The Impact of the Internet on Global Economic Growth
I was talking with +Brad Burnham the other day about the issues that the tech industry needs to get on the radar of Congress as we move forward into the inevitable next step in the SOPA/PIPA drama. One concern I have about the current framing is that it appears to accept the copyright industry's assertion that piracy causes multi-billion dollar economic losses and kills jobs, and opposes it with non-economic issues like the risks to freedom around the world.
I've argued elsewhere based on my experience as a publisher that there are economic gains from the free flow of information on the internet, and that those gains far outweigh any losses to piracy, but I haven't seen that argument made as widely as I think it should be. So I was very interested to learn, via +Hari Ravichandran
, of a McKinsey Report from last year entitled Internet Matters: The net's sweeping impact on growth, jobs, and prosperity
. From the executive summary:
"New McKinsey research into the Internet economies of the G-8 nations as well as Brazil, China, India, South Korea, and Sweden finds that the web accounts for a significant and growing portion of global GDP. Indeed, if measured as a sector, Internet-related consumption and expenditure is now bigger than agriculture or energy. On average, the Internet contributes 3.4 percent to GDP in the 13 countries covered by the research—an amount the size of Spain or Canada in terms of GDP, and growing at a faster rate than that of Brazil."
While the issues of freedom versus censorship are important, let's not leave the economic arguments to the pro-SOPA forces. We know that Congress and the White House are rightly concerned about the economy, so let's make sure that the positive economic impact of the free flow of information via the Internet is also a key part of the discussion.
You can download the full report at the link below.