A few days back, I said that Second Life's virtual economy...the tradeable, exchangeable Linden Dollar...was Linden Lab's second most brilliant idea, after SL itself. After a shopping expedition in OSGrid, I am even more convinced of this.
In SL, almost every region you visit has at least one store, or a club, or a Zyngo palace. Something that offers goods or services in exchange for $L. Enter "shopping" or "shoes" or "hair" or anything of the sort in OSGrid's Search, and you get maybe six to ten hits, if you are lucky. Remember, this is on a grid that has almost 10,000 regions, a third the size of SL!
If I want to landscape a parcel in Second Life, there are a plethora of nurseries selling trees and plants. In OSgrid, I found...one "tree branches" texture pack. One. If I want landscaping, I have to fire up Photoshop and get busy making some tree and bush textures. Sigh...the one time I tried this, I was a miserable failure at it and wound up buying some of Lilith Heart's beautiful creations instead.
You see this at every turn. Want to hug a friend? SL has maybe twenty or thirty different hugger gadgets. OSGrid has...none that I saw for sale, although I was given one by another resident. Sexy shoes? I found ONE style of sculpty pumps, in three colors, and ONE set of ankle boots. For anything you want to do or have, you are faced with the Time Traveler's Problem: you have to make the tools to make the tools to make the thing. The infrastructure just is not there.
The residents of OSGrid look on this as an advantage -- many of them are ex-Second Lifers who left because of the all-pervasive commercialism of SL. I can understand that, but the lack of a monetary system is also strangling the potential growth of the place.
This phenomenon happened in Real Life too. Read Neal Stephenson's massive tour de force, The System of the World for a description of how the concept of "banking" revolutionized commerce and industry and allowed the pace of progress to take off.