Monday, June 25, 2012

Yanis Varoufakis — It All Began With A Strange Email

Garth Brazelton of Reviving Economics says this is fascinating. It is.

Read it at Valve Economics
It All Began With A Strange Email
by Yanis Varoufakis | Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens and Visiting Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson Graduate School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and now Economist-in Residence at Valve.


Leverage said...

Tom, believe me younger generations are going to learn more about the economy and monetary systems throught gaming platforms than from the "real world" economists and "technocrats".

There has been such an explosion in virtual currencies management through gaming companies than there is knowledge being accumulated daily.

Not only that, but increasing digital currencies are creating real activity attached to these virtual worlds. Is a very interesting subject.

Matt Franko said...

It'll be interesting to see how the game developers initially assign currency balances to the participants in these virtual economies....

My bet: They start the games with balances already assigned ex post (Bruce Wayne will already be a billionaire when the game starts)... completely MISSING the point that govt has to spend FIRST.

They will NOT "get it".


Tom Hickey said...

@ Leverage

Absolutely. And I suspect that Yanis and the people are Valve are well aware of this.

I have always held that education should be fun, that is creative play rather than boring work. Digital is the way to go.

The first game I encountered was when a young friend gave me the latest and greatest for the Apple II, back when. I opened the app later and faced nothing but a green screen. He gave me no instructions.

So I called him and told him he forgot to give me a manual. He said, "You are the manual. You have to figure it out. Start hitting some keys."

Tom Hickey said...

@ Matt

Yanis and Marshall are friends. Hopefully, Marshall will clue him in if he is not aware of monetary economics already. I suspect he is.

geerussell said...

Virtual world economies present some interesting challenges.

One of which is the tendency of players to establish their own real-world marketplace where *anything* transferable in-game finds a dollar price. Possessions, "lives", labor, in-game currency, player accounts all become fungible.

Many a game designer has been frustrated as their carefully crafted in-game economy quickly became a toy ignored by participants who choose instead to play with the box it came in.

Leverage said...

Matt in fact not, depends on game or platform anything from fixed to floated exchange rates happen and the balances are created 'on demand'.

Anyway Valve's 'Steam' is more like a mix of social platform and gaming store, so real money is used. But games with virtual currencies create them 'on demand' by users (usually currency users are currency issuers! something that is rather unique compared to the real world except some minor alternative complementary currencies where users and issuers are the same entity).

ggm said...

My son told me this news last week. He was homeschooled and we both studied MMT over the past few years so he (an active Steam user) already 'gets it'. Now if I could only get him to stop giving away his labor to Valve, which he usually does in return for brownie points or sometimes the chance to win small cash prizes.