Saturday, March 29, 2014

The progressive narrative, part 34,813...

The progressive narrative, part 34,813...  Do you know about Oculus being acquired by Facebook?  Click on that link for a detailed story.  Here are the basics:

Oculus was a startup company whose goal was to develop a new and better virtual reality (VR) headset, named Rift.  VR headsets present a 3D image to your eyes, tricking your brain into believing that you are in a different world – one that is completely generated in the computer, and can be anything at all.  The main use today for VR headsets is with 3D games, but there are all sorts of other possible uses as well.

Oculus chose to fund its startup through a Kickstarter campaign.  They were massively over-funded, meaning that they succeeded in raising far more money than they were asking for.  People contributing small amounts of money got nothing but a sincere “thank you” for their money.  If you contributed more, you might get a T-shirt, an early version of the Rift, or (for lots of money contributed) various other perks.  What you didn't get was any stock in the company – so you weren't investing in the usual sense.  The only rewards you got were the pleasure of funding something successful, and possibly (depending on how much you contributed) a copy of the product – if the development was successful.

As it happened, the Rift development every was successful – very much so.  Facebook, last week, acquired Oculus in a $2B deal, making the founders fabulously wealthy.  The people who funded Oculus – those Kickstarter contributors – make nothing at all on the deal.

The progressives were quick to respond to this.  This article, on Bloomberg View, is entirely typical.  It takes the view that those Kickstarter contributors are blooming idiots, and they were screwed by Obama's unwise decision to deregulate crowdsourcing – thus allowing the “sheep” (stupid Kickstarter contributors) to be “shorn” (cheated of the investment returns they should have received).  The culprit is that perpetual Progressive punching bag: deregulation.

But, as usual, the Progressives have got it all wrong – exactly backwards, actually.  This wasn't deregulation at all.  Kickstarter (and the similar crowdfunding sites) would like nothing better than to sell stock shares to funding contributors – but existing investment regulations forbid it.  Those regulations are the direct result of Progressives meddling with capitalism.  The “screwing” that the Progressives are screaming about happened not because of deregulation, but because there wasn't any deregulation.  The Progressive regulations that prohibit ordinary Americans (those with a net worth less than a million dollars) from making speculative investments is what “screwed” the Kickstarter funders.

Progressives: destroying freedom and opportunity everywhere they go...

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