"In a video game world, all the data are there. It's like being God, who has access to everything and to what every member of the social economy is doing."
- economist Yanis Varoufakis on the appeal of studying game economies
In a new interview with political magazine Reason, economist Yanis Varoufakis explains in detail
why studying Valve's in-game economies -- something he did for the company
between 2012 and 2013 -- is not simply fascinating. He argues that not only could it affect how economists look at the way economies work -- it should dramatically change their thinking.
It's a rare possibility, Varoufakis says, to gain a complete understanding of an economy's function without using models to stand in for data: "... in the video game world, we economists have a smidgen of an opportunity to conduct controlled experiments on a real, functioning macroeconomy. And that may be a scientific window into economic reality that we've never had access to before," he says.
The full interview
with Varoufakis is well worth reading.