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Reason On How and Why 38 Studios Went Bust 227

Posted by timothy
from the other-people's-money dept.
cathyreisenwitz writes "The 2012 bankruptcy of Rhode Island-based video-game developer 38 Studios isn't just a sad tale of a start-up tech company falling victim to the vagaries of a rough economy. It is a completely predictable story of crony capitalism, featuring star-struck legislators and the hubris of a larger-than-life athlete completely unprepared to compete in business." Reason makes no bones about its view of this kind of public-private "partnership."
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Reason On How and Why 38 Studios Went Bust

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 03, 2013 @01:39PM (#42464889)

    Insofar as the governor making the call was a (R), and the ceo of the company involved was a notable (R) campaigner (and there was serious talk of him running as (R) for senate a few years back, for the seat Scott Brown won)... it did indeed smell of "politically motivated favor to a friend of the political party" at the time.

    At a minimum, Curt probably had a leg up over other CEOs in getting in to see the governor and talk about his great company, even if the decision itself wasn't biased -- even those who are trying hard not to bias decisions directly have a hard time not having a serious bias in that they talk to their political allies a lot more than their political foes.

    The article doesn't go very deep into that aspect of it though.

    (disclaimer: I worked at 38, and I disagree with some aspects of the article; in particular, it fails to mention that the new (D) governor of RI jerked the company around by cancelling payments to the company which _caused_ the sudden cash crunch that pushed it off the cliff, as revenge for the above... What the crony giveth, the anti-crony taketh away. But the original deal did smell funny, and management was surely also at fault for dancing so close to the edge of a financial cliff that one failed payment from the state could push them over, so the article isn't too far off the mark.)

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @01:46PM (#42464999) Journal
    Crony capitalism is different than capitalism. Crony capitalism means a company gets special favors from the government that give it an advantage over their competition. Crony capitalism is why, despite a 35% corporate tax rate, some corporations (like Whirlpool [google.com]) paid no or negative taxes last year. Arguably one of the best things Reagan did was to simplify the tax code to get rid of a lot of crony capitalism (to be fair the idea was being heavily promoted by a democrat before being picked up by Reagan).

    In general, crony capitalism==bad. Capitalism==good. This is something agreed on by both parties: both sides hate the crony capitalism of the other side, but tolerate it.
  • by afidel (530433) on Thursday January 03, 2013 @02:45PM (#42465711)

    Average Manhattan commercial realestate is $58/sq ft on an annual basis, round it up to $60 or $5/month. Average cubicle is 8x8, assume a really inefficient layout of half cube half shared space, you get 128sq ft per employee or $256k per month. The numbers aren't coming close unless someone on top is taking a hell of a lot out of the company or they're spending a good part of the loan on bribes.

"Pascal is Pascal is Pascal is dog meat." -- M. Devine and P. Larson, Computer Science 340

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