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Network Effects Are Overrated: “Sometimes also referred to as the “flywheel effect,” network effects occur when every new user increases the value of the network to existing users. In a digital environment, it is argued, not only do new users attract still more new users ad infinitum, but the continuous improvements facilitated by A.I. make the prospect of successful competitive attack ever more remote, leading inexorably to a world dominated by impregnable winner-take-all markets. The problem with this narrative is that it ignores the numerous ways in which the new digital platforms actually make businesses more vulnerable to competitive attack compared with the analog models that they have disrupted. The ease with which customers can switch undermines captivity and the asset-light nature of these businesses both lowers entry barriers and the level of activity required to break even.”

The Economist: “If classical liberalism is so much better than the alternatives, why is it struggling around the world? One reason is that populists and progressives feed off each other pathologically. The hatred each camp feels for the other inflames its own supporters—to the benefit of both. Criticising your own tribe’s excesses seems like treachery. Under these conditions, liberal debate is starved of oxygen…Aspects of liberalism go against the grain of human nature. It requires you to defend your opponents’ right to speak, even when you know they are wrong. You must be willing to question your deepest beliefs. Businesses must not be sheltered from the gales of creative destruction. Your loved ones must advance on merit alone, even if all your instincts are to bend the rules for them. You must accept the victory of your enemies at the ballot box, even if you think they will bring the country to ruin. In short, it is hard work to be a genuine liberal… Classical liberals must rediscover their fighting spirit. They should take on the bullies and cancellers. Liberalism is still the best engine for equitable progress. Liberals must have the courage to say so.”

Shankkar Aiyar: “Demography is not destiny. India’s politicians are right to fear the looming spectre of rising working-age population and unemployment but both the cause and consequence are of their making. India needs structural reforms to propel growth. Effectively the demographic dream rests on the hope that India’s rulers would tune policy to empower the willing millions. Without growth, politicians will only be left with poverty and promises to redistribute.”

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.