Order and Creativity in Virtual Worlds

Evan W Osborne, Shu Z Schiller


Economies are driven by dynamic creativity, but some sorts of creativity, especially if predatory, can destroy an economy. This tradeoff has been known for centuries to political philosophers who have analyzed physical space, but has not been addressed in virtual space. Like physical economies, virtual economies face the tradeoff of encouraging freedom to experiment, while discouraging experiments that damage society. Physical societies solve this problem both through encouraging competition and giving government the unique power to punish destructive activities. In virtual societies, this tradeoff has yet to be adequately assessed. Guided by the economic modeling of order and creativity, in this paper we discuss two types of behavior, constructive and destructive, to provide some guidelines, with references to experiences in physical economies, for establishing limitations on the freedom of action of virtual-economy participants.


Order, creativity, virtual world, economy, governance

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4101/jvwr.v2i3.649

The full website for the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research can be found at: http://jvwresearch.org