Inequality in virtual worlds?

A friend’s daughter said that people have to pay in order to have a good experience in today’s virtual (game) worlds. “It’s just like the real world in that respect,” she added. As this half-Chinese gal is currently polishing up her resume for college applications and refused my suggestion to “pull an Elizabeth Warren,” I worked her observation into a backup suggestion: start a non-profit organization devoted to reducing inequality in the virtual world(s). There are already a lot of non-profits attacking the challenge of inequality in the physical world (by paying their own executives above-market and above-median salaries?). She could carve out a niche by taking care of those who are disadvantaged in the virtual/online world.

Readers: What do you think? If people are spending more and more time online, shouldn’t we be just as concerned about inequality there as in the physical world? Or it isn’t worth worrying about because once we make everyone equal financially in the real world that will automatically take care of inequality in the virtual world?

5 thoughts on “Inequality in virtual worlds?

  1. Suppose your black avatar experienced discrimination in a virtual world, would that be an offense even if you are “really white”? Or is the real offense cultural misappropriation, for using a black avatar while white?

  2. Would she be addressing inequality among people who participate in the virtual world, or inequality among bots, programs, and other non-human entities?

    We may soon have a world where most of the texting is between bots and other bots. If so, some bots could be bullying other bots. Gender-fluid bots might suffer abuse. Somebody must be looking into this.

  3. Hasbro Corporation, which swallowed up Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers over the past few decades, still makes a decent handful of thrilling and challenging board games, most of which aren’t very expensive. And I’ll bet you can find them by the shelf load at garage and tag sales, literally in perfect, barely-played condition. We still have dice, too – and what man born in the 20th century didn’t learn about probability and statistics courtesy of a few well-played games of chance? If these kids can’t afford a better virtual experience, there’s plenty of good old-fashioned gaming available the lo-tech way.

  4. And to your questions:

    1) See below.
    2) Yes. Get them out of the virtual world and give them playing cards, dice and board games.
    3) That’s a trick question. It is premised on a fallacy so it doesn’t merit an answer, which wouldn’t even be wrong.

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