Tuesday, August 23, 2005


During yet one more discussion about Second Life as an ontological category (is it a "game"? is it a "virtual world"? what is this thing?) today, I began fishing about for a workable analogy, and ended up at the website of the Central Intelligence Agency. Specifically, at the World Factbook notation on the country of Monaco. The results surprised me. Some excerpts from the Monaco listing:

Background: principality of France
Area: 1.95 sq km
Population: 32,409 (July 2005 est.)
Economy overview: "[A] popular resort, attracting tourists to its casino and pleasant climate... The state has no income tax and low business taxes and thrives as a tax haven both for individuals who have established residence and for foreign companies that have set up businesses and offices. The state retains monopolies in a number of sectors, including tobacco, the telephone network, and the postal service."

Geographically, Second Life is now about 25 fully contiguous square miles, and in July 2005, eclipsed Monaco in total population. (Current SL population: 42,263.) A de facto principality of the United States, it also has no income tax and a low business tax (i.e. land use fees.) Tourism, nightclubs, and casino-type games like Tringo dominate the economy. We don't deal in Grace Kelly memorabilia, but we do have our own starlets, and they even engage in impromptu online USO tours for the troops. For now, Linden Lab maintains a monopoly on Instant Messaging, IM-to-e-mail delivery, and inventory object delivery in-world, though a few Residents have developed services that are beginning to compete with those.

Next target marker: Luxembourg (population 468,571).

Posted at 12:31 PM | Permalink


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The thought of Second Life as a micronation has actually occured to me before...

Posted by: Elle Pollack at Aug 23, 2005 11:50:16 PM

Interesting idea, but I think it'd only work if 30,000 people in Monaco only woke up once every 3 months, or didn't exist at all and were just fake IDs of another person, hehe

Posted by: Artemis Fate at Aug 24, 2005 10:03:53 AM

Well, from what I know, that isn't actually far from the truth. An awful lot of citizens of Monaco don't actually LIVE there... as it says, no income tax.

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