For many players, the mysteries of a virtual economy are best left as that -- a mystery. The numbers, the abundance of terminology, it all conspires to create an environment where players generally don't want to know why the economy works, they just know that they'd rather it did than it didn't. Is that really too much to ask?
Steve Williams of Living Worlds proposes some potential solutions for curbing mudflation -- that seemingly unstoppable inflation that occurs at the endgame when players accrue large amounts of currency and the once high price of rare goods comes tumbling down. He proposes that it's actually possible to limit the amount of currency available in the economy by allowing players to use alternative currencies like vendor trash to barter for basic services like armor repairs. It makes sense, since repairs and vendor trash generally exist in limitless supply and don't actually need to be a part of the economy proper. This is only Part One of Williams' proposed system, so we'll have to check back again soon for his full set of ideas.