Yesterday there was a very good written article about "The "New" New Economy in Second Life" in the German web magazine Telepolis written by Karin Wehn (English: Google).
It is a very good written article about the economy – or the lack of – in Second Life, what SL is, why Lindenlabs did not herald the 3rd million resident and so on, the stability of the grid, how some land barons got rich and so on and on. Also has some very interesting pointers to other sides or articles.
Well worth a read. Very important is perhaps this link to the official economic statistics from SL: http://secondlife.com/whatis/economy_stats.php. Just about 229 users had in December 2006 an in world income from 1000-2000 US-$, 140 from 2000-5000 US-$ and 90 greater than 5000 US-$.
You should always keep those statistics in mind when you think you can get there rich very fast and live off it. Mostly not happening for you, until you work really hard and are really good, so better scratch it.
The conclusion of the article is: the usage statistics should be read carefully. While Second Life is innovative, it is still unstable as a business platform and the downtimes can hinder the business for sure, so that it is no wonder that the declared priority from Lindenlabs is to stabilize the grid. Some are also in doubt if Secondlife is here to stay or not, because the prerequisites to connect to it are quite high and it should be more userfriendly in terms of usage.
I doubt it, of course, but we are going to see.