Life on the internet evolves like most other things but November 18th, 2022, was different though. Marla Dukharan, a pioneer at heart and regional economist took us on a journey into Web3 of all places to present her thoughts on what to expect internationally and in the Caribbean in 2023. She did it in fine style too, and in all places, the METAVERSE.
There were many different perspectives too: someone once said, “There are decades when nothing happens and there are weeks when decades happen.” This was one of those weeks.
There were also thoughts expressed about Intellectual Property and how users can benefit. Shelly-Ann Mohammed, Head of ACCA in Latin America and the Caribbean reminded us that there are various forms of IP which exist in the Metaverse. For example, the logo, slogan, a melody of a song or even a trademark. Other examples may include graphic appearance, virtual goods that can be purchased, names of avatars and unique colours.
Kirk-Anthony Hamilton took the position that “the progress of our economies is linked to our adoption of technology and more importantly, our moves towards becoming builders of technology.”
While the Metaverse is a chill place to be, one must become familiar with teleporting, taking photos, delivering speeches, and literally exploring virtual spaces at the click of your mouse. The worse thing is to appear on stage while a speaker is making a presentation, as I did, while trying to navigate getting back to my seat. Mind you, the organizers had sessions that aimed at getting participants familiar with the platform…sigh. I took my encounter there as first steps because the Metaverse itself which forms a part of the Web3 experience is in growth mode.
Things are happening quickly; we are all learning daily in this space. And there is so much that’s going on.
This year’s theme: 2023 Economic outlook & Strategies for Growth was timely in many ways. David McWilliams took us on a journey into Europe and reminded us that history has a habit of repeating itself.
Our current situation was here before, some 100 years ago and while we always need to put things into perspective, those who were there then got out of it, and we can get out of this now. But we can also learn from how Ireland sorted itself out.
We were reminded about the importance of capital and asked what can we produce? As we aim to overcome the tyranny of our geography. How do you get rich? How do you attract CAPITAL and remain chill (as the Caribbean is known as a place to visit and chillout)?
When one speaks about capital, consideration must also be given to human capital. Human capital takes into account how we prepare younger people for the future that they will inherit. That must also look at ways of earning from Intellectual Property. Surely, one could see the link between human capital and productivity as a driving force in the developing of a regional economy. But Diether W. Beuermann reminded us that we are falling behind.
Another high point for me was Diether W. Beuermann’s presentation on what he called learning inequalities that persist throughout primary and secondary schools in Trinidad and Tobago (Data was used from Trinidad and Tobago to support his findings). Beuermann’s study suggested that “policy evaluations based solely on test scores may be misleading about the welfare effects of school choice.”
So, what that really seems to be suggesting is that as a region when it comes to human capital, we need to rethink our education policies.
But before I close, I must mention that the group 3-Canal, a Rapso/musical entity from Trinidad and Tobago made their debut performance in the Metaverse. Their song: What’s Going On, was a fitting interjection to create a balance between the heavier matters of the economy and, well, being entertained.
Music is used as a form of storytelling in Trinidad, so, to pop the question “What’s Going On?” in song was an effective way to bring closure to this event.
What was clear throughout that conference was how the pandemic changed the way in which we can interact with each other. In an era of Climate change and climate emergencies, just think of the many ways that we can now reduce our carbon footprint and reduce unnecessary travel. That translates into less pollution, lower carbon emissions and perhaps an easier way to see the impact of climatic changes on certain regions.
Web3 and the Metaverse are in some ways a type of third generation in the evolution of the Internet. The Metaverse, which seemed to develop out of Internet gaming, has delivered new options and opportunities for businesses and economic growth. The possibilities are limited only by our imagination as users.
I welcome these opportunities and look forward to being chilled in the Metaverse. Go on, explore it!