News.com had an article yesterday entitled IRS taxation of online game virtual assets inevitable.
From the article :
Most governments are only beginning to become aware of the substantial economic activity in online games, but the games' rapid growth and the substantial value of the many virtual assets changing hands in them is almost certain to bring them into the popular consciousness.
"Given growth rates of 10 to 15 percent a month, the question is when, not if, Congress and IRS start paying attention to these issues," said Dan Miller, a senior economist with the Congress' Joint Economic Committee, who is also a fan of virtual worlds. "So it is incumbent on us to set the terms and the debate so we have a shaped tax policy toward virtual worlds and virtual economies in a favorable way."
For those of you who may not have read the marvelous A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, and there might be quite a few, I strongly encourage to do so. This anonymously published novel, which has the elaboration of a free, virtual market as its central plot might be the single work of fiction that best represents the ideals of free-market anarchism.
Put in perspective with the virtual economies newspiece, it seems clear that the tax authorities are growing desperate to crack down on alternative, voluntary economies. The best thing we can do for liberty is to increase our levels of productivity and wealth. We should actively welcome virtual economies as they do just that, by providing voluntary alternatives to coercion-based, corporatist economies.