The economic impact of our digital footprint

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Recently on an interview the chairman of the FED Jerome Powell said that all “free” digital services were not being accounted on the country’s GDP and given this, one cannot visualize their great input to the economy; this is a reality and we may also add that most of these services are related to boosting productivity, which makes them even more important. Some questions pop-up right away: What is the value of our data in the market? What is the Non-Monetary Cost? Who is buying this data? What are they doing with this data that has apparent great value? And after that we may raise a concern about how to account for them on the GDP.

We users today find ourselves in a constant state of amazement watching everything that is being invented, we see that it is really useful in our day to day life, and on top of all everything is for “free”. And we continue to navigate, download, creating users and checking “User conditions agreement” boxes without knowing what is it that we are a accepting and what’s behind all that. The “Non-monetary Cost” would the tracking that is being done upon us and the future implications: mouse movements, smartwatch movements, clicks, “the erased”, displacements, likes, dislikes, needs, etc.; there are no secrets, no liberty and the most powerful Giant-Tech companies know all secrets from everyone including powerful public figures; nothing is hiding under the sun and this goes hand in hand with the government, authorities and specially control systems.

Powell suggest to account these services based on how much a person would pay to continue to use each of these services, however, this would compromise their calculation into the GDP given there is no transaction being accounted for. Even though monetization for accounting is not a priority, there could be a case made for creating a Data Trade where one can see everything, who is buying, who is selling, what is selling, who delivers more value, what data and profiles are paid better, and by creating a transactional analysis of this trade, plus the earnings generated by it we could calculate their input into the economy. And at the same time we can gain transparency and apprise what a given group of citizens give to their liberty and secrets. We should create awareness to gain transparency and act accordingly to petition for acts and laws that protect our liberty.

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