WSJ on the metaverse: “[We will soon have] a virtual world where our digital avatars and those of people in our communities and around the globe come together to work, shop, attend classes, pursue hobbies, enjoy social gatherings and more. Immersive videogames and virtual concerts have given us a taste of this world. But visionaries say the metaverse, as this world has been dubbed, will be far more engaging and robust, not only mirroring the real world in all its three-dimensional complexity but also extending it to allow us to be and do what previously could only be imagined. Walk on the moon in your pajamas? Watch a baseball game from the pitcher’s mound? Frolic in a field of unicorns—or be a unicorn yourself? In the metaverse, tech visionaries say, just about anything will be possible.”
Ninan: “The government’s programmes should be expected to generate some momentum, but the macro-economic numbers are not encouraging. Total investment in the economy in 2021 is estimated at 29.7 per cent, down from 39.6 per cent a decade back. The fiscal deficit for Union and state governments combined is 11.3 per cent, up from 8.3 per cent in 2011. The debt-GDP ratio is now 90.6 per cent, up from only 68.6 per cent. The much better indicators of a decade back did not last, and growth slowed. One must hope the opposite happens now, with today’s energy and optimism being sustained.” More from Rathin Roy: “Unlike China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, India’s savings rate is forecasted to decline reflecting the permanent scarring caused by the pandemic. The investment to GDP ratio is not forecasted to rise appreciably till 2024. India’s ability to walk its big talk as an investment destination, though always fragile, has therefore taken a further credibility hit after the pandemic. Finally, India had the worst fiscal deficits before the pandemic and despite an insipid fiscal response to the pandemic, will have higher levels of debt and fiscal deficits in 2024 than it did in 2019. The silent fiscal crisis prior to the pandemic is urgently driving a programme of asset sales, but these will only plug the fiscal hole; there will not be resources left to increase the investment to GDP ratio above the IMF forecast and bring India back to its pre-2019 growth potential if we continue with business as usual. This is a grim outlook.”
David Brooks: “A nation is a community of people that, at best, is held together by a common story. When I was a kid, I was told a certain triumphalist story about America, which was loaded with words like “superpower” and “greatest.” That triumphalist story sounds tinny in 2021, and it seems to have been rejected by many in the younger generations. As that story has faded, our country has fractured, without a cohering national narrative.” What is India’s story?