I imagine that in the not-too-distant future, games such as The Sims will evolve to the extent that it will be possible for ultra-dedicated players to make a real world living as virtual characters working virtual jobs in a virtual world. For example, let’s say that one of these games gives players the opportunity to exchange every five-hundred fantasy dollars they earn for one U.S. dollar (I think that’s a reasonable expectation). This will give average gamers who assume average societal roles (virtual kindergarten teachers, postmen, secretaries, etc.) an incentive to more fully develop their characters and, ultimately, stick with the game. But if you take a genuinely obsessed player who has an enormous amount of disposable time on his hands and therefore lets the game become more real to him than reality itself, he may eventually become a billionaire (virtual CEO) within his computerized world. Divide one billion by five-hundred and he still has a genuine $2,000,000 at his fingertips. Now, take a nation that grows lazier and more virtual-reality-obsessed with each passing day, couple it with the remarkably high unemployment rate, and then throw a game like this into the mix. What do you get? Thousands and thousands of billionaires worth several million dollars each, despite the fact that the majority of them either never leave their mothers’ basements or sit around collecting unemployment checks. Some people say the American empire is crumbling. I say things are just getting interesting.