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Ogre to Slay? Outsource It to Chinese

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... The RMT market is often linked in discussion with the practice known as "gold farming" — acquiring in-world benefits by taking advantage of a platform exploit. The term refers to players who churn through the game world environment for the purposes of accumulating inworld currency or other items or building character levels at a rapid pace in order to then resell the acquisitions to other players [20]. Gold farming is often associated with China, where there are allegedly sweatshop-type facilities employing thousands of young gamers who play virtual game worlds like World of Warcraft for extensively long hours, seven days a week [20]. ...
... The term refers to players who churn through the game world environment for the purposes of accumulating inworld currency or other items or building character levels at a rapid pace in order to then resell the acquisitions to other players [20]. Gold farming is often associated with China, where there are allegedly sweatshop-type facilities employing thousands of young gamers who play virtual game worlds like World of Warcraft for extensively long hours, seven days a week [20]. But, there are numerous gold farming outlets throughout the world [20]. ...
... Gold farming is often associated with China, where there are allegedly sweatshop-type facilities employing thousands of young gamers who play virtual game worlds like World of Warcraft for extensively long hours, seven days a week [20]. But, there are numerous gold farming outlets throughout the world [20]. Like the RMT market, gold farming is also considered a highly-lucrative endeavor [20], but it is not a legally-sound business opportunity. ...
Article
In this article, I discuss some of the business and legal issues posed by creating a virtual world-based business. In Part One, I start by briefly discussing some of the relevant lingo and terminology associated with virtual world use. In Part Two, I explore whether there is a real opportunity for success and profit-making potential in a virtual world-based business and some of the preliminary considerations when generating a business plan and strategy. In Part Three, I review the legal issues posed by operating a business in the virtual world, Second Life.
... (Dibbel, 2003: 1) While US$12,000 per annum is not a high income for those living in developed counties, it can be a large and healthy income for residents of the poorer developing countries. Currently, among gamers from the Third World, one of the most popular ways of making money in game is 'Gold Farming' (Barboza, 2005). Gold Farming involves exploiting repetitive elements of a game that offer high rewards to harvest artificial gold coins and other valued items that can then be sold for real money. ...
... At present, "there are well over 100,000 young people working in China as full-time gamers" (Barboza, 2005: 49), excluding those working individually from home. Typically, Gold Farmers work in an online gaming factory with 12-18 hour shifts, earning anything from US$70 to US$250 per month (Barboza, 2005). ...
... For the masses of unemployed and unskilled youth in China who are able to relate to virtual worlds and feel comfortable in them, Gold Farming employment can appear to be a wonderful job. The escape from an impoverished life to one of rich fantasy, slaying monsters as a mighty warrior can be inviting, yet exploitation is a common problem (Barboza, 2005). "Many online gaming factories have come to resemble the thousands of textile mills and toy factories that have moved here from Taiwan, Hong Kong and other parts of the world to take advantage of China's vast pool of cheap labor" (Barboza, 2005: 49), and while the wage difference between ...
... The complexity of gold trading organizations continued to grow as indigenously-developed massively multiplayer games as well as Western-developed games were released into East Asian markets like Japan, South Korea, and China [7], [17]. Gold farming operations now appear to be concentrated in China where the combination of high-speed internet penetration and low labor costs has facilitated the development of the trade [12], [2], [10]. The scale of real money trading has been estimated to be no less than $100 million and upwards of $1 billion annually [12], [5], [25], and the phenomenon has begun to capture popular attention [2], [27]. ...
... Gold farming operations now appear to be concentrated in China where the combination of high-speed internet penetration and low labor costs has facilitated the development of the trade [12], [2], [10]. The scale of real money trading has been estimated to be no less than $100 million and upwards of $1 billion annually [12], [5], [25], and the phenomenon has begun to capture popular attention [2], [27]. ...
Conference Paper
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Gold farming refers to the illicit practice of gathering and selling virtual goods in online games for real money. Although around one million gold farmers engage in gold farming related activities, to date a systematic study of identifying gold farmers has not been done. In this paper we use data from the massively-multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) EverQuest II to identify gold farmers. We perform an exploratory logistic regression analysis to identify salient descriptive statistics followed by a machine learning binary classification problem to identify a set of features for classification purposes. Given the cost associated with investigating gold farmers, we also give criteria for evaluating gold farming detection techniques, and provide suggestions for future testing and evaluation techniques.
... One can define gold farming as a branch of Real Money Trading (RMT) [6], or trading virtual money/goods for real-world currency by making one " s character/avatar engage in certain activities or simply be situated in a certain place inside the digital world for a set amount of time, obtaining virtual currency or virtual goods (referred to as " camping " ). It has been utilized as a job opportunity: people founded businesses which were based solely on hired workers who spent up to 18 hours straight " playing " a MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) in order to gain as much virtual money as possible, for $75 to $250 per month [6][7]. Practice of such gold farming business has been widely spread throughout China, and even created a stereotype that all gold farmers were Chinese, as well as all online gamers with poor English were Chinese gold farmers [7]. ...
... It has been utilized as a job opportunity: people founded businesses which were based solely on hired workers who spent up to 18 hours straight " playing " a MMOG (Massively Multiplayer Online Game) in order to gain as much virtual money as possible, for $75 to $250 per month [6][7]. Practice of such gold farming business has been widely spread throughout China, and even created a stereotype that all gold farmers were Chinese, as well as all online gamers with poor English were Chinese gold farmers [7]. Gold farming has been an acute topic of discussion ever since it became prominent that it has become a huge market of poorly paid jobs, employing thousands of people from developing countries. ...
Conference Paper
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Online social spaces have become very popular in the past couple of decades. With the great numbers of users in the online environments it becomes obvious that the human factor plays an important role in the social structure of such environments. In online virtual worlds such as Second Life one may encounter not only civil, but even criminal offenses such as fraud, money laundering, or sexual harassment. It is evident that a digital forensic investigation should take place if any such criminal offense is committed inside the virtual world. This paper presents, categorises, and discusses various crimes that can take place in Second Life, as well as proposes four digital forensic techniques for gathering evidence of these crimes from the inside of the virtual world.
... Although online gaming is ostensibly a leisure activity, the more monotonous and time-consuming tasks which are nonetheless integral to the game can be outsourced to unskilled labourers for low wages. China has stood out in the early 21 st century as the largest currency-farming labour force in the world (Barboza, December 2005, Heeks, 2009). This is an illustration of the embeddedness of game worlds. ...
... Although online gaming is ostensibly a leisure activity, the more monotonous and time-consuming tasks which are nonetheless integral to the game can be outsourced to unskilled labourers for low wages. At the time of writing, for example, China is the largest currency-farming labour force in the world (Heeks, 2009, Barboza, December 2005, Vincent, May 2011. ...
Thesis
This thesis argues that toxic behaviour practices in the game League of Legends are structural and constructive. Using practice theory I demonstrate that social and play rules within the game are expressed, challenged, and re-created through actions and utterances which have been deemed problematic or otherwise ‘toxic’. In order to achieve this I have conducted an ethnographic study into League of Legends followed by a series of semi-structured interviews. The ethnography demonstrates a novel insight into the game and its community but also serves the purpose of explicating the relationship between League of Legends and Bourdieu’s conceptual model of practice. Informed by this context I discuss the rationale for and perception of disruptive, transgressive, or otherwise ‘toxic’ behaviours, challenging assumptions that they are fundamentally anti-social or destructive and proposing ways in which they contribute to a self-recognising online community. Finally I demonstrate that the formative conditions of play along with toxic play practices combine in League of Legends to create an environment which is problematically gendered.
... The interfacing of everyday life and virtual worlds has rewired material landscapes, giving birth to complex sociotechnical relations across space and time (Graham, 1998). For example, some US players, seeking to skip the easy and boring early stages of online role-playing video games, outsource this stage to hired, often impoverished, Chinese players known as`goldas`gold farmers', allowing them to advance rapidly to the later, more challenging, stages (Barboza, 2005). As mentioned above, it is limiting to conflate video games with other types of media which have traditionally been read as`textsas`texts'. ...
Article
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Video games are virtual worlds, each with its own, distinctive spatiality. This paper suggests that there are two interrelated conceptual dimensions to the study of video games. First, there are the representational issues concerning the worlds depicted in video games, such as those portraying hypersexualized women or Orientalist depictions of Arab enemies. We suggest, however, that these cultural, sexual, and political representations are not the only forces doing work on the player within the virtual world of a video game. This paper complements a purely representational approach by considering ‘affect’ as a precognitive force which disrupts and delights the player with reactions ranging from fear to joy. We argue that, as the spatiality of video games has evolved from simple two-dimensional to complex three-dimensional worlds; the importance of an affective experience to the player has become paramount. Exploiting and manipulating the player’s sensory experience is now the central strategy for many game designers. The paper is divided in two interrelated sections: the first tackles representational issues from culture to violence, while the second section contributes to our understanding of video games as ‘worlds of affect’.
... It is a fact, for instance, that "factories" already exist in some countries where people are employed in "gold-farming", a particular kind of virtual work whereby "workers are paid to harvest virtual treasures for online gamers in the developed world" who "want to advance quickly within their online role-playing games of choice" and avoid the repetitive tasks required "to build a high-level" character (Cherry, 2010, 471). Some gold farmers may work up to 12 hours per day (Barboza, 2005); in some cases, detainees in labour camps in China have been reported to be employed in gold-farming (Vincent, 2011). The existence of gold-farming factories and gold-farming in labour camps should prompt reflections about a fundamental issue: virtual work is not necessarily dispersed in people's homes and it can very well be concentrated in "factories" and sweatshops. ...
Article
The Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal is publishing a collection of papers on the gig-economy and labor law, edited by Valerio De Stefano (International Labour Office and Bocconi University). This collection, entitled “Crowdsourcing, the Gig-Economy and the Law”, gathers contributions from several labour lawyers and social scientists to provide a comprehensive analytical overview of work in the gig-economy, testing the validity of several assumptions underlying the general debate on platform-based work, and advancing policy options for labour and social protection of this work. Contributing authors are Antonio Aloisi, Janine Berg, Miriam Cherry, Valerio De Stefano, Matt Finkin, Lili Irani, Jeremias Prassl, Martin Risak, and Six Silberman. This article introduces this collection and gives an overview of the issues discussed by the authors.
... It must be emphasised that the application of law will depend on the motives of the developers not to create a game but a place, which is closely related to the real world. In such cases, the virtual world can be regarded as a very 'real' opportunity for profitable investments (Barboza, 2005). In Second Life for example, many participants rely on their in-game activities as their primary source of income (Craig, 2006). ...
Article
This article aims to underline the importance of End User Licence Agreements (EULAs) in the context of virtual worlds known as Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). By examining the issue of virtual property in several virtual worlds, the article ascertains the failure of some EULAs to acknowledge and respect the importance of players' contribution to the perpetual development of the virtual environment; a failure which, in turn, undermines the players' drive for creativity and collaboration. However, assigning virtual property rights to the players should not be considered as a mandatory legal obligation but rather as a policy decision. Within this context, the EULA acts as a sort of virtual 'social contract', which sets the degree of permeability between the real and the virtual.
... It has been reported that companies have already been set up in China whose employees spend more than 12 h per day playing various online role play games. The characters they create and the resources accumulated are then sold to other players from developed countries, and the game dollars are then converted into US dollars [14]. This can also apply to outsourcing of in-world creations to developing countries [15]. ...
Article
Today, millions of people from around the globe play online role playing games (MMORPG), in which a large number of players interact with one another in a virtual world, either using their existing identities in the physical world, or more often than not, through new virtual identities that might not even be remotely linked to the identities of the players in the physical world. The number of users is growing at an exponential rate and we are probably on the verge of a new development that is going to be as significant as the Internet itself. This positioning paper will discuss the business opportunities and challenges of such a virtual world, that of Second Life, and will examine the resultant corporate social responsibility implications focusing on the ethical and policy-related ones. This will help to identify important research questions that need to be systematically addressed.
... From the rise of 'celebrity politicians' to new political economies generated by online video games like World of Warcraft, something significant is occurring with respect to popular culture, world politics and the perceived bandwidth of political possibility (Barboza, 2005;Corner and Pels, 2003;Jones, 2004;Marshall, 1997;Street, 2004;Turner, 2004;West and Orman, 2003;Van Zoonen, 2004). The vexing question is: precisely what might that be? ...
Article
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In this article we offer a potential research agenda for the study of popular culture in IR and outline how this research agenda could be advanced. If the incorporation of popular culture into IR is going to be fruitful, there must be a willingness to go beyond an engagement with illustrations of world politics. Doing so will get us closer to what is at stake in the mutual implication of popular culture and world politics.
... Virtual items and equipment for MMORPGs, nominally available only by playing the game, can be purchased with real dollars. In parts of the world, where labour is cheap, the practice has reached industrial proportions: so-called "gold farms" in China employ an estimated 500 000 people who "play" the games, often for 12 hour shifts at a time, in order to harvest virtual gold and goods for immediate resale [3,29]. Websites like GameUSD compare the cost of virtual gold between online vendors, whilst Eye on MOGs keeps track of currency conversion rates between multiple gameworlds and the real US Dollar. ...
Article
The brigand Procrustes dispatched his victims by stretching or trimming their bodies in order that they be made to fit his bed. Considered as a scientific theory, McLuhan's four "laws of media" risk violating research in a dangerously Procrustean manner. Conceived as an exploratory probe, however, his "tetrad" can provide illuminating insights into the social and psychological effects of individual technologies. Applied to digital games, the tetrad reveals the particular ways in which this distinctive cultural form enhances diverse modes of play, obsolesces traditional television viewing, retrieves lost means of participation, and reverses into pervasive and persistent play. The tetrad helps us to situate play within the broader technological and cultural environment.
... Here the population includes the "data slaves" performing call centre work and data entry in American prisons (Costanza-Chock 2003), their only slightly better-paid colleagues in Caribbean "digiports" (Wilson 1998), and those lining up for a day of outsourced call centre work in Columbia after having been laid off the day before (Weiss 2007). In a poignant illustration of the deep divisions existing between knowledge workers globally, tens of thousands of Chinese sweatshop workers "play" video games for money so they can accumulate experience points, special weapons or abilities for virtual characters owned by (Western) gamers who pay for this character development in online worlds such as World of Warcraft (Barboza 2005). The explosion of knowledge work, these thinkers have pointed out, has not eliminated the sweatshop, but only brought about its digital variant. ...
... In such cases the virtual world can be regarded as a very 'real' opportunity for profit. 15 For some authors, these virtual environments should be considered as mundane 'extensions of the earth', and therefore, their participants should be treated by the law the same way as in the real world. 16 Legal research has already indicated the need to protect the virtual property of the participants by arguing that virtual objects are indistinguishable from real world property interests. ...
Article
This paper examines the impact of End User license Agreements ("EULAs") in the context of Virtual Worlds and Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games ("MMORPGs"). Within this context, the EULA stands as a declaration of the developers, a virtual 'social contract' which sets the degree of permeability between the real and the virtual, by allowing or banning the commodification of virtual assets. If the developers decide to isolate their virtual environment from the real world, their will should be respected, both by the participants and the law. In that case, freedom of artistic creation should prevail over the virtual rights of the player. On the contrary, the law should intervene more drastically when the developers permit the interaction between the virtual world and the real world, by allowing virtual purchases in real currency. In such cases, the virtual world surpasses the boundaries of a simple game, and therefore the EULA should be checked to ensure that virtual property rights are not suppressed. Finally, the paper reflects on the current legal framework regarding intellectual property from a perspective that would acknowledge the significant contribution of the players in the perpetual development of the virtual environment. This acknowledgement would in turn help to create and maintain a sense of trust and commitment among the participants of the virtual world.
... It is a fact, for instance, that "factories" already exists in some countries where people are employed in "gold-farming", a particular kind of virtual work whereby "workers are paid to harvest virtual treasures for online gamers in the developed world" who "want to advance quickly within their online role-playing games of choice" and avoid the repetitive tasks required "to build a high-level" character (Cherry, 2010, 471). Some gold farmers may work up to 12 hours per day (Barboza, 2005); in some cases detainees in labour camps in China have been reported to be employed in gold-farming (Vincent, 2011). Even if gold farming is not necessarily crowdwork, the existence of goldfarming factories and gold-farming in labour camps should prompt reflections about a fundamental issue: virtual work is not necessarily dispersed in people's homes and it can very well be concentrated in "factories" and sweatshops. ...
Article
Paper available at: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2682602 The so-called “gig-economy” has been growing exponentially in numbers and importance in recent years but its impact on labour rights has been largely overseen. Work in the “gig-economy” includes “crowd work”, and “work-on-demand via apps”, under which the demand and supply of working activities is matched online or via mobile apps. Whilst these forms of employment present significant differences among themselves, they also share striking similarities. They can provide a good match of job opportunities, allow flexible working schedules and potentially contribute to redefining the boundaries of the firm. However, they can also pave the way to a severe commodification of labour. This paper discusses the implications of this commodification and advocates the recognition of activities in the gig-economy as work, as the risk of labour being hidden under catchphrases such as “gigs”, “tasks”, “rides” etc. is currently extremely high. It shows how the gig-economy is not a separate silo of the economy and how it is part of broader phenomena such as casualization and informalisation of work and the spread of non-standard forms of employment. It then analyses the risks associated to these activities with regard to Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as they are defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and addresses the issue of misclassification of the employment status of workers in the gig-economy, based on existing service agreements, business practices and litigation in this sector. Current relevant trends are thus examined, such as the emergence of forms of self-organisation of workers. Finally some policy proposals are critically analysed, such as the possibility of creating an intermediate category between “employee” and “independent contractor” to classify workers in the gig-economy, and other tentative proposals are put forward such as advocacy for the full acknowledgment of activities in this sector as work, extension of fundamental labour rights to all workers irrespective of employment status, and recognition of the role of social partners in this respect, whilst avoiding temptations of hastened deregulation. This paper is to be presented at the seminar on Crowd-Sourcing, the Gig Economy, and the Law, hold at the Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, on 7 November 2015. Contributions presented at the seminar will be published, after review, in a special issue of the Comparative Labor Law & Policy Journal, in 2016.
... It is a fact, for instance, that "factories" already exist in some countries where people are employed in "gold-farming", a particular kind of virtual work whereby "workers are paid to harvest virtual treasures for online gamers in the developed world" who "want to advance quickly within their online role-playing games of choice" and avoid the repetitive tasks required "to build a high-level" character (Cherry, 2010, 471). Some gold farmers may work up to 12 hours per day (Barboza, 2005); in some cases, detainees in labour camps in China have been reported to be employed in gold-farming (Vincent, 2011). The existence of gold-farming factories and gold-farming in labour camps should prompt reflections about a fundamental issue: virtual work is not necessarily dispersed in people's homes and it can very well be concentrated in "factories" and sweatshops. ...
Article
The so-called “gig-economy” has been growing exponentially in numbers and importance in recent years but its impact on labour rights has been largely overlooked. Forms of work in the “gig-economy” include “crowd work”, and “work-on-demand via apps”, under which the demand and supply of working activities is matched online or via mobile apps. These forms of work can provide a good match of job opportunities and allow flexible working schedules. However, they can also pave the way to a severe commodification of work. This paper discusses the implications of this commodification and advocates the full recognition of activities in the gig-economy as “work”. It shows how the gig-economy is not a separate silo of the economy and that is part of broader phenomena such as casualization and informalisation of work and the spread of non-standard forms of employment. It then addresses the issue of misclassification of the employment status of workers in the gig-economy. Current relevant trends are thus examined, such as the emergence of forms of self-organisation of workers. Finally, some policy proposals are critically analysed, such as the possibility of creating an intermediate category of worker between “employee” and “independent contractor” to classify work in the gig-economy, and other tentative proposals are put forward such extension of fundamental labour rights to all workers irrespective of employment status, and recognition of the role of social partners in this respect, whilst avoiding temptations of hastened deregulation.
... In some developing and emerging countries, factories exist where people are employed in 'gold-farming', a particular kind of online work whereby 'workers are paid to harvest virtual treasures for online gamers in the developed world' who 'want to advance quickly within their online role-playing games of choice' and avoid the repetitive tasks required 'to build a high-level' character (Cherry, 2010, 471). Some gold farmers may work up to 12 hours per day (Barboza, 2005); in some cases, detainees in labour camps in China have been reported to be employed in gold-farming (Vincent, 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
The spread of non-standard forms of employment in industrialised and developing countries over the last decades has prompted an extensive debate on how to reshape labour regulation to accommodate these new formats. However, limited attention has been devoted to the access of non-standard workers to fundamental labour rights. This chapter aims at reorienting the debate towards these neglected dimensions of labour regulation. In particular, it focuses on the risks affecting work in the so-called ‘gig’ or ‘platform’ economy, since the relative novelty of these forms of work may obscure the difficulties these workers face in enjoying fundamental labour rights. Platform workers, together with casual workers and some self-employed workers not only are more exposed to violations of fundamental rights but also are also often excluded from the legal scope of application of these rights, which are sometimes reserved to workers in an employment relationship. This is particularly true for collective labour rights, as self-employed workers, including sham self-employed persons and platform workers, who are often deprived of full access to the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining. This happens, for instance, when their collective activities are found to be in breach of antitrust regulation. This chapter maintains that preventing self-employed workers who do not own a genuine and significant business organisation from bargaining collectively is at odds with the recognition of the right to collective bargaining as a human and a fundamental right. Consequently, it argues that only self-employed individuals who do not provide ‘labour’ but instead provide services using an independent, genuine and significant business organisation that they own and manage can have their right to bargain collectively restricted.
... Different arguments are mobilized to support the former position (Anon. 2006;Barboza 2005;Dibbell 2007;Jin 2006;Russell 2004). It is argued that gold-farm workplace environments are more similar to typical offices than manufacturing plants and are hence much more safe and comfortable than the typical sweatshop. ...
... And I can play games all day." 53 And one of Ge Jin's interviewees, Xiong Xiong, states, "We are playing at the highest level, not just for money but also for fun. When so many people are playing together, it's important to have fun. ...
Chapter
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Virtual Worlds are a very recent phenomenon on the cultural stage, and although Massively Multiple Online Games (mmogs) and Massively Multiple Online Role-Playing Games (mmorpgs) comprised the first instances of virtual worlds, many non-competitive virtual environments now exist. Virtual worlds are an ongoing topic of interest and discussion on the Internet, and although the acronyms hardly roll off the tongue, this has not stifled their use: a Google search for “mmog” yields 2.8 million results, for “mmorpg” 28.3 million. Since their inception in 2004, the universe of virtual worlds has expanded dramatically, but the aim of this chapter is neither to provide an exhaustive list nor a definitive account of these cyber realities—if this were even possible. It is, rather, to explore the extent to which virtual worlds have impacted Canadian popular culture, and to find a way to rethink the implications and consequences of virtual worlds in a manner that avoids portraying players either as dupes of the military-entertainment complex (a Media Studies 1.0 analysis) or socially irresponsible, apolitical aesthetes (a Media Studies 2.0 analysis)—to move beyond this either/or impasse.4 Virtual worlds are considered in terms of three broad categories: (1) first-person- shooter, (2) role-playing/questing, and (3) socializing/community-building, and the chapter’s focus is predominantly, but not exclusively, on three exemplary instances of this division: Bungie’s Halo 3 (H3), Blizzard Entertainment’s World of Warcraft (WoW), and Linden Lab’s Second Life (SL).
... Por ejemplo, es un hecho la existencia de "fábricas" en algunos países en las que se contrata a gente para "recolectar oro", un curioso tipo de trabajo virtual por el que "se paga a los trabajadores para que recolecten los tesoros virtuales de jugadores online del mundo desarrollado" que "deseen avanzar rápidamente en los juegos de rol online de su elección" y puedan evitar las tareas repetitivas necesarias para "crear un personaje de alto nivel" (Cherry, 2010, 471). Algunos de estos "recolectores de oro" llegan a trabajar hasta 12 horas diarias (Barboza, 2005); de hecho, se han conocido casos de reclusos en ciertos campos de trabajo de China que estaban empleados en estas actividades (Vincent, 2011). La existencia de este tipo de fábricas y de estas actividades en los campos de trabajo debería hacernos reflexionar sobre un asunto fundamental: el trabajo virtual no tiene por qué existir únicamente en los hogares de la gente, sino que puede concentrarse en "fábricas" y talleres clandestinos: no puede descartarse el riesgo de que existan talleres en los que se obligue a la gente a ejecutar ciertas formas de crowdwork. ...
Article
GACETA SINDICAL nº 27. ¿Una nueva revolución industrial? La economía digital y sus implicaciones socioeconómicas y laborales. Economía digital: estrategia empresarial y modelos de negocio Ana Rosa del-Águila Obra (Profesora Titular. Universidad de Málaga) Resumen El objetivo de este trabajo es responder al interrogante: ¿Cómo está respondiendo la empresa española al reto de la digitalización?. Para ello, el trabajo aborda, en primer lugar, un análisis de las amenazas y oportunidades del entorno hipercompetitivo actual, derivadas del proceso de digitalización que la economía viene experimentando en las dos últimas décadas. Posteriormente, se analizan los modelos de negocio de éxito que permiten a las empresas alcanzar ventajas competitivas en este contexto, y qué decisiones estratégicas se deben adoptar. Finalmente, se aportan una serie de recomendaciones para las empresas españolas y la sociedad en general. Introducción Las primeras referencias a la economía digital, en el contexto internacional, las encontramos en los trabajos de Tapscott en 1996 i. Desde el ámbito académico en España, se ha prestado atención al fenómeno casi desde sus inicios, en lo relativo a su impacto en la empresa ii. Ya entonces se definía la economía digital, o economía de internet, como el impacto global de las tecnologías de la información y de la comunicación (TI), no sólo de Internet, en la economía, desde el punto de vista tanto macroeconómico como microeconómico. En estos últimos 20 años se han producido cambios muy notables derivados del impacto, tanto en la demanda como en la oferta, de la economía digital iii. Concretamente, se observa como (1) determinados productos, tales como libros, revistas, bases de datos, video juegos, entre otros, son distribuidos a través de infraestructuras digitales; (2) la información se ha transformado en una mercancía; (3) las transacciones de carácter financiero se han digitalizado; (4) el trabajo y los procesos empresariales se organizan de forma distinta y novedosa; (5) tienen lugar innovaciones disruptivas en numerosos sectores; (6) aparecen modelos de negocio basados en el aprovechamiento de recursos ociosos, sin que los emprendedores adquieran la propiedad de tales recursos (economía colaborativa, también conocida por sharing economy o gig economy). Como se ha comentado anteriormente, el desarrollo de la economía digital ha impactado en el ámbito macroeconómico, configurando un entorno hipercompetitivo, en el que surgen nuevas amenazas y oportunidades en oleadas cada vez más cortas en el tiempo, y a las que es preciso dar respuesta. Y desde la perspectiva microeconómica, las empresas deben desarrollar capacidades digitales, y tomar decisiones estratégicas para afrontar los retos que la digitalización de la economía les plantea. En este trabajo llevamos a cabo, en primer lugar, un análisis de las amenazas y oportunidades de la economía digital en su situación actual. Posteriormente se definen los aspectos clave de las decisiones estratégicas que las empresas deben adoptar para responder al entorno, se analizan, así, los modelos de negocio de éxito que permiten
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Linden Lab studies massive online game "Second Life" unexpectedly gained worldwide fame after a few years after release. To the surprise of many game has met with great interest, despite the lack of promotional campaigns. It can be assumed that the reason why "second life" reached a wider audience was a special type of offered entertainment. Network game proved to be no longer a game that was known so far, but an example of a mass media, whose central element is a dynamic virtual world which is an extension of our "first" reality. "Second Life" has the potential, which is challenging the widely shared rules could shake the foundations of the social world. This program is currently the most advanced example of a virtual economy. Unlike many other massive online games and their predecessors, this game is entirely based on the principles of virtual property ownership, as well as rules of conduct virtual business and service, and finally also the consumption of goods. Users of the game, just like the person providing the data in the framework of social networking sites maintained in the mainstream of Web 2.0, user-generated content constituting the virtual world, which can trade content with others linden virtual dolars that can be exchanged to real U.S. dollars. The increase in popularity of "Second Life" brings to mind the vision of the possibility of creating a better place to live for many people. Closer analysis of this phenomenon does not allow for such statements. In the following instances will be presented: information about the growth of the global market for online games and its consequences, the distinguishing features of "Second Life" from traditional online games, virtual elements of the impact of economics on social life, the concept of entertainment as a job stream properties Games 2.0 and contentious issues, which produces "second life". ** Masowa gra on-line "Second Life" studia Linden Lab nieoczekiwanie zdobyła sławę na całym świecie po kilku latach od premiery. Ku zaskoczeniu wielu tytuł spotkał się z ogromnym zainteresowaniem mimo braku akcji promocyjnych. Można przypuszczać, że powodem dla którego "drugie życie" dotarło do szerszego grona odbiorców był szczególny typ zaoferowanej formy rozrywki. Sieciowa gra okazała się nie być już grą jaką znano do tej pory, lecz przykładem środka masowego przekazu, którego centralnym elementem jest dynamiczny wirtualny świat stanowiący przedłużenie naszej, "pierwszej", rzeczywistości. "Second Life" kryje w sobie potencjał, który podważając podzielane powszechnie reguły może wstrząsnąć posadami świata społecznego. Program ten jest obecnie najbardziej zaawansowanym przykładem wirtualnej gospodarki. W odróżnieniu od wielu innych masowych gier on-line i ich poprzedniczek pozycja ta w całości opiera się na zasadach posiadania wirtualnej własności, jak też regułach prowadzenia wirtualnej działalności gospodarczej i usługowej, i wreszcie takiej też konsumpcji dóbr. Użytkownicy gry, podobnie jak osoby udostępniające dane w ramach internetowych serwisów społecznościowych utrzymanych w nurcie Web 2.0, generują treści tworzące wirtualny świat, treści którymi mogą handlować z innymi pobierając za nie opłaty w wirtualnych dolarach lindeńskich wymiennych na realne dolary amerykańskie. Wzrost popularności "Second Life" przywodzi na myśl wizję możliwości stworzenia lepszego miejsca do życia dla wielu ludzi. Bliższa analiza tego zjawiska nie pozwala już na takie stwierdzenia. W dalszej części wystąpienia przedstawione zostaną: informacje o wzroście globalnego rynku gier on-line i jego konsekwencjach, cechy odróżniające "Second Life" od tradycyjnych gier sieciowych, elementy wpływu wirtualnej gospodarki na życie społeczne, pojęcie rozrywki jako pracy, właściwości nurtu Games 2.0 oraz sporne kwestie, jakie wywołuje "drugie życie".
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The ghostly presence of Karl Marx has been haunting these pages. So, as we now enter into the mystifying territory that he identified as “commodity fetishism,” it seems fitting that I should once again summon up his words. “All our inventions and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life and stultifying human life with a material force.”1 This statement served as a background for several of my previous discussions of the fetishism strategy. Now I will be bringing Marx’s words into the foreground, linking them with his meditation on “The Fetishism of the Commodity and its Secret” the title of the fourth section of Chapter One of his magnum opus, Capital.2
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