The clothesline paradox tells a lot about the value flow. I believe the current way of measuring economic using GDP somewhat encourages the endless and blind churn to keep the growth. Not saying the growth is bad, it is not. But more along the line where we want to think carefully about whether we are really creating value or we are just keep running like a blinded mule.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a piece I read in Stuart Brand’s, CoEvolution Quarterly back in 1975. It’s called the “Clothesline Paradox.” The author, Steve Baer, was talking about alternative energy. The thesis is simple: You put your clothes in the dryer, and the energy you use gets measured and counted. You hang your clothes on the clothesline, and it “disappears” from the economy. It struck me that there are a lot of things that we’re dealing with on the Internet that are subject to the Clothesline Paradox. Value is created, but it’s not measured and counted. It’s captured somewhere else in the economy.