But in that future, is there going to be more value or less value? I would argue there's going to be more value because value would be whether people are able to get on time to the places that they need to go, if they're able to get there safely, and if they're able to get there comfortably. In a world in which you have a lot of self-driving cars there's going to be less traffic. It's going to be safer because probably the self-driving cars are going to be very bad at getting drunk and doing other things that would get them in trouble. They could be very comfortable, because since you need to build less of them, you can build very nice, robust, comfortable cars. But there's going to be maybe a smaller ability to appropriate the value of all of this mobility.
I see a big difference between the generation of value and the appropriation of value. What I see about the generation of value is that usually it's more about reducing the cost to a very small amount, to reducing the cost sometimes even to zero. When you reduce the cost to zero, and you make something accessible, you have generated a lot of value. But when you reduce the cost to zero and you make something universally available, you cannot appropriate any of it. There's a big contradiction between these two dimensions, and that's something that I've been thinking a lot about recently.
I see the difference between the industries that have been generating value now, and the ones that are appropriating value now, and the ones that are appropriating value tend to be more financial industries. Industries in the financial sector are in the appropriation value business. They're not in the generation value business. I would argue that in many countries, these have been actually very bad at even generating the little value that they are responsible to generate: the proper allocation of capital. In many cases, like recently in Spain, financial entities were not able to allocate capital properly and there have been important bailouts associated with these misallocations. These bailouts are much larger than the amounts that we would see on all of the other businesses that are generating new forms of value, like all of these online companies.
Check here this wonderful and timely piece of reflexion about the difference between Value & Money: ValueMoney