The value to users in a free software economy is that they are not forced into the role of consumers. If they're content with just passively consuming, that's one thing, but increasingly that's not the case - there's a sort of paradigm shift in the way we consume all media in general: user-created content, user participation, is an increasingly huge deal in many areas of business. That's exactly why social platforms like facebook have surged in popularity, why other sites are trying to parrot that model. Even Valve realizes this, if you listen to Gabe's speeches, he sees the culture of modding, hacking and all types of user participation, the blurring of the line between users and developers, as something crucial to PC gaming, and the main advantage of Linux.
Sure, you might assume that most people who have grew up in a windows environment don't want to participate in development, and you'd be correct. However in many cases this is simply because of the difference in the mindset of that platform, where the role of "user" is strictly defined and limited as a passive consumer. Some of these users might get more interested in participating in development after migrating to a more open platform. And not all ways of participation need to be about coding, there's other ways to participate besides contributing code.