Game designer Soren Johnson has written an opinion piece titled "Game Economics", essentially his analysis of the sticky problem of creating a balanced game economy, which is of course integral to massively multiplayer online games. Johnson has worked as a designer and programmer on titles like Civilization 3, Civilization 4, and Spore, and his "Game Economics" originally appeared in Game Developer Magazine.
Johnson writes, "Game design and economics have a spotty history. Designing a fun and functional economy is no easy task as many design assumptions tend to backfire when they come into contact with the player." He discusses a few MMO economies in light of this issue. He mentions the early game economy issues with Ultima Online, and how things have since progressed to the auction houses of World of Warcraft, and even how CCP Games hired an economist to analyze the economy of EVE Online.