Whuffie

whuffie

karmagame

Whuffie is the ephemeral, reputation-based currency of Cory Doctorow’s science fiction novel, ‘Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom.’ This book describes a post-scarcity economy: All the necessities (and most of the luxuries) of life are free for the taking. A person’s current Whuffie is instantly viewable to anyone, as everybody has a brain-implant giving them an interface with the Net. The term has since seen some adoption as a synonym for social capital.

In the novel usual economic incentives have disappeared: Whuffie has replaced money, providing a motivation for people to do useful and creative things. A person’s Whuffie is a general measurement of his or her overall reputation and is gained (or lost) according to a person’s favorable (or unfavorable) actions. Public opinion determines which actions are favorable or unfavorable. Rudely pushing past someone on the sidewalk will cause a loss of points from the person pushed (and possibly from bystanders who witness the incident), while composing a much-loved symphony will earn the composer Whuffie from everyone who enjoyed it.

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