Tuesday, July 16, 2019

What Matters More, Inputs or Outputs?

Productivity is one thing, internet access speed another. Knowledge creation is one thing, average speeds another. Though a few small countries rank higher, the most productive larger country is the United States. 

That rarely is discussed when observers complain about the speed, price or availability of internet access in the United States. The point is that what matters is the ability to wring economic and social value out of communications. Without context, it is difficult to evaluate the value of speeds, coverage or other measures of quality. 

Nor, it should be noted, are various speed estimates in agreement. Looking only at mobile network speeds, some point out that U.S. mobile speeds are well down the rankings. Other estimates suggest North American speeds (a proxy for U.S. speeds) are among the highest in the world. 

Put simply, all measures of internet speed are input measures. What matters are output measures. The value any nation can wring from internet access is what matters. 

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