At the 2020 World Economic Forum (WEF), a number of proponents led by Prince Charles, Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and Klaus Schwab, founder and CEO of the WEF unveiled a series of economic, environmental, and social arguments, which they termed The Great Reset.
The Great Reset is a series of ideas about rebuilding the world after the Covid crisis in a resilient, equitable, and sustainable manner. Proponents claim that a crisis like the Covid-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to rebuild society, correcting past mistakes, in an environmentally responsible way.
The Great Reset is primarily built upon the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), a complex web of policies, under the categories of poverty, hunger, health, education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, clean energy, employment and economic growth, innovation and infrastructure, inequality, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, the environment, peace, justice and strong institutions, and partnerships. The Great Reset sees climate change model predictions as alarming, in need of drastic intervention to prevent a climate catastrophe. Proponents also see that innovation through the Industry 4.0, or fourth industrial revolution paradigm as holding the solutions to the crises of the 21st Century, including food shortages, lifestyle diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, congested cities, and political and social unrest.
A collective and responsible leadership should rise. This would include multinational corporations, governments, and social organizations to manage the rebuilding of a better society. Corporations will become socially responsible through the implementation of stakeholder capitalism and a carbon pricing mechanism to regulate economic decision making in the future.
The WEF is set to meet again in January 2022 in Davos, Switzerland to address the above agenda, which is primarily supported by the Biden, Johnson, and Trudeau administrations of the US, UK, and Canada respectively. The narrative is about building back better, green growth, smart growth, and fair growth. New metrics are proposed to supplement GDP measures in future growth through this globalist initiative.
The substance within the Great Reset needs much more exploration
Many of the concepts within the set of ideas espoused within the package called the Great Reset are not without criticisms. Right wing media has projected the Great Reset as dictums made by a small group of elite billionaires, who are criticised for not practicing what they are preaching. Most supporters to date are politicians, high profile business people, public figures, and celebrities. There are actually very few economists who have publicly supported the Great Reset as a package of policies.
One of the pillars of the Great Reset, the SDGs are criticised for being too complex, too idealistic, and even contradictory in some areas. The Great Reset initiatives on climate change are only tackling the symptomatic effects, rather than the root causes of human induced global warming, rapidly rising population, growing high density urbanization, and the demand this creates for fossil fuels.
Industry 4.0 is just a continuation of the same development trajectory the world has been travelling along for the last two hundred years. Industry 4.0 will keep the means of production in the hands of a few due to high capital costs. For this reason, Industry 4.0 may lead to increasing unemployment, poverty and inequity, rather than do anything to solve these problems.
The thought of the world being led by multi-nationals whose leaders will undergo a sudden re-awakening into the paradigm of stakeholder capitalism is just too naïve. Multi-nationals have long been criticized by the traditional left for manipulation of economies, markets, labour, and tax systems to their advantage. The power of big tech over freedom of speech, the mass media abandoning the role of watchdog over government, the unaccountability of the bankers, and the pollution caused by multi-nationals doesn't provide much hope for any metamorphic change in the future. A future carbon trading market mechanism will just be another playground for bumper profiteering by global speculators.
The immediate issues of Covid induced poverty, unemployment, affordable housing, over-urbanization, and rapidly rising inflation are not being considered with any immediate solution-based thinking. In-fact, there is a lack of critical thinking over a number of the basic assumptions behind the Great Reset idea package, as hard data to support many assumptions is worryingly lacking.
One solution doesn't fit all