It is no secret that our econometric systems only capture “value” whenever there is a transaction. More accurately, they only measure price. So for instance, if I break a window, I create so-called economic value as a new window has to be produced and installed even though the world is poorer for the broken window and the effort required to get back to the pre-broken stage. Similarly, the Exxon-Valdez oil spill significantly boosted the Alaskan economy while causing massive damage at the same time.
I remember some time ago, when some group took the functions of a housewife and folded them with the going salary of the various functions, like a CEO, an accountant, a cook, a psychologist, etc. They arrived at low six figure value, like $100,000 / year.
Now, I just realized that as a blogger, I could do something similar. I use the blog metrics of this post and see that currently, I have an average of 3045 visitors per day who spend an average of 3:35 minutes on my site. That translates into 181.9 hours a day, 365 days a year, say.
Now, presumably, and this is a stretch, rather than reading my silly rants, whoever is reading this could be out earning money (I know it doesn’t work that way if you’re salaried). A good number for the average hourly wage is $17. Of course I don’t know if people who read ERE comprises a good cross section of the population. Actually, I suspect they don’t(*), but bear with me:
To get my annual salary in terms of services I provide as a blogger, I compute $17/hour x 365 days/year x 181.9 hours / day = $1,128,689.5/year.
Like the housewife, I don’t see any of that money, but that does not mean that the value is not there. Of course one could also argue that this is the amount of money I’m causing people to waste.
(*) Bonus question: Do you think the average reader of ERE earns more or less than $17/hr?
It has been argued that ERE should be considered more as a form of entertainment. It may then make sense to compare it to a movie ticket which tend to go for $5/hour.