[MUD-Dev] Re:Blacksnow revisited

Matt Mihaly the_logos at achaea.com
Fri Apr 26 16:03:47 New Zealand Standard Time 2002

On Thu, 25 Apr 2002, Joe Andrieu wrote:
> From: Matt Mihaly
>> Well, you are building someting. You just don't own what you
>> built. Someone used an analogy earlier, where one goes into
>> LegoWorld, spends days or weeks or months there building this
>> incredibly intricate Lego castle. Does that mean you own the
>> castle? No, of course not. Does that mean you didn't build
>> anything? No, of course not. Does that mean it wasn't enjoyable? 
>> No, of course not.
>> Further, what exactly do you want to do with these items you wish
>> to own that you can't do now? You've stated you don't care about
>> selling them for physical world currency, so what is it that we
>> evil dev guys are depriving you of? I personally think you're
>> making a big to-do about a non-issue.

> You're missing the point. And perhaps Norman is too. And I
> apologize if I missed someone else make this earlier in the
> thread.

Well, I don't think I'm missing the point insofar as I was replying
to the point Norman was making. That isn't to say the issue you
bring up isn't interesting or perhaps more important.
> Property rights exist in the real world because they create
> value. In fact, the value of property rights (or the value of
> having a system in which property rights are maintained) far
> exceeds the cost of having such a system.  Otherwise, the systems
> without property rights would prevail. See Demsetz's seminal
> "Toward a Theory of Property Rights" 1967.

How about we rephrase that to, "Property rights exist because those
in power find it beneficial to exert force or the threat of force to
maintain them." When you say the value of property rights far
exceeds the cost of having such a system, your next question has to
be, "For whom?"

> I posit that property rights in virtual worlds will also create
> far more value then they cost to maintain.

Value for whom though? If it doesn't create value for the
creators/developers/maintainers, what's their motivation? If their
motivation is fear of laws that award property rights to users of
their serivce, what's their motivation to begin the project at all?

> Eventually, I believe property rights will be asserted, just as
> the right to self-determination has repeatedly asserted itself
> over the dominant feudal and dictatorial regimes. Sooner or later,
> IMO, the corporate-centric domains of today's online worlds will
> yield to property-oriented systems of significant liberty and user
> freedom.

Well, perhaps. I don't think the analogy between an evolution from
feudal property rights to capitalistic property rights is
particularly applicable in online games, except in the fictional
context, which is, of course, fictional.


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