Much has been made in recent years about the complexity of virtual economies in online games like EverQuest or The Sims. In Walrus magazine, Clive Thompson has written an excellent overview of the ins and outs of fiscal virtuality:
Virtual worlds have produced some surreal rags-to-riches stories. When the on-line world Second Life launched, the players were impressed to see a female avatar industriously building a sprawling monster home. An in-game neighbour stopped by to say hello only to discover she was a homeless person in British Columbia, logging on using her single remaining possession, a laptop. Penniless in the real world, she belonged to a social elite in the fake one.
This was cited a while back on Slashdot, so many of you may have read it. I just got around to looking at it, though, so I thought I’d pass it on.