In honor of Milton Friedman Day, I toss an economic question: What in-game differences would there be between someone who sold gold for RL money and someone who gave gold away to people s/he had never met before? Follow-up: whatever effects you believe RMT has on your game, are you causing the same effects on a smaller scale when you give a friend ten gold to get started (or any other form of help/twinkery)?
I have seen people give away millions of influence in City of Heroes just because they could, although that has presumably gone down with prestige and the impending auction house as cash sinks. I would expect charitable goldfarmers to farm less gold, since they have less incentive, although they get whatever joy altruists get. Their effects are randomly distributed, rather than going to folks with more money than time.
Would there be different effects if Blizzard awarded 100 gold to a random character once per hour (besides people trying to stay logged on for free gold)?