Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Economics of artificial societies

  1. Mar 15, 2005 #1
    So after reading an article on slashdot about World of Warcraft (WOW) and how people are mining gold in the game then selling the gold on ebay to other players for ingame use, I got to thinking on if there were any studies done on these artificial worlds and their economics? I tried searching the net, but I couldn't find anything. Anyways, I know that economics is kind of a science in its infancy (as in it doesn't deal well with systems outside of equilibrium), but it seems that these artificial worlds that are growing and dynamic would make for some interesting tests of economic theories, maybe? I really know very little about economics (I am a doctoral student in physics) but I thought it might be a good idea... what does anyone around here who might know about this stuff actually think?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 16, 2005 #2
    I don't see how the economics of a video game could be any different from any other economic model. I am not an economist, but I would assume that any theory of economics would be a subset of the entire economy, just like any physics theory or equation is a subset of a hypothetical GUT.

    Briefly, a model used for Walmart could well be used for a Warcraft society. The latter being a much, much, much simpler case, just like F=GMm/r2 is much simpler than GR's gravity equations.
  4. Mar 16, 2005 #3
    My idea would be since this is theoretically a simpler system (I don't know in fact if it is) that it may be easier to test different theories of economics on. Or to see how this economy differs from real world economies. You could also artificially mess with the economy without having any catastrophic (at least to the real world) ramifications to see how it responds to different stimuli, etc. Now I am not even sure if this makes any sense in terms of economics, but what I understand is that there are competing economic theories and this could be a testing ground for them. Whether this Warcraft world is complex enough to be useful, I don't know since I have no idea what the game is like. It was just an idea and I was wondering if it was complete rubish or not.
  5. Apr 3, 2005 #4
    That's a very interesting idea.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook