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The Future of Cyberspace Economies
Edward Castronova

Track: Business Models
Date: Tuesday, February 10
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Plaza

Synthetic worlds have emerged and generated economic forces with spillover to the real world. This talk discusses long-long-run theories about two things: 1) the likelihood that humans, in the aggregate, might spend large amounts of time in these worlds, and 2) the implications of 1) for Earth macroeconomies. Predictions stem from basic lessons in four areas: 1) the simple economics of fun, 2) the more complex economics of transaction costs as applied to communications systems, 3) the still more complex economics of fantasy and play as basic human motivations, and 4) the unfathomable economics of post-industrial cultural decline.

Thesis: the long-long-run driving force in this space is the simple fact that, for most people, the real economy is a not a very fun game at all. If its designers don't start making it a more fun game, very large numbers of people will seek substitutes. Their mass exodus will exert shock force on the real economy and everyone in it.

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