The Horde is Evil

Edward Castronova discusses moral choicesin the context of multi-player online gaming.

As an economist, he has studied online gaming environments extensively because they offer a level playing field on which economic theory can play out. EverQuest, one of the most popular games, has a thriving off line economy where real money changes hands. In fact, Castronova has ranked the gross national product of EverQuest at $2,266, making it the 77th richest country in the world according to this highly recommended story in the publication Walrus.

As the author of the Walrus story points out, the economist in Castronova didn't just study countries, he discovered one.

What's real and what's not real, as Castronova says in the Walrus story, has a lot to do with the value we ascribed to things, which appears to spill over into the ethics on display in these worlds. Some values aren't neutral. Perhaps its not such a big leap, then, for the economist in Castronova to believe The Horde is Evil.

Wayne

Technorati tags: game theory, Edward Castronova, ethics