The Great Reset represents the development of the Chinese system in the West, but in reverse. Whereas the Chinese political class began with a socialist political system and then introduced privately held for-profit production, the West began with capitalism and is now implementing a Chinese-style political system. This Chinese-style system includes vastly increased state intervention in the economy, on the one hand, and on the other, the kind of authoritarian measures that the Chinese government uses to control its population. Another way of describing the goal of the Great Reset is “capitalism with Chinese characteristics”—a two-tiered economy, with profitable monopolies and the state on top and socialism for the majority below.
In other words, Fascism.
WHAT IS THE GREAT RESET?
COMMENTARY BY Michael Rectenwald FOR IMPRIMIS
Is the Great Reset a conspiracy theory imagining a vast left-wing plot to establish a totalitarian one-world government? No. Despite the fact that some people may have spun conspiracy theories based on it—with some reason, as we will see—the Great Reset is real.
Indeed, just last year, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF)—a famous organization made up of the world’s political, economic, and cultural elites that meets annually in Davos, Switzerland—and Thierry Malleret, co-founder and main author of the Monthly Barometer, published a book called COVID-19: The Great Reset. In the book, they define the Great Reset as a means of addressing the “weaknesses of capitalism” that were purportedly exposed by the COVID pandemic.
But the idea of the Great Reset goes back much further. It can be traced at least as far back as the inception of the WEF, originally founded as the European Management Forum, in 1971. In that same year, Schwab, an engineer and economist by training, published his first book, Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering. It was in this book that Schwab first introduced the concept he would later call “stakeholder capitalism,” arguing “that the management of a modern enterprise must serve not only shareholders but all stakeholders to achieve long-term growth and prosperity.” Schwab and the WEF have promoted the idea of stakeholder capitalism ever since. They can take credit for the stakeholder and public-private partnership rhetoric and policies embraced by governments, corporations, non-governmental organizations, and international governance bodies worldwide.
The specific phrase “Great Reset” came into general circulation over a decade ago, with the publication of a 2010 book, The Great Reset, by American urban studies scholar Richard Florida. Written in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Florida’s book argued that the 2008 economic crash was the latest in a series of Great Resets—including the Long Depression of the 1870s and the Great Depression of the 1930s—which he defined as periods of paradigm-shifting systemic innovation.
Four years after Florida’s book was published, at the 2014 annual meeting of the WEF, Schwab declared: “What we want to do in Davos this year . . . is to push the reset button”—and subsequently the image of a reset button would appear on the WEF’s website.
In 2018 and 2019, the WEF organized two events that became the primary inspiration for the current Great Reset project—and also, for obvious reasons, fresh fodder for conspiracy theorists. (Don’t blame me for the latter—all I’m doing is relating the historical facts.)
In May 2018, the WEF collaborated with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to conduct “CLADE X,” a simulation of a national pandemic response. Specifically, the exercise simulated the outbreak of a novel strain of a human parainfluenza virus, with genetic elements of the Nipah virus, called CLADE X. The simulation ended with a news report stating that in the face of CLADE X, without effective vaccines, “experts tell us that we could eventually see 30 to 40 million deaths in the U.S. and more than 900 million around the world—twelve percent of the global population.” Clearly, preparation for a global pandemic was in order.
In October 2019, the WEF collaborated with Johns Hopkins and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on another pandemic exercise, “Event 201,” which simulated an international response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus. This was two months before the COVID outbreak in China became news and five months before the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic, and it closely resembled the future COVID scenario, including incorporating the idea of asymptomatic spread.
The CLADE X and Event 201 simulations anticipated almost every eventuality of the actual COVID crisis, most notably the responses by governments, health agencies, the media, tech companies, and elements of the public. The responses and their effects included worldwide lockdowns, the collapse of businesses and industries, the adoption of biometric surveillance technologies, an emphasis on social media censorship to combat “misinformation,” the flooding of social and legacy media with “authoritative sources,” widespread riots, and mass unemployment.
In addition to being promoted as a response to COVID, the Great Reset is promoted as a response to climate change. In 2017, the WEF published a paper entitled, “We Need to Reset the Global Operating System to Achieve the [United Nations Sustainable Development Goals].” On June 13, 2019, the WEF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations to form a partnership to advance the “UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Shortly after that, the WEF published the “United Nations-World Economic Forum Strategic Partnership Framework for the 2030 Agenda,” promising to help finance the UN’s climate change agenda and committing the WEF to help the UN “meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” including providing assets and expertise for “digital governance.”
In June 2020, at its 50th annual meeting, the WEF announced the Great Reset’s official launch, and a month later Schwab and Malleret published their book on COVID and the Great Reset. The book declared that COVID represents an “opportunity [that] can be seized”; that “we should take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to reimagine our world”; that “the moment must be seized to take advantage of this unique window of opportunity”; and that “[f]or those fortunate enough to find themselves in industries ‘naturally’ resilient to the pandemic”—think here of Big Tech companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon—“the crisis was not only more bearable, but even a source of profitable opportunities at a time of distress for the majority.”
The Great Reset aims to usher in a bewildering economic amalgam—Schwab’s stakeholder capitalism—which I have called “corporate socialism” and Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben has called “communist capitalism.”
In brief, stakeholder capitalism involves the behavioral modification of corporations to benefit not shareholders, but stakeholders—individuals and groups that stand to benefit or lose from corporate behavior. Stakeholder capitalism requires not only corporate responses to pandemics and ecological issues such as climate change, “but also rethinking [corporations’] commitments to already-vulnerable communities within their ecosystems.” This is the “social justice” aspect of the Great Reset. To comply with that, governments, banks, and asset managers use the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) index to squeeze non-woke corporations and businesses out of the market. The ESG index is essentially a social credit score that is used to drive ownership and control of production away from the non-woke or non-compliant.
One of the WEF’s many powerful “strategic partners,” BlackRock, Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, is solidly behind the stakeholder model. In a 2021 letter to CEOs, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink declared that “climate risk is investment risk,” and “the creation of sustainable index investments has enabled a massive acceleration of capital towards companies better prepared to address climate risk.” The COVID pandemic, Fink wrote, accelerated the flow of funds toward sustainable investments:
We have long believed that our clients, as shareholders in your company, will benefit if you can create enduring, sustainable value for all of your stakeholders. . . . As more and more investors choose to tilt their investments towards sustainability-focused companies, the tectonic shift we are seeing will accelerate further. And because this will have such a dramatic impact on how capital is allocated, every management team and board will need to consider how this will impact their company’s stock.
Fink’s letter is more than a report to CEOs. It is an implicit threat: be woke or else.
In their recent book on the Great Reset, Schwab and Malleret pit “stakeholder capitalism” against “neoliberalism,” defining the latter as “a corpus of ideas and policies . . . favouring competition over solidarity, creative destruction over government intervention, and economic growth over social welfare.” In other words, “neoliberalism” refers to the free enterprise system. In opposing that system, stakeholder capitalism entails corporate cooperation with the state and vastly increased government intervention in the economy.
Proponents of the Great Reset hold “neoliberalism” responsible for our economic woes. But in truth, the governmental favoring of industries and players within industries—what used to be known as corporatism or economic fascism—has been the real source of what Schwab and his allies at the WEF decry.
While approved corporations are not necessarily monopolies, the tendency of the Great Reset is toward monopolization—vesting as much control over production and distribution in as few favored corporations as possible, while eliminating industries and producers deemed non-essential or inimical. To bring this reset about, Schwab writes, “[e]very country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed.”
Another way of describing the goal of the Great Reset is “capitalism with Chinese characteristics”—a two-tiered economy, with profitable monopolies and the state on top and socialism for the majority below.
Several decades ago, as China’s growing reliance on the for-profit sectors of its economy could no longer be credibly denied by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), its leadership approved the slogan “socialism with Chinese characteristics” to describe its economic system. Formulated by Deng Xiaoping, the phrase was meant to rationalize the CCP’s allowance of for-profit development under a socialist political system. The CCP considered the privatization of the Chinese economy to be a temporary phase—lasting as long as 100 years if necessary—on the way to a communist society. Party leaders maintain that this approach has been necessary in China because socialism was introduced too early there, when China was a backward agrarian country. China needed a capitalist booster shot.
Stripped of its socialist ideological pretensions, the Chinese system amounts to a socialist or communist state increasingly funded by capitalist economic development. The difference between the former Soviet Union and contemporary China is that when it became obvious that a socialist economy had failed, the former gave up its socialist economic pretenses, while the latter has not.
The Great Reset represents the development of the Chinese system in the West, but in reverse. Whereas the Chinese political class began with a socialist political system and then introduced privately held for-profit production, the West began with capitalism and is now implementing a Chinese-style political system. This Chinese-style system includes vastly increased state intervention in the economy, on the one hand, and on the other, the kind of authoritarian measures that the Chinese government uses to control its population.
Schwab and Malleret write that if “the past five centuries in Europe and America” have taught us anything, it is that “acute crises contribute to boosting the power of the state. It’s always been the case and there is no reason it should be different with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The draconian lockdown measures employed by Western governments managed to accomplish goals of which corporate socialists in the WEF could only dream—above all, the destruction of small businesses, eliminating competitors for corporate monopolists favored by the state. In the U.S. alone, according to the Foundation for Economic Education, millions of small businesses closed their doors due to the lockdowns. Yelp data indicates that 60 percent of those closures are now permanent. Meanwhile companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google enjoyed record gains.
Other developments that advance the Great Reset agenda have included unfettered immigration, travel restrictions for otherwise legal border crossing, the Federal Reserve’s unrestrained printing of money and the subsequent inflation, increased taxation, increased dependence on the state, broken supply chains, the restrictions and job losses due to vaccine mandates, and the prospect of personal carbon allowances.
Such policies reflect the “fairness” aspect of the Great Reset—fairness requires lowering the economic status of people in wealthier nations like the U.S. relative to that of people in poorer regions of the world. One of the functions of woke ideology is to make the majority in developed countries feel guilty about their wealth, which the elites aim to reset downwards—except, one notices, for the elites themselves, who need to be rich in order to fly in their private jets to Davos each year.
The Great Reset’s corporate stakeholder model overlaps with its governance and geopolitical model: states and favored corporations are combined in public-private partnerships and together have control of governance. This corporate-state hybrid is largely unaccountable to the constituents of national governments.
Governance is not only increasingly privatized, but also and more importantly, corporations are deputized as major additions to governments and intergovernmental bodies. The state is thereby extended, enhanced, and augmented by the addition of enormous corporate assets. As such, corporations become what I have called “governmentalities”—otherwise private organizations wielded as state apparatuses, with no obligation to answer to pesky voters. Since these corporations are multinational, the state essentially becomes globalist, whether or not a one-world government is ever formalized.
As if the economic and governmental resets were not dramatic enough, the technological reset reads like a dystopian science fiction novel. It is based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution—or 4-IR for short. The first, second, and third industrial revolutions were the mechanical, electrical, and digital revolutions. The 4-IR marks the convergence of existing and emerging fields, including Big Data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, quantum computing, genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics. The foreseen result will be the merging of the physical, digital, and biological worlds, which presents a challenge to the ontologies by which we understand ourselves and the world, including the definition of a human being.
There is nothing original about this. Transhumanists and Singularitarians (prophets of technological singularity) such as Ray Kurzweil forecasted these and other revolutionary developments long ago. What’s different about the globalists’ vision of 4-IR is the attempt to harness it to the ends of the Great Reset.
If already existing 4-IR developments are any indication of the future, then the claim that it will contribute to human happiness is false. These developments include Internet algorithms that feed users prescribed news and advertisements and downrank or exclude banned content; algorithms that censor social media content and consign “dangerous” individuals and organizations to digital gulags; “keyword warrants” based on search engine inputs; apps that track and trace COVID violations and report offenders to the police; robot police with scanners to identify and round up the unvaccinated and other dissidents; and smart cities where residents are digital entities to be monitored, surveilled, and recorded, and where data on their every move is collected, collated, stored, and attached to a digital identity and a social credit score.
In short, 4-IR technologies subject human beings to a kind of technological management that makes surveillance by the NSA look like child’s play. Schwab goes so far as to cheer developments that aim to connect human brains directly to the cloud for the sake of “data mining” our thoughts and memories. If successful, this would constitute a technological mastery over decision-making that would threaten human autonomy and undermine free will.
The 4-IR seeks to accelerate the merging of humans and machines, resulting in a world in which all information, including genetic information, is shared, and every action, thought, and motivation is known, predicted, and possibly precluded. Unless taken out of the hands of corporate-socialist technocrats, the 4-IR will eventually lead to a virtual and inescapable prison of body and mind.
In terms of the social order, the Great Reset promises inclusion in a shared destiny. But the subordination of so-called “netizens” implies economic and political disenfranchisement, a hyper-vigilance over self and others, and social isolation—or what Hannah Arendt called “organized loneliness”—on a global scale. This organized loneliness is already manifest in lockdowns, masking, social distancing, and the social exclusion of the unvaccinated. The title of the Ad Council’s March 2020 public service announcement—“Alone Together”—perfectly captures this sense of organized loneliness.
In my recent book, Google Archipelago, I argued that leftist authoritarianism is the political ideology and modus operandi of what I call Big Digital, which is on the leading edge of a nascent world system. Big Digital is the communications, ideological, and technological arm of an emerging corporate-socialist totalitarianism. The Great Reset is the name that has since been given to the project of establishing this world system.
Just as Schwab and the WEF predicted, the COVID crisis has accelerated the Great Reset. Monopolistic corporations have consolidated their grip on the economy from above, while socialism continues to advance for the rest of us below. In partnership with Big Digital, Big Pharma, the mainstream media, national and international health agencies, and compliant populations, hitherto democratic Western states—think especially of Australia, New Zealand, and Austria—are being transformed into totalitarian regimes modeled after China.
But let me end on a note of hope. Because the goals of the Great Reset depend on the obliteration not only of free markets, but of individual liberty and free will, it is, perhaps ironically, unsustainable. Like earlier attempts at totalitarianism, the Great Reset is doomed to ultimate failure. That doesn’t mean, however, that it won’t, again like those earlier attempts, leave a lot of destruction in its wake—which is all the more reason to oppose it now and with all our might.
Michael Rectenwald is the chief academic officer for American Scholars. He has a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, an M.A. from Case Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies from Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught at New York University, Duke University, North Carolina Central University, Carnegie Mellon University, and Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of numerous books, including Nineteenth-Century British Secularism: Science, Religion, and Literature; Google Archipelago; Beyond Woke; and Thought Criminal.
DOUG CASEY ON IMPLICATIONS OF THE “GREAT RESET” AGENDA AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOU
COMMENTARY BY DOUG CASEY FOR INTERNATIONAL MAN – READ AND SUBSCRIBE TO INTERNATIONAL MAN
International Man: By now, most people have heard about the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) “Great Reset” agenda led by Klaus Schwab.
The WEF sees the COVID pandemic as an opportunity to reshape the economic and social structures of the world.
With the unpleasantness of 2020 and 2021 behind us, what do you think will be the next phase of their global agenda?
Doug Casey: For many years, conspiratorially oriented people have looked askance at the Council on Foreign Relations, Bilderberg, Bohemian Grove, Concordia, WEF, and similar groups where the rich and powerful people gather to wheel and deal.
Despite my visceral dislike of these people, I actually accepted an invite to Concordia out of curiosity and wrote an article about it. I won’t be going back because it’s simultaneously boring and disturbing to be in the company of self-important bureaucrats, opportunists, and slimy rent-seekers.
These people predictably make a huge deal about COVID. The pandemic impresses me as about 90% hysteria from a medical point of view. You don’t want to get it, obviously, but unless you’re old and sick, it appears to be just the flu, especially now that it’s burning out, the way viruses do. The average age of decedents is about 80—a fact which is never reported. We’ve certainly never seen carts going through the streets crying, “Bring out your dead. Bring out your dead.” But I personally know people who think it’s stalking them like an assassin. The hysteria has mutated into mass psychosis.
Governmental reaction to the flu, actively promoted by the groups I just mentioned, has reshaped the way the world works. It’s definitely a crisis these miscreants haven’t let go to waste. In fact, what’s gone on over the last two years is probably the biggest upset in world history, at least since World War II—and that’s saying something. It’s been a real catalyst for the “Great Reset” promoted by these powerful busybodies, and it’s still evolving. We could see genuine chaos before 2022 is over.
So what’s next, now that the whole world seems to be going insane? Billions of thoughtless people have been terrified; they’re ripe for the next medical emergency, real or imagined. In order to be proactive, our faux guardians in government are undoubtedly going to attempt something like a vaccine passport. That way, when the next thing comes up, they can pretend to react quickly and more easily get the masses to do what they’re told.
Of course, this is all highly destructive. Your health is something that should be between you and your doctor—not some DMV look-alike government employee.
International Man: The short video released by the WEF during the pandemic included a strange statement about the state of the world by 2030—”you’ll own nothing and be happy.”
What do you think this implies about individual freedom and private property?
Doug Casey: One big change over the last two years is that, for the first time, people are spending many hours a day binge-watching television. Of course, people have watched “too much” TV for decades, but now billions have been under virtual house arrest with nothing to do but glue their eyes to the flat screen and absorb massive amounts of indoctrination. These insane lockdowns have prevented billions of people from both working and socializing. They’re in enforced isolation, virtual prison.
TV and welfare are a very effective update of the old Roman concept of “bread and circuses.” A flat-screen TV with 1000 channels—everybody has one—offers a much easier and better way to kill time than going to the Colosseum or Circus Maximus, especially from the point of view of the rulers, since the proles can be indoctrinated while they’re isolated. That decreases the odds of the natives getting too restless.
Meanwhile, governments everywhere have been sending their populations loads of free money, so they can sate themselves with junk food. Biden’s Build Back Better program will pass in some form, making bread and circuses a permanent feature of life in America. Our version might be called “Pizzas and Netflix.”
The people who frequent forums, such as the WEF, see themselves as a special class―the elite. They all know each other, go to the same schools, and socialize at the same clubs. They have high incomes, a lot of power and influence, and groom their kids to join the party.
They’ve jelled into an informal ruling class. Even while they mouth hypocritical platitudes about democracy, diversity, equity, and other PC nonsense, they, in fact, despise the common man. I wouldn’t be surprised if they would really like to see―as people such as Ted Turner and Bill Gates have intimated―80% of the world’s population to just disappear. That way, when they visit places such as Machu Picchu, St. Mark’s Square in Venice, and other fashionable places, they won’t be annoyed by the hoi polloi wandering around as if they were equals. Enough money and power can get the elite to start thinking that way. Not to mention that these people are mostly sociopaths, with a heavy admixture of real psychos.
Perhaps they’d like to see the “nonessential” proles isolated in their apartments, sedated by Xanax and Prozac, stuffed with cheap carbohydrates, stimulated by Fentanyl and meth, and programmed by the MSNBC, while their “betters” figure out what to do with them. I suspect my hero Charles Knight will have to confront this problem in the next novels in the series John Hunt and I are doing.
International Man: What drastic economic and social changes need to take place for the WEF’s agenda to become a reality?
Doug Casey: It’s very clear—more state power.
Governments throughout the world have grown like cancer throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Look at a chart showing the percentage of the economy controlled by states everywhere in the world over the last 100 years. The state has gone from being a minor nuisance—taking a small part of the economic production—to now controlling 30, 40, 50%, or more everywhere. Even with massive income taxes, 20% Value Added Taxes, gigantic borrowing, and catastrophic currency inflation, governments everywhere are bankrupt. We’re at a tipping point.
Governments have become very powerful, and they’re getting even more powerful. It’s an accelerating trend. Financial, tech, and media corporations, in particular, have turned into behemoths by merging with each other, working hand-in-glove with the government. Their nomenklatura, aided by an inflated stock market, has been enriched by the revolving door between the state and corporations. It’s Mussolini’s dream of state corporatism, i.e., fascism, come true on a grand scale.
Meanwhile, most humans have become cattle-lookalikes. The only question is whether we’re feedlot cattle or free-range cattle. The feedlot cattle, standing shoulder-to-shoulder eating silage at the feed trough, are like the old proletariat. They have no personal efficacy at all.
The upper ranges of the middle class are more like the so-called free-range cattle. They have a bigger field to wander around in, get to eat grass, and have the illusion of freedom. But it’s important not to kid yourself about the big picture.
International Man: In the background of all of this, many governments are entertaining the concept of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC) as a solution to their failed monetary policies.
All the fiat currencies in the world are backed by nothing, and they’re being printed in enormous quantities. What does a CBDC mean for the viability and future of government-issued fiat money?
Doug Casey: Central Bank Digital Currencies are a truly big disaster. They’re coming down the road, barreling toward us like a maniac’s truck in Road Warrior. The ubiquitous smartphone has made them almost inevitable.
Everybody has a smartphone; it’s convenient and always with you. People are attached to them like appendages. You can access everything else on your cell phone today—so why not money? Feedlot cattle everywhere will go for CBDCs with enthusiasm. It’s already happened to a great degree in China and Sweden. CBDCs give the government total knowledge and control of everything you buy, sell, or own. The feedlot cattle love it; they believe the State is their friend. Free-range cattle may need some prodding, but they’ll go along to get along; they won’t want to lose their privileges.
The whole world is being propelled towards CBDCs. When your whole financial life is necessarily on your cell phone, and cash doesn’t exist, the State will know—everything—you’re doing, where you’re doing it, and with whom. The process will be aided by an omnipresent camera and your frenemies, Siri and Alexa.
It will tie in nicely with our evolving social credit system like the Chinese now have. Your score might get dinged by what you say, whom you talk to, and where you go. But most cattle like it; it makes them feel safe and virtuous.
Like cattle, most people rather like a welfare state; it’s not unpleasant being given food while you can sit there and watch your television or play with your smartphone all day. It’s actually pretty comfortable being a feedlot cow—a lot more comfortable than trying to be a wild buffalo that has to forage to fend off starvation and fight for survival. So, of course, the world is changing in that direction.
We really are headed towards a Great Reset that Klaus Schwab and his criminal pals anticipate. However, the fact that they have plans to put everybody in a well-ordered and comfortable feedlot doesn’t repeal the laws of economics. The Greater Depression isn’t going to disappear.
On the bright side—and I always look at the bright side—today’s corrupt system is likely to collapse in the onrushing crisis. It is, to use an overly popular word, unsustainable. Currencies will lose value radically. Markets will go up and down like an elevator with a lunatic at the controls. On the dark side, things usually get worse during major tumult—France in 1789, Russia in 1917, and China in 1949 are examples.
I continue to anticipate that the Greater Depression is going to get much more serious this year, even though increasing levels of debt and high government spending are papering things over for the moment. In fact, I’m starting to think that “Greater Depression,” a term I coined, understates the situation.
The likely next step is a major financial upset, cascading into serious economic problems, at which point all the feedlot cows are going to clamor for “strong” leadership. They’ll get what they ask for.
The Jacobins in control in Washington, DC—for at least the next three years—won’t let the crisis go to waste. From there, things could slide into social chaos similar to what we saw in 2020. And perhaps a serious war; governments everywhere love to blame foreigners for domestic problems.
The 2020s could be the nastiest decade that we’ve had since the Industrial Revolution of the early 1800s—notwithstanding huge advances that continue to be made in most areas of science and technology.
International Man: What does this mean for the average person? What should he do?
Doug Casey: Number one, produce more than you consume. Save the difference. Put your savings in the safest form possible, which basically means gold and silver coins in your own possession.
Number two, try to have meaningful assets outside of the political jurisdiction or country that you live in. Financial risks are huge today, but political risks are even greater.
Number three, perfect your skills as a speculator. Most of the real wealth in the world will still be here when 2030 rolls around, but a lot of it will have changed ownership.