Early cyberspace theorists predicted that the digital world would be a world of plenty. But today's Internet users are faced with many kinds of artificially scarce virtual markers, from online game items and digital currencies to likes and followers on social media and reward points in question and answer sites. Many such markers are traded online for significant sums of money and have spawned entire cottage industries for their production. Vili Lehdonvirta, author of Virtual Economies: Design and Analysis (MIT Press 2014, with Edward Castronova), argues that these "virtual economies" shape digital media in important ways, and that understanding them is vital for both practitioners and scholars of digital media and entertainment.
In this session, Lehdonvirta will also discuss and debate with economist Greg Taylor about what virtual economies could teach traditional national economies and the economists who run them.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase. The discussion will be followed by book signing and a drinks reception.