Rishab Ayer Ghosh – The Non-Monetary Economy of the Internet

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…Now we don’t have to get into arguments over whether spending time in a chat group on AOL is a productive activity, but it’s no more or less productive then watching a soap opera on TV, which is clearly part of the economy. But when you spend time in a chat room on AOL or when you answer questions on music in a newsgroup or mailing list or when you write Linux — that’s not being measured as part of the economy. And since a lot of people are doing that, and more and more people are spending more and more time online, they are disappearing off of the economic face of the world, as it were. So, nobody can see them, you don’t know where they are — they are becoming invisible. And that won’t actually lead to a drop in international GDP figures or anything, but clearly there is a lot of economic activity going on which is not measured. Now that’s the reason, essentially, why there is so much interest from so many different sides on the economics of what is free on the Internet. …


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