An economic value is the worth of a good or service as determined by the market.
You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
If people pay you $1, then the economic value of your good or service has been determined by the market to be $1.
"Creating value" is thus a euphemism for "getting people to pay you money" – which has nothing to do with the usual meaning of "value".
Why is "value" an irksome euphemism? Because heroin dealers "create value", as determined by the market.
In the context of my own profession, all of the following are examples of value creation:
- An office suite using undocumented and constantly changing formats. Value to users having no other way to access their own and others' documents: $100-$500, depending.
- A distribution channel allowing developers to deploy software on popular devices, for which no legal alternative exists. Value to developers: 30% of revenue.
- A social network with a billion private and corporate users who signed up for free, with a new charge to reach a given share of one's audience. Value created: $200 per post.
The more money I've extracted from you, the more value I've created, haven't I?
I'm not picking on Microsoft, Apple or Facebook. I can imagine working for any of them. My conscience is as flexible as the next guy's.
(A particularly inflexible conscience is a horrible condition. Feet to which no mass-produced shoes fit are merely inconvenient. A conscience incompatible with mass-produced social arrangements is a huge burden – not just on its owner, but on his friends and family.)
All I'm saying is that goods and services are distinct from bads and disservices, though both "create value".
Moreover, some sort of disservice tends to be essential to "value creation", a.k.a the extraction of money. People are attached to their money, and will only part with it when given little choice. Microsoft, Apple and Facebook constantly hone their methods of limiting users' choice. Who doesn't?
Business is what it is. It's not that consumers (us) are any better than producers (us). Nor is it impossible for something "free" – as in speech, beer, rider, whatever – to be a disservice to its users.
I just don't think "value" is the right word.