As Rishi Sunak ‘goes long’ with his ‘spend now, pay later’ budget, we’re trying to avoid emulating the SpaceX rocket, which managed to land after a high-altitude test, only to explode moments later. There’s relief at the furlough and Universal Credit extensions and cash for businesses struggling to stay afloat but we’re finding it hard to celebrate, with corporation tax raised for the first time since 1974 and 1,150 jobs threatened at Sainsbury’s. In the US, Disney is closing 60 stores as it focuses on a streaming future.
ENDURING PAIN FOR GAIN
Still, the future is emerging rapidly before us. UK economic growth next year is slated to be the fastest since 1948. TikTok’s owner is developing a Clubhouse-style app for China. Rock band Kings of Leon is the first major group to issue an album as a cryptocurrency. As Edison’s US president Rachel Carroll prepares for a panel showcasing a London Stock Exchange IPO as a platform for global growth, Deliveroo has chosen London for its £8bn float. Aviva is exiting Italy as it plots a future based on just three countries, while Ladbrokes owner Entain has returned to the black on the back of rapid US growth. The future of retailing may also have arrived, with the UK’s first Amazon Fresh no-checkout grocery shop. As China moots going green in its latest five-year plan, roof-top solar energy could kill – or save – the Texas electric grid.
REAPING THE BENEFITS
As for the present, we’re harvesting some fruit from investments made a long time ago. An ‘exceptional’ 15th Century Ming bowl has been unearthed at a US yard sale, while Apple’s iMac from 1998 turns out to have been a surprising pioneer of the processing power needed for NASA’s Mars rover. As artificial intelligence trains counsellors to deal with teens in crisis, we may be finally solving the mystery of the expansion of the universe . And the Thai navy arrived just in time for these cats left on a sinking ship.