The New York Times ran a rather interesting article on monday.
Their reporter, Julian Dibbell checked out what an ordinary day looks like for a Chinese WoW gold farmer in Nanjing.
Twelve hour shifts in lousy conditions for 30 cents an hour, doesn't sound good, no matter how much you love the game.
"At the end of each shift, Li reports the night’s haul to his supervisor, and at the end of the week, he, like his nine co-workers, will be paid in full. For every 100 gold coins he gathers, Li makes 10 yuan, or about $1.25, earning an effective wage of 30 cents an hour, more or less. The boss, in turn, receives $3 or more when he sells those same coins to an online retailer, who will sell them to the final customer (an American or European player) for as much as $20." Says Dibbell.
It's a really good in depth piece, and do check it out here.