Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Investment law, Facebook, and Goldman Sachs

What would you think of a government that:
  1. Reserved certain investment opportunities for a select class of citizens, and
  2. Prohibited the investment banks involved in the deals from talking to newspapers about such deals?
Would it be any worse if these special investment opportunities were explicitly restricted to wealthy citizens? Would you wonder why the rich get richer while the middle class fades away? Is the restriction on talking to reporters a violation of press freedom, and is it meant to keep the general populace ignorant of these special privileges granted to an elite few?

Well, as everyone is finally learning, this is exactly the situation in the USA. The recent buzz about the Goldman-Sachs/Facebook deal, and its retraction, has put this law on the front page of newspapers across the countries. Of course, the oddity of this situation will be explained away with paternalistic comments about protecting "average investors" from risky investments. Who knows what's really going through the heads of the people who established and enforce this law... I don't have the time to figure it out. But it is odd.

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