Virtual worlds, real exploitation

This article has now been published in Swedish.
***
“A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five.” — Groucho Marx
Seriously, if you were born before 1985, you might have some problems understanding this. So let me start at the beginning.
There is a phenomenon called online gaming. Simply put, you combine computer games with the Internet, allowing you to interact with other people who are online at the same time. Many of these games are known as MMORPGs, which stands for massive(ly) multiplayer online role-playing games.
Some of the more popular MMORPGs include Ultima Online, EverQuest, City of Heroes, Dark Age of Camelot, World of Warcraft, and Runescape. They often have magical themes involving wizards and monsters.
Many of the games have hundreds of thousands of subscribed players who pay fees to use them. (Some of the games are free to play.) There are an estimated 27 million players of such games today, one third of them in South Korea.
So far, you must be thinking: what possible connection could this have to the trade union movement? Be patient — we’re getting to that.


In these games, as in many computer games, over time one acquires possessions, skills, rank and so on. Often, moving on in the game is a long, slow tedious process — and many computer gamers look for short-cuts to get beyond the lower levels of the game.
In MMORPGs, those shortcuts might involve getting hold of objects (including virtual money) from other players. Those objects can be traded. Which means that outside of the virtual worlds, trading can also take place. Many players seem willing to part with their cash (real-world cash, that is) in order to buy virtual objects in the games.
This activity made headlines in December 2004 when a 22-year-old Australian gamer spent $26,500 (real money) to buy a virtual island in the online game Project Entropia. This was no ordinary island. According to the game developers, “The island boasts beautiful beaches ripe for developing beachfront property, an old volcano with rumors of fierce creatures within, the outback is overrun with mutants, and an area with a high concentration of robotic miners guarded by heavily armed assault robots indicates interesting mining opportunities.”
“This is a historic moment in gaming history, and this sale only goes to prove that massive multi-player online gaming has reached a new plateau,” said a spokesman for the company behind the game.
Meanwhile, eBay, the online auction service, is filled with people buying and selling virtual objects for use in online games. Some game companies, such as Sony, which is behind EverQuest, forbid players from buying or selling game characters, items, or currency — and have moved to block the sale of such items on eBay.
So far, it all sounds pretty crazy, but where’s the relevance to trade unions?
According to the BBC, the problem begins with something called “grinding”. This is a process in which “gamers have to perform long-winded, mindless tasks, to bring up their levels and gain access to more adventure”. And this problem has created a market, and an opportunity for profit.
If you were to go online, join in one of these games, over time you’d advance, acquire objects, and these would have value to other players — especially those who wanted to avoid those “long-winded, mindless tasks”. You could sell those objects, either to your friends or players you’ve met in the game, or to online brokers, or via eBay. In fact, you could hire people to play such games on your behalf for hours on end, and you could sell what they have acquired. If you employed those people in countries with very low incomes, in countries with weak or non-existent trade unions, you could make bigger profits. Get the idea?
According to an article by Tim Guest in the Telegraph Magazine, in mainland China “people are employed to play the games nine to five, scoring virtual booty which IGE [Internet Gaming Entertainment] can sell on at a profit to Western buyers.”
China, as is known, has no free trade unions which makes it easy to pay sweatshop wages. Tony Thompson, writing for The Observer, investigated a California-based company known as Gamersloot.net which employs Romanians to play MMORPGs for ten hours a day, earning $5.40 — $0.54 per hour. That is the considerably less than what IGE claims to be paying Chinese workers.
When you visit the website of gamersloot.net, you won’t find any mention of virtual sweatshops in Romania, China or anywhere else. The site bills itself as “a central location to purchase or trade online game cd-keys, accounts, gold, items, and powerleveling services”, whatever that means. The company says very little about itself, except that it is soliciting investors — and hopes to work with a children’s charity. Not a word about the “loot” it has acquired, where it comes from, etc.
Internet Gaming Entertainment (IGE), whose website is located at http://www.ige.com, touts itself as a place to “buy gaming currency, items, accounts, and more”. Its website is a little bit more revealing about where the virtual currency it is selling comes from: “The stock we have available has been purchased legitimately from game players the world over who chose to sell their excess.” Presumbably, these are the people working in virtual sweatshops in Romania, China and elsewhere.
As massively multiplayer gaming takes off (and broadband Internet is driving this), the market for virtual products will hugely increase. Which means that more and more people will be employed to play these games in low-wage, union-free countries.
That’s why this is going to become an issue for trade unionists. Fortunately, there is a difference between these virtual sweatshops and those producing, say, toys or garments. The virtual sweatshops creating objects for sale to online gamers are themselves online. The workers are using the Internet every minute they work, and they probably need a certain proficiency with English in order to play the games. This could make them targets of online, global organizing drives.

22 Responses to “Virtual worlds, real exploitation”

  1. Al Says:

    Last time I checked sweatshops dont pay employees.

  2. Eric Lee Says:

    Actually, Al, they do. But they don’t pay them very much. If they paid their workers nothing at all, the workers would die of starvation and wouldn’t be of very much use, would they?

  3. john Says:

    Actually i’ve sold alot of virtual currency to IGE and i know many players that have also. I know for a fact that most of IGE’s EQ product comes from actual gamers not these so called sweatshops. The average price they buy currency at currently is $30 for 100,000 platinum pieces and its pretty easy to make 300,000 platinum pieces in a 5 hour gaming period so your looking at $90 for 5 hours of work. The payoff used to be alot better before the latest round of games came out and took alot of the players from EQ. If you call that sweat shop wages i call you insane.
    I’m not here to defend IGE either. There is a game called Lineage 2 which i dont play that was pretty much ruined by a flood of chinese bot players. I don’t know if IGE was behind that or not but i can tell you that this isnt the case in all MMORPG’s.
    Anytime you have value placed on an object be it virtual or physical your going to have a trading community evolve to fill the need. There is no way to prevent the sale of virtual items nor would it be ethical. In a free market system all things of value as long as its not detrimental to state interests should be available to buy and sell.
    I find it funny you take the time to write this about a game and a business that makes a few million dollars a year when the mining companies of america are raping the planet, payin little to no taxes and leaving behind a wasted environment.. oh wait those are union workers so its all good.

  4. Todd Says:

    If, in fact, John you do “know for a fact” what IGE is up to, let’s see some proof. Eric posted the names of the papers and reporters involved in finding out this info; where’re your references?
    Furthermore, if you “know for a fact” that “most” of IGE’s product comes from actual players, what about the SOME of it you presumably don’t “know for a fact”?
    As for the wages, those _are_ sweatshop wages. If players happen to make more money from their sales, much as wait staff in restaurants do with tips, then that’s great for them. Problem is that the employer _expects_ their staff to make up for their otherwise poor pay through tips. Why not pay those players at least a minimum wage for their work instead of cheating them?
    “Unethical to prevent the sale of items?” Um, can we say “thalidomide”, Junior? Besides, where does Eric decry the act of selling? He mentions one _company’s_ efforts to stop it; go whine at them.
    Finally, for your ignorant and completely pointless comment about organized labour and pollution: why do you attack the workers and not the ones _making_ the decisions to pollute? Oh wait, you’re anti-union, so it’s all the same . . . .

  5. john Says:

    First off as for miners i’m sure Hitlers men were just doing their jobs too. Killing jews or killing our planet i dont really see the difference. I’m not anti union only anti stupidity. My mother was a union worker for decades. Unions have their place and as long as they know where that is and dont over step their bounds then they’re just fine. If the unions only goal is to protect its workers and it ignores the environment then not only is it doing a disservice to its members its also failing society and ultimately itself.
    Secondly if IGE is using sweatshop labor to garner its items then why would it offer the best money to players to buy their items? It doesnt make sense. If they are in fact paying a bunch of Chinese to sit and play games then why are they paying me such good money? Seems to me if whats being said is true they wouldnt need players like me. Most importantly its probably the dumbest approach you can take to “farming” mmorpgs.
    Let me say that i have more knowledge on this subject than you or Eric. I participate in the actual trade on these games. I know the players. I know the companies involved. I don’t just read articles and go around qouting them acting like i know something.
    Now i understand Eric has some knowledge in Info sys so i’m sure he’ll understand this. Computer games are driven by commands. Commands that are input by the player. You can automate these commands in the form of a macro. Macro’s are free. Macro’s are extremely easy to make. I know an Australian that had 30 pc’s all macroed out “farming” these MMORPG’s. He made over $15,000 a month and was rarely near a computer. So explain why with a few hours of programming and a bit of networking skill someone would choose to exploit asian workers that even in a short period would cost them more money than a macro program?
    I’m not saying that it doesnt happen only that if it does it wont last long because theres ways to do this without people. Just like auto workers get replaced with robots so would any gamer being paid.

  6. courtney Says:

    the biggest challenge to the left-of-center position has always been that we have a common enemy but that’s all we have in common. no need to be so nasty to each other…
    just wanted to put my two cents in –
    i think this article is really interesting, definitely not conclusive, but i don’t think it was meant to be. more thought-provoking than deriding.
    internet cafes are considered by many to be a major social problem in east asian countries. i witnessed an intervention in taiwan with parents begging their son to come home. people spend hours, days, one guy made the newspapers with a record 42 days without leaving the cafe… many serve drinks, meals, you can smoke, chew betel nuts or whatever your local upper is – it’s cheap, comfortable, all your friends are there, you’ve got tournaments, etc. there’s a real social stigma attached to hanging out in these places, not unlike hanging out at a bar. many gamers don’t have other jobs. jobs are scarce and their freetime is easily consumed by online gaming. it would be interesting to see societal changes, or changes in perception of gamers, if they actually made a living on this hobby.
    i also had a friend who recently moved back to singapore, very intelligent guy who hated work and school and LOVED all things technological… he made a very comfortable living by selling items and characters online.
    at this point, it sounds like a lot of gamers’ dreams come true. finally, all that time pays off. if you don’t have any other job and you’re spending your life in an internet cafe, getting some money for your hobby might not be such a bad idea. i bet the families are pretty happy about this opportunity. how much are the chinese workers making? how does it stack up to foreign investors’ factory work offers?
    interesting, indeed.

  7. Todd Says:

    >First off as for miners i’m sure Hitlers men were just doing their jobs too. Killing jews or >killing our planet i dont really see the difference. I’m not anti union only anti stupidity. My >mother was a union worker for decades. Unions have their place and as long as they know where >that is and dont over step their bounds then they’re just fine. If the unions only goal is to >protect its workers and it ignores the environment then not only is it doing a disservice to its >members its also failing society and ultimately itself.
    ???
    Now you bring in the Third Reich? Is your position really that piss-poor that you give cause to invoke Godwin’s Law this early?
    If you’re “anti-stupidity” and not anti-union, why on Earth did you invoke such a far-flung criticism of the possible limits of some unions in a sector so far from the initial discussion to a thread about “gaming sweatshops”? You haul in something that has _nothing_ to do with the topic, then go ballistic when I point that out.
    Maybe your little “anti-stupidity” campaign should begin a little closer to home . . . .
    >Secondly if IGE is using sweatshop labor to garner its items then why would it offer the best >money to players to buy their items? It doesnt make sense.
    If they’re making enough money regularly by the sale of items garnered en masse by employees ie have an uninterrupted revenue-flow through sweated labour, it’s possible they can easily afford to purchase other items that are more rare which they can then sell back to others for higher prices. I don’t have any numbers in front of me; this is speculation. However, I have a great doubt you have any numbers in front of you either.
    >If they are in fact paying a bunch of Chinese to sit and play games then why are they paying me >such good money? Seems to me if whats being said is true they wouldnt need players like me.
    When you say “players like me” do you mean you’re special in some way? Have you been playing for a long time and garnered lots of rare and valuable stuff for them to buy off you? That could be why you have a “place”. And it’s not as though IGE is the only place where you can sell stuff off, right?
    >Most importantly its probably the dumbest approach you can take to “farming” mmorpgs.
    Assuming this is going on, the intelligence of the owners of the activity isn’t what’s at issue. For all we know, they’ll wake up tomorrow and figure out some “better” ie more profitable way of doing this.
    Fouling our own planet is probably the dumbest approach you can take to fueling energy needs, but nobody said capitalists had to be smart . . . .
    >Let me say that i have more knowledge on this subject than you or Eric. I participate in the >actual trade on these games. I know the players. I know the companies involved. I don’t just >read articles and go around qouting them acting like i know something.
    And I know there are people out there in the world who make big claims about this or that without a shred of the flimsiest evidence to back them up. Right now, Eric and I have evidence of a sort, you don’t.
    Like it or not, you’re just words on a screen. I don’t know you from Adam. I don’t have to trust what you say is as well researched as a newspaper article if all I have to go on is your say-so.
    >Now i understand Eric has some knowledge in Info sys so i’m sure he’ll understand this. Computer >games are driven by commands. Commands that are input by the player. You can automate these >commands in the form of a macro. Macro’s are free. Macro’s are extremely easy to make. I know an >Australian that had 30 pc’s all macroed out “farming” these MMORPG’s. He made over $15,000 a >month and was rarely near a computer. So explain why with a few hours of programming and a bit >of networking skill someone would choose to exploit asian workers that even in a short period >would cost them more money than a macro program?
    Because that someone doesn’t have the time, patience, money, skills, etc (or thinks they don’t) to do all that? I’ve met smart, well-educated people who were highly-paid workers in their chosen field, yet they literally couldn’t turn on a computer.
    Why would someone choose to start smoking, knowing full well the consequences that likely will hit them in time?
    Why aren’t _you_ making over $15,000 a month copying what your Australian friend did if it’s so easy?
    >I’m not saying that it doesnt happen only that if it does it wont last long because theres ways >to do this without people. Just like auto workers get replaced with robots so would any gamer >being paid.
    Maybe there are ways to do this without people, and maybe it might happen some time. How does that change what the sweatshops are doing now?

  8. John Says:

    Sigh..
    Where to begin Todd.
    First i didnt go ballistic. I was simply pointing out that Unions don’t solve the problem of exploitation. Your argument that they are just doing there jobs was flimsy at best. That logic didnt work for the third reich and it doesnt work for union workers who kill our planet. I invoke the mining argument because its the easiest and since Eric is in his article trying to say that in countries that dont allow trade unions people are exploited. Clearly he chose the wrong subject to make that argument and didnt expect someone with first hand knowledge of the business to stumble across such a blatant piece of propaganda.
    I know how easy it is to exploit these games. You dont need sweatshop labor. All you need is a free macro program available for download from numerous sites and about 5 minutes to figure out where the record button is.
    I remember when i was 16 making pizza for $3.32/hr. Man i wish i was able to play video games for money back then. I think exploiting people is bad. I dont think any person with morals could disagree with the sentiment. I simply disagree with the facts because i have first hand knowledge.
    Anyway i see no intelligent discussion developing here so i wish you well and i hope before you rush to judgement about an industry, you actually investigate it before qouting people who clearly have no idea about the subject.

  9. Wolfe Braude Says:

    Very interesting thread.
    I see that John has run out of counter-arguments or facts, otherwise he would have countered Todd’s detailed reply point by point.
    My 5c worth would be that some elements of John’s position are correct, but that does not change the fact that the real issue here is that 1 ‘sweatshop’ is 1 too many. If these practices exist they must be opposed. As our federation’s banner slogan says: “An injury to one is an injury to all”. I would agree with Todd’s position. Exploitation follows financial opportunity, i.e. where money can be made, someone will always try to exploit others to get a larger profit. Goes with human nature.
    Finally, ‘left’ thinking addresses capitalism’s exploitation of the planet as key element in the ‘creative destruction’ practiced by capital. Therefore most unions see industrial environmental pollution as an element of their struggle, especially as fellow workers/worker communities are usually the ones who have to live with the pollution/ in the polluted areas.
    God bless,
    Wolfe

  10. Jason Says:

    um hmmm i play Eq all day long for free , and OMG heaven forbid that some one pay some one a low wage to sit there all day and have fun playing a game . at least they are getting paid not like they are sewing together 1000 velvet sweatsuits a day for $1.00 an hour , leav it be guys your points valid but going on ears that arent listening

  11. Bayonette Says:

    I’m not going to metion facts and figures, that I know but can’t refference, nor am I going to get into a heated point-by-point debate to try and prove my intelligence or the lack of someone else’s. Instead, I am just going to explain my own feelings based on my own experience on this matter. Being feelings, you can chose to agree with them or disagree with them.
    Like John and Jason, I have actually played EverQuest (as well as other MMORPGs). While I am well-aware of the availability of virtual-for-real cash exchanges, I have never, nor will I ever, support or condone these practices. Regardless of where you may claim or theorize that cash is coming from, it grossly inflates the in-game economy and quickly errodes the gameplay.
    Whether this money comes from a John Doe playing the game 8 hours (or more) a day of his own free-will, a poor child being “forced to play against his will”, or a tech-savy wizard exploiting the game via macro and bot programs; it all adds up to unskilled players being able to purchase power and the inflation of the economy. This makes it increasingly difficult for the lower-level legitimate players and also detracts from the pride that legitimately powerful-players can have in the items they have acquired through lots of time and effort.

  12. KP 103 IBEW Boston Says:

    Blah Blah Blah. I appreciate the view of those who oppose any type of expliotation at all. This should not be tolerated, no matter where it happens. I don’t think it is left wing philosophy, just compassionate. I’m pro- business. I also get off on being able to see someone benefit from being employed by business being generated by me. Even if it means that I won’t make that extra buck. The failure to care for anyone being forced to do something for nothing (oh excuse me) minimum wage, makes me sick. My Country used to pride itself on rising from the gutter and HELPING those who need it (after the Great Depression). Now it is loosing it’s grip on what was once a firm foundation consisting of the middle class. If the Republicans succeed with their agenda, say goodbye to fantasy land and start shaking with fear that the worst is yet to come.
    Of course the haves don’t agree because they are too shallow minded, empty hearted, and cheap to see it coming.
    Call me crazy if you will, but I don’t really care what you think.
    End of story for me.

  13. FrankTheTank Says:

    I can tell you that even if IGE (or any of the various resellers) are buying your virtual currency at a high rate, it does not mean they aren’t employing sweat shops. It’s a business strategy. If everyone is selling their currency to your company, then you can more easily control the retail prices for currency sales. Basically, when you sell to a reseller, you are eliminating the competition for them. The currency you’re getting paid for may not be all that marginable to the virtual retailer, but there’s other incentives that come with it.

  14. Patrick Says:

    ‘llo guys =)
    http://www.Gamersloot.net here.
    Interesting that you indicate that the Observer “investigated” us, however you don’t link to the actual article. Might it be because in there the employees themselves give their point of view and indicate that they’re darn glad to have those jobs, that it’s fun and they actually come back after hours to play some more?
    We’ve gotten a lot of requests from romanians requesting to work with us.
    Not just from romanians actually. It’s clear that $5 a day isn’t gonna buy the car -you- probably have, but it’s a nice job that feeds families quite decently in those places.
    They’re not working in mines and dying before 30 guys. Those are nice comfy jobs in an office in front of a computer doing what most people pay to do. Not get paid.
    Yeah it’s sometimes repetitive and not the best job in the world. Beats McDo by far though.
    Oh yeah, and they’ve been earning more than me during this entire time. Haven’t drawn a salary yet. Maybe I’ll make it up over time. Maybe not. In the meantime they have a job…
    So… how many families have you been providing a decent living for in the past few years? 😉
    Thanks for the suggestion though, we should provide more information about where the work is from and such.
    Patrick.

  15. Todd Says:

    Here’s a link to what I presume is the article:
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1436411,00.html
    Interesting that you didn’t give it yourself, Patrick, in a bid to “correct the mistake”.
    Having paid jobs is great (considering the alternative); nobody’s arguing against that.
    What the argument in the article is about is sweatshop labour, which you state is:
    “If you mean employing people that don’t mind “playing” a computer game for eight to 10 hours a day at a wage that would starve a UK resident but it is a decent salary for an employed university graduate in their country . . . .”
    (BTW: your wages would starve a Canadian too; your employees make about .57 cents an hour for their labour in Canadian funds.)
    You also forget to mention that such wages are done for one reason only: so the company ie the owners can get wealthier through their exploiting.
    Such exploitation is natural enough under capitalism; however, hopefully, a union will form, or a government will be prodded to pass laws that will work to get your workers better wages from you. Which will, prompt you, no doubt, to fire them or intimidate them so you can keep your profit margin fat.
    Here’s a thought: why don’t you cut those wages even more so you can help more people by hiring more workers? Your profit margin stays fat, more people are employed (at worse wages, but you’re SO good giving them jobs at all, who cares, right?), and more people are happily playing games.
    Everybody wins, right?
    You got a worker’s insurance plan for RSI? Or would that make the workers unhappy?
    “Providing a decent living?” Not in Britain, the US, or Canada, but that’s the beauty of being able to ship electronic drudge work overseas, eh?
    And what happens to your decent wages should the local economy pick up? People will get into this curious habit of wanting to buy more, so they’ll either want increases to their wages, or they’ll leave. Of course, then you could just pull a WalMart and get out of the area to some other poor place in the world where, once again, you can pat yourself on the back about what a good boy you are.

  16. Lucian Says:

    Hello, all! i am working for Patrick, and i want to say to you Todd that you are doing a bigg mistake by not beliving what Patrick sayd! i am just trying to make you a real picture here, i work for him, ( and i am happy becouse of that), the ideea of exploitation is in your head, couse i don,t feel exploited, but i think is verry hard for you to understend how i can have a good life with 120$/mounth,becouse i bet your salary is bigger. But in my country i can do a decent life! i am not saying that are not companyes that exploit children or good knows what, but i want you and all people to know that Gamersloot.net is diffrent, and helped us, and i pray that they will keep helping us more and more,couse without them i wouldn,t be talking here today( maybe i,ll be dead of starvation,or in a foreaign country beging for some $….). The point is that you don,t have to be so rough to thinghs that you don,t understend or you are not sure about it.Imagin that other countryes are verry poor, and what $ will buy you a coca-cola will make a man in those countryes live for 1 week.Patrick gived us more $ then he made is true, becouse is an honest man, he belive in good, and he try to help as manny people as he can, and this is a real man, and you should try to help someone before you go atacking that person! that is all i have to say for now, excuse my spelling mistakes, but my english is learned from tv, so….. :=(

  17. Patrick Says:

    Hello Todd
    I forgot to post the link, meant to! =b
    “What the argument in the article is about is sweatshop labour, which you state is:
    “If you mean employing people that don’t mind “playing” a computer game for eight to 10 hours a day at a wage that would starve a UK resident but it is a decent salary for an employed university graduate in their country . . . .” ”
    Actually, I was rather joking when I made that statement. I don’t know where you work, but it seems to me that 8-10hrs of work in a day is fairly standard for a hard worker. Or even just a regular worker.
    And the point is that I’m employing people that make a decent living on what I pay them. Might not seem like much to you, but it’s very nice for them. We’re not talking slave wages so they can eat and not die. We’re talking money for rent, food, clothes, not just for themselves but for a family, and some extra left for entertainment.
    Could I pay them less? Sure. Oddly, I did the opposite just recently. The $ dropped a lot over the past few months, so I raised their pay (which is in $) by 25%. They weren’t complaining, but were working well and deserved it. They also get bonuses when we get enough orders and can afford it.
    The point isn’t to “employ” as many people as possible, but rather to provide a decent living to as many as possible. Paying them less wouldn’t do that.
    Todd: “You also forget to mention that such wages are done for one reason only: so the company ie the owners can get wealthier through their exploiting.”
    Hum… I’m glad we don’t live in the same world 🙂
    In mine, I try not to assign motives to people I don’t know without evidence.
    Might be hard to believe, but I’m not doing it for the money. Money’s a means, not an end. The end -is- to provide decent living conditions to as many people as I can.
    Take a look on our site early April, we are supposed to post some evidence that what I’m saying isn’t just talk. 🙂
    Patrick.
    PS: I was actually surprised one of my employee found this site, and I find it interesting that they consider I took -their- side in the discussion =b

  18. Todd Says:

    >Hello, all! i am working for Patrick, and i want >to say to you Todd that you are doing a bigg >mistake by not beliving what Patrick sayd!
    Where did I say I did not believe Patrick? Show me.
    >i am just trying to make you a real picture >here, i work for him, ( and i am happy becouse of >that), the ideea of exploitation is in your >head, couse i don,t feel exploited,
    I do not feel my brain working, or the blood moving in my body. That does not mean it is not there.
    Sometimes, you just have to ask someone else what is happening to you.
    Exploitation happens to everyone who is an employee of someone else. I am exploited by my bosses; even if I made $100 US an hour, so long as I work for a person, I am exploited. A person can live very well, being exploited by others, but that does not mean they are not exploited.
    >but i think is verry hard for you to understend >how i can have a good life with 120>$/mounth,becouse i bet your salary is bigger.
    Maybe you can have a good life on your salary; I don’t know your life. I am not saying you cannot have a good life on your salary. If you have good friends, a loving family, and all that, salary might not matter so much to you.
    But more money never hurts.
    But that does not change the fact that owners of companies exploit people. They do not do it because they are bad people; it happens because that is just the way a business works.
    >But in my country i can do a decent life! i am >not saying that are not companyes that exploit >children or good knows what, but i want you and >all people to know that Gamersloot.net is >diffrent, and helped us, and i pray that they >will keep helping us more and more,couse without >them i wouldn,t be talking here today( maybe >i,ll be dead of starvation,or in a foreaign >country beging for some $….).
    Would it be better if you could help yourself by getting together with other people working there at Gamersloop, when you all think the time is right, and asking the company for more money? For the money you need, not what the _company_ thinks you need?
    >Patrick gived us more $ then he made is true, >becouse is an honest man, he belive in good, and >he try to help as manny people as he can, and >this is a real man,
    Patrick will get his money later, don’t worry.
    He is a smart businessman, making money like you. Would you work for Patrick for free all the time, even if you like playing computer games? No. You need money to live. Same as Patrick. If he did not think he would get money out of Gamersloop, he probably would not be there as much as he is.
    Patrick is helping himself by helping others. That’s what a business-owner does. And by helping others, he exploits them.
    >and you should try to help someone before you go >atacking that person!
    If a doctor tells a man to lose weight, does he tell the man this because he thinks fat people are ugly and stupid-looking? A doctor looks at the patient and finds out what is going on with him. Then, from what he has learned at school, the doctor tells the patient the best way to keep healthy. It is not an attack.
    I know something about what Patrick and owners like him do. I learned about this from other people, from reading books in the library, and from seeing this same thing happen again and again to people who work. That’s why it looks like I attack him: I show him and others what he is doing at the same time he does good.

  19. Todd Says:

    >”What the argument in the article is about is sweatshop labour, which you state is:
    >”If you mean employing people that don’t >mind “playing” a computer game for eight to 10 >hours a day at a wage that would starve a UK >resident but it is a decent salary for an >employed university graduate in their >country . . . .” ”
    >Actually, I was rather joking when I made that >statement.
    No doubt.
    >I don’t know where you work, but it seems to me >that 8-10hrs of work in a day is fairly standard >for a hard worker. Or even just a regular worker.
    If you don’t have at least a good idea of where I live, you’re not reading my posts very well.
    We’re not talking about your worker’s hours.
    >And the point is that I’m employing people that >make a decent living on what I pay them. Might >not seem like much to you, but it’s very nice >for them. We’re not talking slave wages so they >can eat and not die. We’re talking money for >rent, food, clothes, not just for themselves but >for a family, and some extra left for entertainment.
    Again, that’s not the issue.
    You employ these people at a rate that can very well be a decent wage in their country. You have them do the same work that, say, an equally-experienced American could do. But, because of the exchange rate between where you get your money to run the company and the home country of the workers, you can save big-time, pocketing the difference for the company (and, incidentally, yourself). That’s why this sort of thing happens.
    Very win-win, no?
    >Could I pay them less? Sure. Oddly, I did the >opposite just recently. The $ dropped a lot over >the past few months, so I raised their pay >(which is in $) by 25%. They weren’t complaining, >but >were working well and deserved it. They >also get bonuses when we get enough orders and >can afford it.
    Well, that’s very nice of you!
    Why don’t you raise their pay until it’s comparable to, say, a Briton’s for doing the same work?
    >The point isn’t to “employ” as many people as >possible, but rather to provide a decent living >to as many as possible.
    All the time while trying to make as much money for the company and shareholders as possible.
    Don’t patronize me, asshole: a company isn’t a charity, and you know it. If you haven’t realized this, you’re going to get one hell of a shock sometime . . . .
    >Paying them less wouldn’t do that.
    Really? Gosh. That never occurred to me.
    >Todd: “You also forget to mention that such >wages are done for one reason only: so the >company ie the owners can get wealthier through >their exploiting.”
    > I try not to assign motives to people I >don’t know without evidence.
    I’m no more “assigning you a motive” than I would “assign a motive” to a chemical reaction.
    >Might be hard to believe, but I’m not doing it >for the money. Money’s a means, not an end. The >end -is- to provide decent living conditions to >as many people as I can.
    Then why aren’t you paying them the equivalent amount for a Canadian?
    And you’re right: money is a means. It’s a means to make more money, so your business won’t go under, and you can have your exploited wealth.
    >Patrick
    >PS: I was actually surprised one of my employee found this site, and I find it interesting that >they consider I took -their- side in the discussion =b
    Don’t be. There are Wal-Mart employees who will defend their employer too.

  20. Patrick Says:

    Todd: “Why don’t you raise their pay until it’s comparable to, say, a Briton’s for doing the same work?”
    Because then I’d have to fire everyone after a week because the company is closed.
    Could I pay them more than now? I could try. I am trying. Have to balance what I pay vs the orders that come in and plan on how sustainable it is etc. Also have to invest and expand or the company will close as well.
    Todd: “a company isn’t a charity, and you know it”
    Says who? 95% of the company is mine at the moment. If charity is giving jobs to people that wouldn’t have one otherwise but are hard working and can pull their weight and that way give others the same opportunity, then count us in.
    First “company” I started nearly 10years ago was a nonprofit. Quickly realized the reality of things. As a small “nonprofit” you’re not taken seriously, have no cash and can do nothing. I was young and idealistic.
    I’m still idealistic but not as young 😉
    So I now have a profitable sustainable business so the jobs I can give have a better chance of not going away after a few months.
    And yeah yeah, honestly I understand that it might all sound like BS, or at least it would if there weren’t some facts that begin to back it up, but all I’m saying is that this one might just be an exception. I’ve always prided myself in being different and you might want to give us a chance to prove we mean it. Sorry if it’s bad for yer propaganda 😉
    I’d explain that I expect my rewards to come later since I’m Christian but that wouldn’t all be true. God’s already blessed me tremendously with a loving family, decent education, good friends, an awesomely fun job that’s rewarding and fullfilling and enough to live decently.
    And it probably would just make me worse in your eyes anyway I’m guessing 😀
    Patrick.

  21. Todd Says:

    >Todd: “Why don’t you raise their pay until it’s >comparable to, say, a Briton’s for doing the >same work?”
    >Because then I’d have to fire everyone after a >week because the company is closed.
    You know, a little while after I asked that question, I got to thinking of a better one: why don’t you turn the company into a co-op where everyone benefits and suffers equally?
    But, this is fundamentally about something I forgot about in the heat of the argument: unionizing, period. As opposed to just getting more money. Let’s see what happens when things start heating up in the economy, and your workers start wanting higher wages.
    >Could I pay them more than now? I could try. I >am trying. Have to balance what I pay vs the >orders that come in and plan on how sustainable >it is etc. Also have to invest and expand or the >company will close as well.
    And this is all part of the structure of capitalism I was talking about.
    >Todd: “a company isn’t a charity, and you know it”
    >Says who? 95% of the company is mine at the >moment. If charity is giving jobs to people that >wouldn’t have one otherwise but are hard working >and can pull their weight and that way >give >others the same opportunity, then count us in.
    char

  22. gideon meir Says:

    jesus guys u are way to into this. Calm down and go do sports or something. You take things way to seriously. And besides their only chinese, they reproduce like crazy it wont matter if a few make low wages and die. So just get off the comp and go do something