Has anyone attempted to do a study to estimate how many players must be buying gold to keep these gold selling "farms" running?
I'm betting the outcome of such a study would be quite shocking.
After living in China for a bit (currently in America), I realize what a lot of Americans (and other nations) don't about the Chinese economy.
A player might spend 50 USD on gold.
50 USD is around 350-400 RMB. My apartment in China (average living conditions) cost 300 RMB for a month of rent. Fathom that, 50 USD for your rent a month. I probably spent around 20 RMB a day on food eating out, just as an American might spend 20 USD a day if he were to eat out a few meals.
This is the reason why Chinese gold farmers exist, while American gold farmers don't. It is _easy_ for them to stay in business with US players spending USD on virtual money. It might seem cheap for us, but for them its a lot of money, and easy cash. Especially with their gold farming sweatshops.
There really isn't any way to stop it unless the Chinese RMB catches up to the value of the USD. But as China thrives on exports to America, selling to American corporations for "cheap" while it actually ends up being a lot of money in China...then it probably wont happen.
I'm not anti-Chinese or anti-communist etc. I'm just saying they have a better grasp of their economy than we do. We are in debt, and spend, while they own countries' debt, and continue to sell.
P.S. People generally still live in much higher quality conditions in US than in China, though China is catching up in that as well.