New Statesman Burgers
Apt story for the death of the left

I write now as a lefty and not as someone whose day job is trying to get people to read the commercial website about video games (‘videogames’) that I edit. Sadly I find myself writing about this sad piece of hit-begging nonsense masquerading as economic analysis in the New Statesman magazine (Est 1913).

Diablo III is a popular product, famous in its Personal Computer (PC) gaming commercial niche. It is a game of dress up and pretend. It has a hokey premise and mildly exhilarating yet still very conservative (as are most video games produced by large publishers as opposed to the imaginative small indy makers) set of mechanics. It is played out by thousands of people who enjoy it and do no harm.

Recently its makers – Activision/Blizzard, an offshoot of Vivendi – decided to introduce real money auctions to this playground. This is a way to make more money from the harmless people playing the harmless game.

The New Statesman is a political journal from the left, has a staff writer called Alex Hern. Alex saw that he could avoid the necessity of any real work or actual analysis of the cataclysmic state of the UK’s economy by writing about Diablo III’s market for a fictional sword/hamburger (yes, indeed ‘LOL’). Alex saw that writing about something ‘cool’ such as gaming might attract cool readers like a whore attracts cool, drunk, moneyed sailors.

Tedious work such as looking over yesterday’s divisive “Striver vs Skiver” debate on wellfare reform can be left to the likes of the detestable Conservative Home, the usually cheap Huffington Post and a host of others.

So, well done Alex Hern for using hit-bait to illustrate an obvious point about economics that anybody reading the NS would already be aware of and that says absolutely zero about the real world in either fact or your analysis. What is this analysis and insight? This:

“The key one from this story is the fallacy of the idea that goods have some ‘intrinsic’ value. Produce – even a legendary hamburger-dagger – is worth what people are prepared to pay for it. No more, no less.”

Well I’ll be blowed. Who would have realised that? Maybe a 14 year old?

Alex and the NS editors also call this a “teachable lesson”, so a huge language “FAIL” as Alex would probably mouth.

Thank goodness for actual blogs…

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