America’s economy will suddenly grow by $400 billion — roughly three percent –on July 31, when the Bureau of Economic Analysis begins to include in its GDP calculations the value of investments in such intellectual property products as songs, books and movies. The new numbers will reveal that Stephen Sondheim, Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and Ray “Even Stevens” Stevens have been far more important to the nation’s financial well-being than government stats have previously indicated.
This news feels as uplifting as a double dose of premium-grade placebo. But there’s more than feel-good bookkeeping at stake here. Plays, stories, films and music generate wealth – wealth government stats are supposed to measure.
The nation has always struggled with who owns that wealth. In the Wild West frontier of the internet, music, films and news were easily pirated. Now, there’s a newer, quite possibly wilder West,