I've been involved in Second Life for more then 6 years now. The so called "run on the bank" wasn't actually that, instead it was, as Mike points out, downright fraud. It had absolutely NOTHING to do with the economic crisis felt by the Real World.
On the other hand, having run a Texture Store in Second Life for about 4 years, I can say that we started to see less and less transactions as the economic crisis worsened in Real Life. I wouldn't say that the Second Life economy, or any other virtual economy, was a predictor of the Real World crisis, but instead, I would say that these Virtual Economies saw the same issues as the Real World economy.
One interesting side note though. The CEO of Linden Lab, M Linden as he's known in Second Life, when asked if he thought the Second Life economy would suffer during the Real World crisis said he believed that the Real World crisis would actually HELP the Second Life economy as more people would spend their Real World dollars in Second Life then for other entertainment mediums since they would, in his opinion, get more "value". At the time I figured he was just blowing sunshine up someone's butt, but, I must admit that in the past couple of months, the Second Life economy has started to show life again, and we are seeing more transactions in stores like mine.
Does this mean M Linden was right? Does this mean that the Real World crisis will soon be over because the Second Life economy is on the rebound? To the first question, the answer is partially. M Linden was right in that more Second Life residents would find more value in spending their real world currence in Second Life, but, that doesn't mean that more people signed up to join the Second Life world because they saw more intrinsic value in their dollar in the Second Life economy. To the second question, please, you should know this answer without me saying it. Absolutely, without a doubt, there is NO CORRELATION between the Second Life economy and the Real World Economy. Those who say there is, are either lackays of Linden Lab and just spreading their brand of happiness or are disillusioned fools that believe everything they read in the Paper.
It's different because people COULDN'T make a run on the Bank, at least in Second Life, because the person took ALL the money, cashed it in, and left the world. Leaving everyone who was, IMHO, foolish enough to place their "money" there, without any recourse.
Perhaps what the Regulators were telling Dell is that this type of "mistake" has happened all too frequently and they are no longer going to decide of this was a mistake or not.
A company the size of Dell should have many layers of checks when a website is changed to reflect a new price for an item. I find it a bit too convenient that Dell claims "it was a mistake" when this "mistake" seems to occur more then once a year.
Dell needs to buck up and take it on the chin with this one, and review their procedures for Website changes. Why the consumer is always asked to "be the big boy" when this happens seems, to me at least, is wrong. I'm willing to forgive a company's mistake once, but if that company continues to claim "mistake", then it should be the responsibility of that company to insure it doesn't make mistakes; one way to help assure that Dell and other company's stop making mistakes is to hold them responsible for such mistakes.
As for the consumer wouldn't have purchased this except for the price, while that may be true, just why is it the consumer who gets penalized for the company's "mistake"? We are always saying people need to take personal responsibility for their mistakes, shouldn't we also expect the same from the Company's we do business with?
Actually this would be collusion. In order for it to be Monopoly, then ONE single entity or individual would have to own the majority and have a Market Share large enough to be considered a Monopoly; although I believe there might be some other Monopoly type law that prevents "Monopolistic Practices" without being a Monopoly.
IF you are one of these people many are claiming to be, that you have to let the Meter Reader in, or say your Apartment needed the Carpets cleaned and you gave Management the OK to let those people in, you are sorely mistaken to think that if these people were to snoop and find something incriminating against you, that it wouldn't be allowed into a criminal trial.
The ONLY way this would happen, is if the Offending Party were acting in accordance with the Authorities, or were the Authorities themselves pretending to be someone else.
Snooping around your private property isn't against the law, it is probably grounds for a Civil Action, but certainly not Criminal.
The Courts have ruled time and again, that if you freely allow someone into your Home, then you give up your "Right to Privacy" if you aren't there to make sure they don't ggo "snooping around".
Of course, while you might be found guilty of whatever crime they found evidence concerning, you could still SUE their employer because their Employee acted outside of the "normal" scope of their job and duties. Yet again, this is a CIVIL matter and not a CRIMINAL matter; unless of course, these people were to have damaged any of your property to get to the evidence.
The Supreme Court denied to hear this case because there is nothing here Constitutionally that needs to be decided.
If you give your Computer to a third-party freely, no matter for what, you have just removed any "privacy" issues you thought you had. This would be different if an Authorized Authority of the State came in and snooped around on the Computer and found this, simply because they would still need a Warrant to make this search; even if the third-party gave their permission to search the Computer, the Court would still require the Authorities to get a Warrant.
While I agree that the Copyright/Intellectual Property Rights are a mess in Second Life, there is a larger problem; Linden Lab itself.
While I agree that having the "Real World" laws govern the Virtual World of Second Life, especially in Copyright/IP, is a bit convoluted, it could have been made easier if a REAL EFFORT was made by Linden Lab to enforce Copyright/IP issues.
As it stands now though, Linden Lab has FIRST HAND knowledge of multiple Copyright/IP Infringements and have done NOTHING to fix them.
Linden Lab is unique, in so much that they seem to have "interesting" ideas, but do NOTHING to bring those ideas into effect.
I would like to see the Management Team at Linden Lab be removed and a whole new Team brought in that would give their full attention to implementing these "unique ideas". Perhaps then a way to make all this work might be found out; at least they would've tried.