RADLEY BALKO: Two Articles.
I have two articles up today. [Liberty & Power: Group Blog]
The first is a review of Eric M. Jackson's The Paypal Wars that appeared in last month's Reason. It's the sad tale of an idealistic, inspiring young company with a libertarian vision that was eventually worn down, water-down, and broken down by people who claim to represent consumers. Not surprisingly, Eliot Spitzer makes an appearance.
The other is my Fox column this week, which is a familiar bromide against the Republican Congress.
Also, I'll be on WABC in New York at 11:20 this morning to discuss the obesity "crisis," per this AP article.
PayPal's story is a sad but instructive lesson in how this country treats its entrepreneurs. PayPal is huge and growing. With eBay branding, it now boasts 73 million users, making it by far the largest online payment service. But it's nothing like what it was intended to be: a way for people to protect the money they earn from greedy governments and protect private purchases from the prying eyes of regulators. Greedy governments and prying regulators saw to that. The company sold out to eBay not because eBay beat it in the marketplace, not because eBay offered a better product, and not to reap a financial windfall for PayPal employees. PayPal sold out because, after the beating it took from those claiming to represent the interests of consumers, selling itself was the only way to keep the company alive. Exactly how consumers benefited from that isn't clear.