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The coming Kickstarter boom and bust

A screenshot taken June 18, 2012 shows the Kickstarter home page.
A screenshot taken June 18, 2012 shows the Kickstarter home page.

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Whether they’re funding documentary films, art or apps, crowdfunding projects on sites like Kickstarter can quickly raise money for things that don’t exist yet. The major successes are few so far, but some, like musician Amanda Palmer’s campaign for her new album, have broken the million dollar mark. That’s great news for creative types everywhere. The choice between artistic license and money and fame isn’t so stark.

But the crowdfunding revolution could be terrible news for the economy, argues Slate columnist Matthew Yglesias. Play these successes out a decade or two, and all the aspiring writers who would have traded their dreams for law school and a paycheck are earning less, contributing less to government coffers and slowing GDP. That could lead policymakers to act rashly to try to get the economy back on track. Should we celebrate the Kickstarter revolution? Or fear the coming recession?


Matt Yglesias, business and economics correspondent for Slate