A study has found that nearly 500,000 people in developing nations earn a wage making virtual goods in online games to sell to players across the other side of the world. The work is called gold farming and involves the workers collecting online cash and exchanging it for the real thing.
As the market is unrestricted by government intervention, those able to gold farm at the lowest price globally are employed. China used to be the centre of gold farming; now Vietnam is on the rise. As they are paid a decent wage within their own countries, both buyer and seller benefit.
Although gold farming is technically against the rules of the games, it is an interesting phenomenon that shows how in the 21st century a global marketplace can be exploited when the governments from respected countries cannot interfere.