Google and Facebook contribute zero economic value. That’s a big problem for trade.

Posted in: Miscellaneous at 24/10/2016 23:19

How much value do free online services contribute to the U.S. economy? Ask any user of Google, Facebook, YouTube or Twitter, and the answer would most likely be, "A lot." But according to every statistic created by the U.S. government, the answer is actually zero.

That's because key benchmarks including gross domestic product (GDP) historically ignore everything without a price. Because consumers do not pay for many information services, these "building blocks of the digital economy," as Harvard Business School economist Shane Greenstein wrote in a 2013 paper, simply aren't measured by standard economic tools. Greenstein refers to the vast difference between actual and measured value as our "digital dark matter."

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