I wanted to structure the Fairy Kingdom so it had parallels with Earth and specific historical events/style of doing things and so on. For example the Fairy Queen's Council system with its Chief Leader is loosely based on kind of Council Queen Elizabeth Tudor would have had with William, Lord Burghley as her Chief Leader. I did this as I think "echoes" add depth to characterisation and they can act as a kind of shorthand as well. The way the Fairy Kingdom runs its government, amongst other things, had to be something readers could identify with.
Why did you get the Fairy Kingdom pinching the best of ideas from our world?
I wanted to portray the magical world as snobbish (it condemns humanity for wars and pollution, understandably, but won't acknowledge humanity's good points). I also wanted to portray the Kingdom as hypocritical (on the grounds no matter where we live on this planet our governments are hypocritical somewhere along the line, it is a question of degree). The pinching good ideas scam struck me as both amusing and a rational action for a magical world wanting to save powers (magic is draining so if you can take shortcuts to save energy you would in my Kingdom). Naturally to further confirm the hypocrisy bit, the Fairy Kingdom doesn't acknowledge where it gets its ideas (though the Queen does concede chocolate is one of humanity's better inventions).
And this leads on to why I haven't got my magical characters to use magic to solve all their problems.
If magic could be used to solve everything, there wouldn't be any stories (no conflicts - the one with the most powers would always win, which aside from the fairness issue from my point of view as a writer is just plain boring). It also makes sense to me that magic drains those who use it (there always has to be a price for special gifts). Indeed I can't see how magic wouldn't have that effect so to have to find other ways to resolve things leads to a much more interesting Fairy Kingdom. It has to use its magic wisely. A scattergun approach with a magic wand/staff is never a great idea! (And certainly wouldn't do much for the Kingdom's atmosphere as I also think it would be realistic for magic to leave traces in the air, soil etc so account has to be taken of that too. Indeed in my magical realm, certain areas have been made barren by having too much magic go through it. There has to be a price for magic, always. It encourages more responsible use of the stuff for one thing).