That's an increment to net worth of about $10 trillion nationwide--roughly a fifth of the value of our physical capital stock from the ideas involved in making personal computers.
Mark Whitehouse reports:
Number of the Week: $1,700: The annual benefit the average American derives from personal computers.... Karen Kopecky and Jeremy Greenwood... calculate how much value, or “utility”, American consumers derive from a given amount of computing power. They then looked at how much we actually paid for that computing power, in the form of desktop PCs, laptops, notebooks , software and so on. The difference, known as the “welfare gain”, is the benefit we get from personal computers above and beyond what we pay for them. Back in the days of magnetic-tape memory, the annual benefit was pretty small — somewhere between zero and about $6 for the average American, adjusted for inflation, depending on the method of calculation. But by 2009, the price of computing power had fallen more than 99.8% and personal computers had become a lot better and more widely used. As a result, the welfare gain rose to somewhere between $1,300 and $2,100 per person, the economists’ estimates suggest. Ballpark average: $1,700.