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Everyone is stupid: Virtual goods worth $100 billion by end of decade

Does your economy exhibit any of the following symptoms? Manufacturing base moved off to the developing world? Out of natural resources to exploit? Agribusiness has the food system by the balls? Record-high unemployment, skyrocketing home foreclosures, or shrinking middle class? The prescription: when there’s nothing left to believe in, believe in make-believe.

According toEdge Online, Trip Hawkins (CEO of casual game company Digital Chocolate) projects that the global market for virtual goods will reach $100 billion by the end of the decade. Really, world: you’re going to spend $100 billion on make-believe items for your imaginary farms? I have a suggestion: instead, spend that money at your local farmers market.

Above: Farmers markets sell “real” goods, the kind you can eat

There’s a much longer article to be researched and written on the manipulation of consumer behavior, perceived value and the wisdom of building an intangible economy on an invisible foundation. Unfortunately, I don’t have time for all that this morning, so instead I’ll offer you a personal anecdote.

Above: A real-life yacht, most likely paid for by your frivolous nickel-and-dime spending

One of the richest guys I know (owns 3 mansions and an island in Sweden), once told me: “I didn’t get rich by spending money all the time.” In fact, he had many lean years, but was able to build up fantastic wealth by always living within his means and investing his hard-earned money wisely.So listen up kids: if you want to be able to afford a house, travel to exotic lands, eat well and live a long, happy life, stop pissing away your money on pointless shiny gizmos and look at the bigger picture. Micropaymentsploitation is a tool invented by The Man to bleed you dry and lock you into a vicious cycle of consumerism and subservience. Just say no!

Above: For Sale

Then again, if your finances are tip-top and you feel strongly that virtual goods add real meaning and significant value to your life, forget everything I just said. I’ve got a bridge to sell you.

April 16, 2010