In what might sound like a dream come true, prison inmates in China are forced to farm gold in the MMORPG World of Warcraft.

Obviously, things aren’t always as great as they sound. Check out the video below to understand why…

So instead of just suffering physically, China’s prisoners also have to suffer mentally. What might seem like an addictive hobby for a lot of gamers is torture to these prisoners.

According to the Guardian, “prison bosses made more money forcing inmates to play games than they do forcing people to do manual labour.”

This is no surprise as the virtual economy is growing rapidly. Around the World, millions of gamers are prepared to pay real money for virtual currency to obtain virtual goods in games. It is known as “gold farming” – the practice of building up credits and online value through the monotonous repetition of basic tasks in online games such as World of Warcraft. The trade in virtual assets is very real, and outside the control of game publishers.

Figures from the China Internet Centre show that nearly 2 billion dollars worth of virtual currency was traded in China in 2008 and the number of gamers who play to trade credits are on the rise. It is estimated that 80% of all gold farmers are in China; with 100,000 full-time gold farmers in the country.

From the sound of things, China is also going to be a leader of labour exploitation in the virtual world.

via The Guardian

With China’s construction boom, there have been many horror stories of how residents are forced off their land for new construction projects. Although tenants are supposedly able to refuse eviction; in practice, developers will force them off and negotiate the compensation with residents later (usual at an unfair price). This is especially prevalent when there is a major construction project, such as the Olympics.

In other cases, developers still seem to have plenty of tricks up their sleeves. Watch and learn:


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