Column by Robert Silverberg, on WoW farms, virtual sweat shops, ‘farming‘, and people who buy their way up virtual worlds.

Silverberg asks what’s the point of not earning your way up.

I think the factor is time & effort.
time + effort = pride/ recognition/ satisfaction
money = time + effort
money = pride/ recognition/ satisfaction (albeit a different kind)

Those who buy ‘farmed’ reputations don’t want to earn a reputation per se. They want to be recognised. They might not even care if people think their credentials are faked. They see nothing wrong in trading money to exchange for reputation, which becomes a commodity itself.

Come to think of it, in a Knowledge Economy, even Reputation can be bought and sold.