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September 29, 2008


Jerry Heyman

A reasonable perspective, but I don't believe that the parallels are quite so clean cut.

The dot-com fallout was built on a house of cards; get venture funding, create buzz, get first release of product out the door, get bought by someone with real resources.

The financial is also currently built on a house of cards; making loans, packaging the loans (both good and bad), sell the package. Unfortunately, the bad loans were in part mandated by US Gov't legislation...

Chris Ward

So what would have happened if the 'bail-out' had passed ? My understanding is that the US Government would have bought $700B-worth of something-or-other; about $3000 per head of the population.

That would surely have meant a big shift in emphasis from "Private Sector" ... the IBMs and Microsofts of the world ... to "Public Sector". New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, and so on.

(Not that either IBM or MS is likely to be taken over by any government any time soon. But other businesses would be.)

What's the Department of Motor Vehicles' take on "Growth of Internet", or "Financial Services" ? Are they strictly a "Walk in, wait in line, pay cash" organisation ? But you will be able to do it, pay cash to a real flesh-and-blood person, every year from now until the oil runs out. Stability.

IBM Lotus SmartSuite is coming to the end of its natural life, as a viable business. I don't think any retailers stock it, and even IBM itself suggests that you download IBM Lotus Symphony at no charge while you wait for your SmartSuite media kit to arrive in the mail after you pony up your $297+tax on the corporate web site. Or instead; the market for SmartSuite is very small now, not enough to justify a salesman or a developer. Just a little shelf space.

Globalisation, specialisation, huge Research and Development investment in bringing products to market (and discarding those that are best not brought to market), leaving markets when they saturate and commoditise; those are "Private Sector" characteristics, and we live or die on our own wits.

The Government does invest, massively, sometimes, to achieve a target. Who put a man on the moon, and got him back alive ?

We got silicon chips from that; it launched an industry. But Apollo itself didn't actually pay a cash dividend; it wasn't designed to.

No bail-out, at the moment. Capitalism is alive and well. It's still the United States of America, and it has to find its own solution.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That's the American dream. Many of us can share that dream, worldwide.

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