By Fareed Zakaria
“The rush to hyperbolic commentary about the dire effects of a crashing ruble is just that. It is Ukraine that is in danger of defaulting on its debts, not Russia,” writes Zachary Karabell for Politico. “Venezuela is truly a society on the verge of societal breakdown (if not de facto there already). Russia seems very far from a danger zone, let alone a political and social upheaval brought on by low oil prices. In fact, you could name a dozen other countries in greater peril from this shifting landscape, ranging from Iran to Iraq to Saudi Arabia to Nigeria.”
“Russia is an economy tethered to oil and commodity exports, yes, but it is a society that has withstood much worse in the past century plus. Unlike the United States, it is also a society that on the whole has lower expectations for material affluence, and in times such as these, that constitutes a strength.”
“Over the last decade (during which visa policies have been relatively constant), the number of tourists visiting India has grown at a steady clip, adding 200,000 to 500,000 visitors each year, leaving out the post-recession years of 2008 and 2009. That’s an average annual growth rate of about 5 percent, on par with the world average,” writes Chandrahas Choudhury for Bloomberg View.
“But shouldn’t a vast country with such a grand past and such a remarkable diversity of landscapes, religions and cultures be seeking to make more of its unique appeal? Could these figures have been much higher if it was easier to get a tourist visa to India? And could the new policy be a catalyst for a higher growth rate?”
“The numbers don’t lie. Japan’s economy, by many measures, has been in historic decline, causing distress for a growing underclass of workers who lack permanent full-time jobs and for regions far from Tokyo where the population is shrinking,” writes Jacob M. Schlesinger in the Wall Street Journal. “But the country has, by and large, managed a relatively comfortable, peaceful decline. That helps explain why it took so long for an aggressive response, in the form of Abenomics – and why the public has so quickly developed second thoughts.”
“Having covered Japan’s topsy-turvy politics and economics for The Wall Street Journal over the past five years, this is what I see as the defining tension in the country: deflationism vs. reflationism, two starkly different visions of Japan’s future.”