What causes poverty? Why are some countries so much richer than others? Much ink has been spilled trying to answer these questions. Despite this, a consensus answer is yet to be reached. Many believe geographic shortcomings are the culprit. Countries with poor geographic endowments, poor soil, etc., are destined to be poor. Others point to the lack of good governance. The list goes on, and often causes are suggested to be interrelated, meaning it might be an interaction of many factors.
Sorting this out is not easy, but I will suggest a starting point. An illuminating fact related to the question is that geographic location is highly correlated with poverty. Whatever explanation of poverty is correct, it must address this fact. Looking at the world, we see poor people tend to cluster together, with national borders often acting as significant points of concentration. Let’s ask a fascinating question, can the metaverse disperse these huddled masses more evenly? Can the metaverse offer a new, more egalitarian geography?
I will give a direct answer, YES! The basis for my answer comes from a relatively simple observation. The metaverse offers bridges between geographic regions. It allows people all over the world to connect. So, whatever the mysterious causes of why wealth and geography bind together, how could the metaverse not help with unbinding? The geography of the metaverse is much flatter, with fewer borders.
The internet has already done a lot to eliminate certain geographic divides. Think of this as related to art. You no longer need to go to the physical space the art occupies to view great art. The internet is an art gallery, even if the experience isn’t the same. Seeing great art with a few keystrokes is a type of enrichment we take for granted, and NFTs are yet another leap forward. It certainly isn’t the end of poverty by any means, but we shouldn’t take for granted that geographic fences are knocked down every day, and we are all getting more prosperous as a result.
The metaverse is a step forward, as it allows people worldwide to work, create, and collaborate more and more without regard to their physical location. If the world’s geography is highly unfair for mysterious reasons, it is hard to imagine the geography of the metaverse won’t be less so. While the causes of poverty are certainly not simple, the ability to escape your geography if you so choose seems like the geography of a better world.