[SLED] Economics of a Virtual Community

Cheryl Reynolds c.reynolds at hud.ac.uk
Tue Jan 16 09:51:01 PST 2007

I agree Richard.  If you're teaching life skills or economics, Owen's idea is a good one.  But if you're teaching something else having to obtain money then food would be a frustrating waste of learning time...
Cheryl Reynolds
Course Leader  - Foundation Degree in Design and Development of e-learning
School of Education and Professional Development 
University of Huddersfield 
HD1 3DH 
Tel:  01484 478288 


From: educators-bounces at lists.secondlife.com on behalf of Richard Smyth
Sent: Tue 16/01/2007 16:12
To: SL Educators
Subject: Re: [SLED] Economics of a Virtual Community

Why the need to replicate the real-world economy?  If I had to work to get strength/food or to pay for these things (because I have no time to work inworld), then I couldn't participate in the ways that I do. . . (As it turns out, I was lucky enough to have a computer with the right graphics card; if I didn't, my participation would have to wait until the next time I bought a computer--5-6 years from now?!)
There's a book just published called "Wikinomics:  How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything" and suggests that a different economic model *is* emerging. . .
Richard Smyth/Abaris Brautigan

Owen Kelly <owen.kelly at arcada.fi> wrote:

	If I may join in slightly late:
	In my view the economy of Second Life is skewed very oddly because it is 
	exclusively an economy of optional luxury items. What it needs (for many 
	reasons including future viability AND educational work AND general fun) 
	is items of economic necessity. Specifically necessary items which get 
	used up and need replacing.
	Second Life needs virtual food :)
	If avatars had strength and/or health bars (as they do in many many 
	rpgs) and avatars died or became immobilised if they ran out of 
	strength/health then several things would follow:
	1. everyone would need to buy food and drink, so everyone would need to 
	engage economically with the world, either by working or importing real 
	2. the sales of food and drink would become another source of economic 
	activity, and offer people different kinds of economic choices.
	3. These things would be consumable items and therefore need constant 
	manufacture, which would broaden the kinds of possibilities the world 
	Additionally, at the moment, in contrast to (say) Entropia, raw 
	materials (in the form of prims) are free and limitless. The economy 
	therefore models something like the economy in one of the outer rings of 
	Heaven, where angels in no need of sustenance pluck raw materials from 
	the ether and model them out of playful creativeness.
	Nothing wrong with this, but if it is a form of economics then it is not 
	economics as we know it, Jim.
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