Why I'm Not a Businessman

Once in while I'll see my students playing a computer game called RuneScape. It's a virtual world where they can play against there friends, battling fantastic beasts and collecting treasure. There are many other online games such as this and apparently some enterprising people are profiting from it. As Lior Strahilevitz states at the UC Law School Blog:

"Essentially, large numbers of Chinese workers are employed playing video games in virtual worlds for twelve hours a day, earning gold, weapons, and armor, which they then sell to Westerners who want virtual gold, weapons, and armor but have more real-world income than time or skill for gaming. If the Times has it right, then this has become a major industry in China."

In case this isn't clear, let me explain. Part of these games is having your online characters accumulate money, weapons, items etc.... So the Chinese, in this case, are setting up online characters who have all of these things in abundance and then selling them to Americans who don't have enough time in the day to find it all themselves.

This type of business would never have occurred to me. I'm always amazed at the means people will use to make money and it is one of the concerns I have for my students now and in the future. Many students want to be lawyers or business executives or athletes because they think it will earn them enormous sums of money. A major challenge is to convince students that the joys in life are not necessarily related to how much money you make. Good family and friends, intellectual challenges and lifelong education, fun and spontaneous hobbies, and contributions to your community are much more fulfilling. In a world dominated by economics, this will be a difficult obstacle to overcome.

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