Jobs are critically important, but looking at economic change through the impact on jobs has always been a difficult way to think about economic progress. Let’s take a historical example. Once upon a time, 100% of the United States effectively was in agriculture, right? Now it’s down to 3%. Productivity in agriculture has exploded. Output has never been higher…
…The challenge I think is that in newspapers, magazines, and television, in particular, and books to a certain extent, you had businesses that looked like they were content businesses but were actually distribution businesses. They had controlled distribution rights on the newsstand, on your front porch, on the cable or broadcast dial.
The problem is, you remove the distribution constraint, all of a sudden you get a massive oversupply of content in each of those categories, and then of course prices come crashing down….
…Take teenagers 20 years ago and ask them would they rather have a car or a computer? And the answer would have been 100% of the time they’d rather have a car, because a car represents freedom, right?
Today, ask kids if they’d rather have a smartphone or a car if they had to pick and 100% would say smartphones. Because smartphones represent freedom."