Virtual Consumption: A Second Life for Earth?
University of California, Davis - School of Law
Brigham Young University Law Review, Forthcoming
UC Davis Legal Studies Research Paper No. 118
Consumption is at the root of many of the world's greatest environmental challenges, yet laws or policies that directly address consumption are rare. Virtual worlds such as Second Life offer the intriguing prospect of displacing a substantial amount of real-world consumption without running afoul of the political and economic obstacles that proposals to reduce consumption often face. In the interactive online reality of virtual worlds, players adopt an "avatar" and participate in an electronic world that mirrors the real world in striking ways. As this Article explains, virtual worlds offer opportunities, experiences, and pleasures that satisfy many of the basic motivations that drive modern consumption. Yet while "virtual consumption" may be a promising substitute for real consumption, virtual worlds also present dangers that require careful reflection before we wholeheartedly embrace them as a tool for protecting the environment.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 75
Keywords: environment, consumption, natural resource, virtual reality, virtual world, Second Life
JEL Classification: K32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 31, 2007
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