The New Economy

The internet has changed everything. It certainly has. I myself didn’t t know what HTML was three years ago, and now I get to sit here and make a living sharing stories like this online. This is great for me, and great for auto-restorers too, but as I listened to Jack, I realized how big a deal this is. The New Economy I have often wondered over the last few years how our economy could continue to do so well with more debt and more government spending than ever.

This has been a mystery to me. That day in the hot springs, though, I realized that this new economy based on instant information might just be one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. Consider those auto parts in Jack s garage, and the thousands of cars sitting behind barns and in fields around the country. This capital was locked up before, just barely accessible. Jack could have a door for a 1969 Ford Mustang, but the six people in the country that could use it might all live a thousand miles away. Advertising locally wouldn’t t get it sold, and advertising all over the country would cost too much, so the door was destined for the junkyard someday. But now Jack can advertise all over the world for free on Craigslist.com or any number of other classified advertising sites. Soon the door is once again useful instead of being garbage.

I was looking at a house with some investors, and they suggested that they would tear out the wood flooring in the bedroom. I mentioned that it might be expensive, and one of them said, Oh no. We ll just put it on Craigslist and someone who need the flooring will take it out for free. The wrought iron door they replaced was sold online as well. Previously, you couldn’t justify the effort to sell an unusual door t that might get $80. It was just too much time and trouble to find a buyer. Instead, you would pay money to bring it to the dump. Now you just sit at the computer for a few minutes and wait for the phone to ring in the next few days. Need to get rid of that old fireplace insert? Get online. I’ll bet if you go online right now, you can find someone selling used bricks. This is essentially turning garbage into wealth. Take a look at any of the major online auction or classified web sites, and notice the variety and volume of things being sold there every day. Much of what you’ll see there had no real value until the internet made it possible to sell it. Small examples? It may not seem such a big deal that a mechanic doubled his income and quit his job due to the internet, or that I tripled mine simply by providing information and stories online. But multiply that by the millions of people online. This is the new information-age economy.

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