The NYT has an article today that claims 62 million people have signed up to play Farmville on Facebook.
I am not one of these 62 million, so you'll have to read the NYT article (or ask any random 5 people in the U.S., one of them is likely a Farmville player) how the game actually works. But I am fascinated by the economic effort expended on Farmville.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (see page 9) the total economic contribution from U.S. farming in 2007 was $137.3 billion. Dividing $137.3 by 62 million Farmville registrants equals $2,215 per user per year. Divide $2,215 by the current minimum wage ($7.25 per hour) and you get 305 hours. Divide 305 hours by 52 weeks and you get roughly six hours per week.
If Farmville players are spending six hours per week on this game, the opportunity cost of the Farmville economy may be larger than the actual U.S. agricultural sector.
And, no, I will not adopt your lost cow.