doesn't matter which for this demonstration."

Several people were now writing all this down and even Draco was pulling out a quill and parchment.

"Once you have the entire line, you can then adjust the prices to whatever the market will bear. You market it as the only product that is worth having. You make it the brand that everyone loves and will prefer over others. Then somewhere along the line, you inevitably get some rival upstart trying to muscle in on your territory! To compete, you have to raise prices but if that happens you risk angering your client base. If it were me, I'd point to my rival and exclaim that 'I'm just trying to provide you with the product that you know and love but the change in prices is the result of him/her. They make an inferior product and try to pass it off as a better item. You know that it's not the case!'"

Draco made a comment that normally; the upstart would find himself or herself in a world of hurt.

"That may be one way but that just leads to anger and violence. Then the DMLE has to be brought in to investigate and I'm sure no one wants that to happen. To continue, you let the rumor out that the product provided by your rival has been known to contain impure ingredients, ingredients known to cause illness. You then let it be quietly known that if said rival were to be driven out of business, prices would come down to where they were before this whole thing started."

Neville Longbottom of Gryffindor picked up on the end result faster, "So by floating the rumors of impure ingredients, you start the idea that buying that drink will make you sick. Since no one wants to be sick, they'll avoid it as much as possible. By suggesting that prices will go back to what they were before, it's an even bigger incentive to avoid the rival's drinks which then lead to him or her going out of business."

Harry grinned and nodded, "Exactly! All of this is done subtly and non-violently. No one suspects they are being played to achieving your goals for you. The Dark Lord's methods of killing off families just lead to more violence and investigations. That's not very Slytherin of him if you think about it."

The others sat there at the table thinking about what Harry had described. Could it really be that simple? Yes, what he had described was a rather ideal situation and unlikely to be had in reality but it did lead to some interesting questions.

Harry then laid out another bombshell, "I'm surprised that no one hasn't figured out that this is the exact same sort of scenario that the Headmaster has been playing at during the entire Blood War."

Draco looked at him sharply, "What do you mean?"

Harry glanced at him curiously, "Take everything I've just described and apply it to the events of the past fifty years. Who do we know is in a position of immense power? Who was it that suddenly came along and tried to usurp said power? What was the result of that confrontation?"

Hermione put it together quickly and let out a little gasp of shock, "The Headmaster! Oh, my god! But…but…oh, Harry!"

Harry nodded sagely, "Dumbledore set everyone up to look upon his services as Professor, Headmaster, Chief Warlock and Supreme Mugwump as the best thing in the world! You want a good, quiet life? Buy into what he's selling! The Dark Lord came along and offered another way of living? No! You must reject him and his message! If you don't, he's going to come along and kill you in your sleep!"

The others paled in the realization of what Harry had described. They could clearly see the truth in the raven-haired boy's questions and revelations.

"So what do we do about it?" Neville asked tremulously.

"Share what you've learned and talk to those who are capable of investigations. Write letters to government officials asking them to start looking into the situation. Talk to people you trust. Susan? Your aunt is the Director the DMLE right?" Susan nodded, "Talk to her and see if you can convince her to look into the problem. Share your knowledge with her. At best, it will cause Dumbledore's regime to come toppling down. At worst, nothing happens."

Draco let out a shuddering breath, "It's worse than my father keeps saying it is."

Harry snorted, "Way worse than even he could dream of, Draco. Listen, how long has Dumbledore been in the position of Headmaster, teacher, Chief Warlock, etc? Several generations of students have passed through these halls and have been taught by the man himself. The first generation, yeah they'd be your best bet to talk to. They weren't raised to believe every utterance from him to be the reincarnation of Merlin himself. With each successive generation, you get a population who increasingly believes he can do no wrong."

The bell rang for the afternoon classes just then. Harry stood up, retrieved his Galleon, his books and quietly headed for the door.