Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Is the Great Reset a myth? Is it a Right wing fantasy? A global climate conspiracy?
According to the World Economic Forum website, the Great Reset is an initiative to build a fairer, more sustainable world, through international cooperation. An attempt to reassert the authority of governments over capitalism, to close remaining tax loopholes, and to ensure fairer outcomes for everyone. There’s just one problem. If the WEF Great Reset initiative succeeds, civilisation could end.
Great Reset or grating global conspiracy theory? Either way, don’t dismiss genuine anxiety
Parnell Palme McGuinness
November 21, 2020 — 12.00am
I have a clear-eyed view of the world, you have a bias, and they have a conspiracy theory. This is the way the declension usually seems to work. Our anxieties are real and the anxieties of others increasingly bizarre.
Earlier this month, Senator Pauline Hanson moved a motion to reject the World Economic Forum’s “Great Reset”. The senator asked Parliament to “note that adopting the policies would devastate the economic wellbeing and individual freedoms of Australians” and that the Australian government should boycott all World Economic Forum events in protest over The Great Reset agenda.
The Great Reset imagines a radically different economic system. In the words, and word order, of the global management consultants McKinsey, the agenda will be climate change, sustainability, social justice and the pandemic. A frequently cited phrase from a WEF 2030 prediction is that “you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy”. To some this means communalism; others hear communism. Whether you see this as a shining vision or a dystopian dispossession depends largely on your social and ideological vantage point.
I’ve got to say I’m not a fan of someone telling me I no longer own my stuff. But lets go to the source – how does the architect of the Great Reset describe his own initiative?
Now is the time for a ‘great reset’
03 Jun 2020
Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.
To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.
There are many reasons to pursue a Great Reset, but the most urgent is COVID-19. Having already led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, the pandemic represents one of the worst public-health crises in recent history. And, with casualties still mounting in many parts of the world, it is far from over.
This will have serious long-term consequences for economic growth, public debt, employment, and human wellbeing. According to the Financial Times, global government debt has already reached its highest level in peacetime. Moreover, unemployment is skyrocketing in many countries: in the US, for example, one in four workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, with new weekly claims far above historic highs. The International Monetary Fund expects the world economy to shrink by 3% this year – a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points in just four months.
All of this will exacerbate the climate and social crises that were already underway. Some countries have already used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to weaken environmental protections and enforcement. And frustrations over social ills like rising inequality – US billionaires’ combined wealth has increased during the crisis – are intensifying.
Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile. Incremental measures and ad hoc fixes will not suffice to prevent this scenario. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.
The level of cooperation and ambition this implies is unprecedented. But it is not some impossible dream. In fact, one silver lining of the pandemic is that it has shown how quickly we can make radical changes to our lifestyles. Almost instantly, the crisis forced businesses and individuals to abandon practices long claimed to be essential, from frequent air travel to working in an office.
Likewise, populations have overwhelmingly shown a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of health-care and other essential workers and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. And many companies have stepped up to support their workers, customers, and local communities, in a shift toward the kind of stakeholder capitalism to which they had previously paid lip service.
Clearly, the will to build a better society does exist. We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments, though this does not imply an ideological push for bigger ones. And it will demand private-sector engagement every step of the way.
The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes. To this end, governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.” At a time of diminishing tax bases and soaring public debt, governments have a powerful incentive to pursue such action.
Moreover, governments should implement long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes. Depending on the country, these may include changes to wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.
The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. Here, the large-scale spending programs that many governments are implementing represent a major opportunity for progress. The European Commission, for one, has unveiled plans for a €750 billion ($826 billion) recovery fund. The US, China, and Japan also have ambitious economic-stimulus plans.
Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run. This means, for example, building “green” urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.
The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. During the COVID-19 crisis, companies, universities, and others have joined forces to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and possible vaccines; establish testing centers; create mechanisms for tracing infections; and deliver telemedicine. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector.
The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.
License and Republishing
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum
The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.
Just in case the adults don’t get onboard with the Great Reset, the World Economic Forum has teamed up with Sesame Street, to reach out to the kids (h/t James Delingpole).
Although the Great Reset mentions sustainability and Covid-19, I suspect these concepts were loosely bolted on to the core idea to win broader support. The main focus of the Great Reset appears to be global political and economic unity, along with some concerning ideas about private property, and an especial emphasis on harmonising global taxation and fiscal homogeneity.
Why do I think Schwab’s Great Reset could lead to the downfall of civilisation?
The reason is if it works at all, Schwab’s Great Reset would put all our eggs in one basket.
Nations rise and fall all the time. Once great powers like Spain, Czarist Russia, the British Empire and Ottoman Turkey are now a shadow of their former glory. China, which a hundred years ago under the decrepit Qing dynasty was the plaything of greater powers, now challenges the USA for global supremacy.
Anatolia and Arabia for a thousand years preserved and built on the knowledge of ancient Rome and Greece, while much of the West tore itself apart in an orgy of cruelty and murderous barbarism. Constantinople (Istanbul), Aleppo in Syria, and Babylon in Iraq were great centres of learning during periods of enlightened rule in the first millennium and early second millennium.
I think the pattern is pretty clear.
The point is, overall progress has continued despite the rise and fall of nations, and the incompetence and short sighted greed of politicians, because for more than two thousand years there has always been a safe haven, somewhere in the world for people of learning to flee the violence and barbarism of failed states and tyrants.
If the world’s nations embrace the Great Reset all this could change. If nations commit to marching in lockstep, there will no longer be an independent safe refuge, because all nations will make the same mistakes at the same time. The next fall could be global. A global fall which affects every nation simultaneously could take down everything.
Klaus Schwab, the architect of the Great Reset, was born in Germany in 1938.
via Watts Up With That?
November 21, 2020 at 08:16PM