Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret
Covid-19: The Great Reset
Geneva: Forum Publishing, 2020
What is the “Great Reset” that the politicians and talking heads have been babbling about lately? The New York Times called it a “baseless conspiracy theory.” That settles it; end of discussion, everything’s cleared up, QED. Even Justin Bieber Trudeau says so, although he kind of flip-flopped. Whew! I was getting a smidge worried, until they set me straight, boy howdy! There’s nothing to see here, move along. . .
Well, instead of listening to that embarrassment or to the MSM, we could go straight to the horse’s mouth. Back in July, Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret published a book called Covid-19: The Great Reset. Although the subject matter covers the entire world’s situation, it was somewhat more US-centric than I would’ve expected — though also with much focus on Western Europe — collectively, about the things we must do.
What’s inside the supersized Globaloney Hoagie Special they’re selling us?
All told, there are a lot of “what if” considerations and future predictions about the way society might go. Actually, speculative scenarios and social ripple effects are major elements when I write science fiction. The difference is that my books are funny and entertaining. Covid-19: The Great Reset seems more like dystopian fiction dipped in hot fudge.
Although much comes across noncommittally, it’s pretty clear when the book disapproves of a trend or finds it alarming. A workable rule of thumb is that lack of disapproval is either a neutral observation or a tacit endorsement. Despite some sympathetic noises about the fate of the common people, it seemed barely better than “let them eat cake” in many places.
There are some things to keep in mind about all this. It’s pretty clear from the text that the prime mover behind the changes bundled into the Great Reset isn’t the virus itself, but rather the lockdown measures. Also, this is a coordinated effort; for example the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank trying to offer the President of Belarus nearly a billion dollars of payola to impose these measures to crash their economy. (These institutions have nothing to do with healthcare. What’s their interest in it then? Is it about pushing the Great Reset agenda?) Finally, consider that the book discusses what they’re willing to admit in print.
These days, there’s no end to tricky globalist institutions, typically with obscenely wealthy backers, wanting to restructure the planet radically — their way, of course. It’s difficult to say for sure how everything fits together in New World Order circles, given the lack of transparency. Moreover, it’s a cloud-based power structure, rather than something describable in a top-down org chart with Galactic Overlord Xenu running the whole circus. As for the World Economic Forum, it doesn’t seem too high up the NWO food chain. However, it is particularly influential, more than just a hangout at Davos for the proverbial Gnomes of Zürich and all that. They certainly made a buzz with their book. Even the mediocre has-been politician John Kerry got on board that bandwagon. He even pledged the support of future Commander-In-Cheat Joe Bidet.
So, let’s see what our Star Trek future soon to emerge will look like. The preface begins:
Since it made its entry on the world stage, COVID-19 has dramatically torn up the existing script of how to govern countries, live with others and take part in the global economy.
Correction: The virus didn’t do these things directly. International NGOs and huge foundations stage-managing the response did that, with national and local leaders (aside from a few dissenters) allowing them to dictate policy. There, I fixed it.
Written by World Economic Forum Founder Klaus Schwab and Monthly Barometer author Thierry Malleret, COVID-19: The Great Reset considers its far-reaching and dramatic implications on tomorrow’s world.
The book’s main objective is to help understand what’s coming in a multitude of domains. Published in July 2020, in the midst of the crisis and when further waves of infection may still arise, it is a hybrid between a contemporary essay and an academic snapshot of a crucial moment in history. It includes theory and practical examples but is chiefly explanatory, containing many conjectures and ideas about what the post-pandemic world might, and perhaps should, look like.
Is it fair to say that it’s basically a whitepaper of what they want the world to look like, or am I being a big cynic as usual? Then the preface explains that it has chapters covering three levels about the future landscape: macro (“the economic, societal, geopolitical, environmental and technological factors”), micro (“specific industries and companies”), and “the nature of the possible consequences at the individual level.” At least one can’t say they weren’t thorough about it. The preface winds up with this evocative note:
One path will take us to a better world: more inclusive, more equitable and more respectful of Mother Nature. The other will take us to a world that resembles the one we just left behind — but worse and constantly dogged by nasty surprises.
The introduction begins basically highlighting the seriousness of the crisis. Then already we get some interesting stuff:
No industry or business will be spared from the impact of these changes. Millions of companies risk disappearing and many industries face an uncertain future; a few will thrive.
We’ve figured out that one already, even those of us who aren’t Swiss economists with coneheads packed with coprocessor chips. Because of lockdown mandates, small businesses are suffering and closing shop. Meanwhile, a select few massive corporations are making record profits. What a miracle the Wuhanic Plague has been for them! The billionaires couldn’t have made a bigger pile of loot — to the detriment of countless small businesses — even if it had been planned out from the beginning.
The fault lines of the world — most notably social divides, lack of fairness, absence of cooperation, failure of global governance and leadership — now lie exposed as never before, and people feel the time for reinvention has come.
I’ll concur that “global governance” blew it big time. (However, the billionaires who made out like bandits surely have a different opinion.) What’s the answer? Should the bungling globalists be given more power?
A new world will emerge, the contours of which are for us to both imagine and to draw.
Would that be a New World Order, by any chance?
Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never.
Sweet! Then it promises that there will be much change in the “new normal.” After that, the introduction is paragraph after paragraph of historical analysis about earlier plagues (flawed in places) mixed with globaloney. It states that we’re at a tipping point, and some of the changes already under way will be accelerated. Warp speed ahead, Sulu!
The chapter begins with a subsection discussing interdependence in the world, and how problems in one area can cascade into other problems. Later, it discusses how modernity brings a faster pace to many things, and greater complexity. OK, got that. Still, it turns out that interdependence is actually a liability. What the analysis misses is that this fragility did not happen all by itself. Globalism created this liability, and nationalism instead would lead to resilience. For a very brief summary of what I mean:
The First World’s native population stopped increasing, and much of the Third World is suffering from rampant overpopulation with no end in sight. Immigration restrictions would contain the problem, but globalist open borders policies exported the problem. This promotes urban sprawl, strained infrastructure, environmental degradation — the things globalists claim they don’t like — among many other problems. This ultimately harms the way of life for the public that never approved of their countries becoming dumping grounds for rapidly-breeding migrants. The population replacement agenda was more important than controlling overpopulation.
The First World has strong anti-pollution laws, but many Third World countries do not. That’s one of the factors that make these locations attractive for greedy corporations that want production as cheap as possible. However, certain environmental efforts (like the Kyoto Protocol) target the First World, but exempt the Third World even though they’re the ones lagging behind. Also, globalized production causes extra pollution from shipping cargo across oceans, but protecting corporate profits is more important. The deindustrialization agenda for the First World was more important than protecting the environment.
The Covid-19 virus first was confined to China, but closing the borders was out of the question. Instead, the situation was downplayed greatly and the buzz was that “racism” is the real problem. Only when outbreaks appeared all around did the usual suspects do a complete reversal — what a coinkydink! Then they hyped the crisis up to eleven, and rolled out unprecedented lockdown measures. The Great Reset agenda was more important than managing the virus.
On the last note, somehow the big foundations, the politicians, and the MSM can turn on a dime in unison. Another example is how at first the public was told that masks are ineffective. (It seems that was to discourage a run on the market.) Then suddenly masks were mandatory to go shopping, like ankle monitors for parolees under house arrest.
Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China🇨🇳. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020
Remember when they were telling us this?
I can see that nationalism leads to resilience and globalism causes fragility, even though I’m just a dumb blond from Flyover Country. Therefore, surely all these top-level globalist think tanks can figure out these things too. (Golly jeepers, don’t they have the best minds that the Space Lizard planet has to offer?) This brings us to the eternal question: “Do they believe their own nonsense?” In this case, they know very well what they’re doing. Whenever globalists complain about the problems they’ve exacerbated, remember that they speak with forked tongues! Their solution, of course, is always more globalism.
The Dismal Science
The “economic reset” subsection gets off to a slow start. One takeaway is a prediction that “the pandemic could go on affecting us until 2022” in a series of waves. The authors may be right. Now that vaccines are starting to become available, we’re being told that they’re not completely effective, yearly booster shots might be needed, or maybe even once every two months. Moreover, the vaccinated will have to keep up with the masks, social distancing, and all that jazz. (Boy howdy, I can’t wait to be a canary in that coal mine!) It seems this one might get dragged out as long as possible.
Then it defends lockdown measures; no surprise there. After that, it states that Covid-19 “led to the deepest dive on record for the global economy for over 100 years.” Here the analysis seems rather dodgy. I expected better; isn’t this their specialty? The economy did tank back in February, bottoming out in March. However, at the time of writing in June, much ground had been recovered. As of right now, the numbers are reaching record highs. (Dumb blonds can read stock charts too.) The small business sector would’ve recovered as well, if not for the lockdown measures. What it doesn’t state, of course, is how artificially-generated panic fed into this.
It predicts that the service economy will continue to be hard-hit until everyone gets vaxxed up. Plenty of doom and gloom follows to help drive home the point (of the syringe). Other than that:
In all likelihood, the recession induced by the pandemic will trigger a sharp increase in labour-substitution, meaning that physical labour will be replaced by robots and “intelligent” machines, which will in turn provoke lasting and structural changes in the labour market.
Then as another area likely to expand, it discusses chatbots with voice recognition. (That means those pestilential phone trees that aggravate customers to no end.) The presentation assumes that the masses of workers displaced by robots eventually will find something else to do. At least it’s not as bad as some of the buzz a few years ago about automation, which had plenty of snotty “let them eat cake” stuff thrown in with all the happytalk.
Then it predicts low future economic growth. However:
The history of radical rethinking in the years following World War II, which included the establishment of the Bretton Woods institutions, the United Nations, the EU and the expansion of welfare states, shows the magnitude of the shifts possible.
I’d characterize all that as problems.
With income inequality more marked than ever in many countries and technological developments driving further polarization, total GDP or averages such as GDP per capita are becoming less and less useful as true indicators of individuals’ quality of life. Wealth inequality is a significant dimension of today’s dynamic of inequality and should be more systematically tracked.
It’s nice that they noticed. Still, I have some questions. What will any income redistribution schemes resulting from this new understanding look like? How much of our paychecks will go to that? Will it support local communities, or go to the masses in Third World regions so that they can keep having more kids than they can support? Will everyone have to pony up, or do the working stiffs in the middle class shoulder the entire burden while the billionaires and Space Lizards conveniently exempt themselves with special loopholes?
After that, it discusses new growth opportunities in the green economy and the social economy (caretaking and things to make people happier). If that works out, so much the better. Then there’s the healthcare sector, of course. It proposes that “more inclusive and sustainable prosperity” can be encouraged with the right outlook and legislative tinkering. One possibility is halting or reversing the GDP.
By triggering a period of enforced degrowth, the pandemic has spurred renewed interest in this movement that wants to reverse the pace of economic growth, leading more than 1,100 experts from around the world to release a manifesto in May 2020 putting forward a degrowth strategy to tackle the economic and human crisis caused by COVID-19.
Discouraging pointless consumerism would be sensible. However, it seems that these 1,100 “experts” had something else in mind, and would’ve been pleased to have a permanent recession. Rolling back the economy means less prosperity, which means more poverty. By any chance, is the First World primarily on target?
Concerning fiscal and monetary policies:
In systemically important countries, central banks decided almost immediately after the beginning of the outbreak to cut interest rates while launching large quantitative-easing programmes, committing to print the money necessary to keep the costs of government borrowing low.
OK, got that.
These are unprecedented programmes for an unprecedented situation, something so new that the economist Carmen Reinhart has called it a “whatever-it-takes moment for large-scale, outside-the-box fiscal and monetary policies”.
Cool deal. We have some ideas too. Let’s have the government get the banksters off of the gravy train and print its own money.
The artificial barrier that makes monetary and fiscal authorities independent from each other has now been dismantled, with central bankers becoming (to a relative degree) subservient to elected politicians.
Wait — what? I find it difficult to believe that the authors don’t understand the tremendous power that central banks wield in politics. Schwab himself was on the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group; he should know how it rolls. This is one of several instances in which Covid-19: The Great Reset depicts a Blue Pilled understanding of how things work. Were they being serious?
Then it discusses the possibility of hyperinflation, which indeed is a risk. It considers deflationary pressures. Then the book predicts the US dollar will lose its status as a reserve currency.
The “societal reset” subsection predicts that “many governments will be taken to task, with a lot of anger directed at those policy-makers and political figures. . .” That much seems correct; if the public figured out how much they’ve been manipulated, there’d be hell to pay.
Early on, it points out inequalities. Many white-collar workers can telecommute, but few blue-collar workers can. Then there’s also a racial angle, for example:
In America as in many other countries, African Americans are poorer, more likely to be unemployed or underemployed and victims of substandard housing and living conditions. As a result, they suffer more from pre-existing health conditions like obesity, heart disease or diabetes that make COVID-19 particularly deadly.
It’s touching that the World Economic Forum cares so much about our urban problems, but I’m curious as to which of these many other countries have large expatriate African American populations suffering likewise. Anyway, the unemployed should be at lower risk of catching anything, since they can kick back at home all day, unless of course they like to attend riots. Moreover, it’s unclear how living in a bad neighborhood causes obesity and its side effects. (In developing countries, poverty instead is associated with malnutrition.) Finally, the housing and living conditions were just fine in most of these neighborhoods until the blacks moved in and forced out everyone else.
It predicts “at least in the short term, that the inequalities are likely to increase.” (Sorry, proletarians.) However, the long-term picture could be different:
In the future, will society accept that a star hedge fund manager who specializes in short-selling (whose contribution to economic and social welfare is doubtful, at best) can receive an income in the millions per year while a nurse (whose contribution to social welfare is incontrovertible) earns an infinitesimal fraction of that amount?
Did Klaus Schwab just diss George Soros? Well, that sounds more like kayfabe to me. Anyway, there seems something disingenuous about limousine leftists tut-tutting about the lot of the common man, when they’re taking a break from sipping cognac with members of the exploiter class who profiteered from this mess.
More interesting times
The next sub-subsection predicts social unrest. (Could Robespierre be returning? Uh oh!) Then it discusses the BLM eruption.
We do not know how the Black Lives Matter movement will evolve and, if it persists, what form it will take. However, indications show it is turning into something broader than race-specific issues. The protests against systemic racism have led to more general calls about economic justice and inclusiveness.
That shouldn’t be a big deal; these are just more Leftists who think they’re fighting The System but actually are doing its bidding, part of the “both halves against the middle” dialectic. BLM gets their funding from huge foundations, benefit from favorable media coverage, and the law won’t touch them — such rebels!
After that it predicts the return of big government. This will involve high taxes, of course. Interesting; it looks like it’s going to be not just “borrow and spend” but “tax and spend” too. There wasn’t any discussion about curtailing tax loopholes for very wealthy individuals or outright chicanery by their corporations. Therefore, it’s a fair bet that the middle class will be expected to bear the burden, perhaps until there isn’t any more middle class.
Then it predicts that governments will increase in power relative to markets. The idea that the state and big business are rival powers is very outmoded by now, and the World Economic Forum should know how entangled they are. Top politicians and top CEOs have been in bed together for a very long time.
For the first time since Margaret Thatcher captured the zeitgeist of an era when declaring that “there is no such thing as society”, governments have the upper hand.
Now that’s a whopper! So where does the public fit into that equation?
After that, it discusses the social contract. This isn’t the “Rousseau 101” version, but something more expansive:
Broadly defined, the “social contract” refers to the (often implicit) set of arrangements and expectations that govern the relations between individuals and institutions.
The analysis indicates that rising prices concerning housing, healthcare, and education are leading to a lack of confidence in the social contract, and then in leaders and institutions.
In some countries, this widespread exasperation has taken the form of peaceful or violent demonstrations; in others, it has led to electoral victories for populist and extremist parties.
Oh, is that all it’s about?
In brief, it proposes more prioritization of the social safety net and more worker protections. It predicts also that people will demand higher taxes for better healthcare. Then it hints that liberties and freedom might be on the chopping block.
There is currently growing concern that the fight against this pandemic and future ones will lead to the creation of permanent surveillance societies.
You think so?
Already the millennials (at least in the Western world) are worse off than their parents in terms of earnings, assets and wealth. They are less likely to own a home or have children than their parents were. Now, another generation (Gen Z) is entering a system that it sees as failing and that will be beset by long-standing problems revealed and exacerbated by the pandemic.
Weren’t the authors earlier discussing an initiative to roll back the economy? Isn’t all that misery “progress” then? It predicts that the youth, concerned about “issues as diverse as climate change, economic reforms, gender equality and LGBTQ rights” is the future vanguard that “will be the catalyst for change and a source of critical momentum for the Great Reset.” Sweet!
Geopolitics is the next topic. It blames nationalism for making the Covid-19 problem worse (which I refuted earlier). Then it quotes the Australian politician Kevin Rudd:
The chaotic nature of national and global responses to the pandemic thus stands as a warning of what could come on an even broader scale.
The obvious implication is that we need more globalism. It predicts the decline of the USA as a superpower, leading to instability around the world.
Unless individual nations and international organizations succeed in finding solutions to better collaborate at the global level, we risk entering an “age of entropy” in which retrenchment, fragmentation, anger and parochialism will increasingly define our global landscape, making it less intelligible and more disorderly.
Translation: we’d better have more globalism, or else! It states that globalization of production “has succeeded in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty” (ask the people in the USA’s rust belt or Britain’s deindustrialized regions about that one) but laments that “it has been called into question and even started to recede.”
It does recognize that “economic globalization, political democracy, and the nation-state are mutually irreconcilable,” and there can be two but not all three.
I’ll go one step further: a worldwide democracy (no nation-states) would be unworkable, since it would attempt to bind together several societies that have nothing to do with each other, and sometimes are mutually antagonistic. There’s no way to make everyone happy in such an arrangement. As for the First World, we’d end up being ruled by people who hate us or want to grab our resources.
It gets worse
The book predicts that Covid-19 will lead to further backlash against globalization. A compromise position may occur, in which nearby countries increasingly export to each other in regionalized trade blocs. (For example, American corporations might move their factories from China to Mexico. Anywhere but back home, right?) It warns:
A hasty retreat from globalization would entail trade and currency wars, damaging every country’s economy, provoking social havoc and triggering ethno- or clan nationalism.
The solution is “improved global governance,” of course. Another dire warning:
There is no time to waste. If we do not improve the functioning and legitimacy of our global institutions, the world will soon become unmanageable and very dangerous.
I beg to differ. The globalist régime doesn’t have legitimacy. The book discusses global governance fairly glowingly, as one might expect.
The more nationalism and isolationism pervade the global polity, the greater the chance that global governance loses its relevance and becomes ineffective. Sadly, we are now at this critical juncture. Put bluntly, we live in a world in which nobody is really in charge.
They must be smoking some pretty potent weed over there in Davos. The clear context of what they find saddening is that nobody is really in charge of the entire world. Then it blames Covid-19 on the failure of global governance.
Instead of triggering a set of measures coordinated globally, COVID-19 led to the opposite: a stream of border closures, restrictions in international travel and trade introduced almost without any coordination. . .
I beg to differ. Closing the borders would’ve worked, but the usual suspects were resisting it tooth and nail and (of course) calling the idea “racist.” By the time decisive measures occurred, it was already too late to contain it. The international health infrastructure does exist, but failed to make the right decisions.
Then it details the prognosis of future conflict between the USA and China. Other than that, parts of the Third World (particularly those which already are unstable) will face greater challenges. Then it discusses potential impacts on the environment. Much is noncommittal, tenacious, or conjectural; however:
Another narrative has also emerged, elaborated by some national leaders, senior business executives and prominent opinion-makers. It runs along these lines that the COVID-19 crisis cannot go to waste and that now is the time to enact sustainable environmental policies.
This means they’ll start by selling their private jets and trading their limos and yachts for bikes and sailboats, right? Anyway, I’m a tree-hugger too, but I’m going to be wary until I see some specifics.
The next prediction is that the Great Reset will accelerate technological changes already underway.
It will also accentuate one of the greatest societal and individual challenges posed by tech: privacy. We will see how contact tracing has an unequalled capacity and a quasi-essential place in the armoury needed to combat COVID-19, while at the same time being positioned to become an enabler of mass surveillance.
Lots of other changes are underway, or likely to be. For one example — and it sucks to be you if that’s your job:
In 2016, two academics from Oxford University came to the conclusion that up to 86% of jobs in restaurants, 75% of jobs in retail and 59% of jobs in entertainment could be automatized by 2035.
Then it discusses contact tracking and tracing via GPS, cell tower location, and Bluetooth.
The most effective form of tracking or tracing is obviously the one powered by technology: it not only allows backtracking all the contacts with whom the user of a mobile phone has been in touch, but also tracking the user’s real-time movements, which in turn affords the possibility to better enforce a lockdown and to warn other mobile users in the proximity of the carrier that they have been exposed to someone infected.
Then it does a deep dive into how that’s been implemented in certain Asian countries. It mentions an opt-in plan being developed by Apple and Google.
But voluntary contact-tracing apps have a problem: they do preserve the privacy of their users but are only effective when the level of participation is sufficiently high — a collective-action problem that underlines once again the profoundly interconnected nature of modern life beneath the individualist façade of rights and contractual obligations.
You knew that was coming, didn’t you? That’s only the beginning of the theme about giving up liberty for safety. Other than that, electronic spying may be coming to the workplace too, and might well stay for good:
The trend could take many different forms, from measuring body temperatures with thermal cameras to monitoring via an app how employees comply with social distancing.
If you already chafe at being monitored electronically at work, there’s more of it where it came from. The book predicts that we’ll just get used to it, like we got used to all the extra security theater after 9/11. Then it addresses the obvious concerns of critics, wrapping up with this:
Dystopian scenarios are not a fatality. It is true that in the post-pandemic era, personal health and well-being will become a much greater priority for society, which is why the genie of tech surveillance will not be put back into the bottle. But it is for those who govern and each of us personally to control and harness the benefits of technology without sacrificing our individual and collective values and freedoms.
Yeah, bud, they’ve got a great track record already. Mercifully, this concludes the long-winded first chapter.
Micro reset (industry and business)
The introduction forecasts big changes for business, and that things will never return to normal. (I rather figured it would say this.) First, it predicts that more things will be done online. That means more online shopping, that “Internet of Things” thing, telemedicine, remote classrooms, online banking, etc. Supply chains might be restructured for more resilience.
It also envisions greater intervention by government into business, leading to extra protections for workers and clipping the wings of overpaid CEOs. (I don’t find that objectionable if it works out that way. I’m not so optimistic for the USA; Congress knows who pays their “campaign contributions.”) Government will favor corporations over privately-held companies for contracts. There will be an initiative to make gig workers into employees with full benefits.
Then it discusses stakeholder capitalism as well as “environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations increasingly relevant to sustainable value creation (ESG can be considered as the yardstick for stakeholder capitalism).” That seems rather vague, though apparently a call for more “woke capital.” Just what we needed, right?
The pandemic struck at a time when many different issues, ranging from climate change activism and rising inequalities to gender diversity and #MeToo scandals, had already begun to raise awareness and heighten the criticality of stakeholder capitalism and ESG considerations in today’s interdependent world. Whether espoused openly or not, nobody would now deny that companies’ fundamental purpose can no longer simply be the unbridled pursuit of financial profit; it is now incumbent upon them to serve all their stakeholders, not only those who hold shares.
Then it describes changes to industries. For one thing, those involving entertainment and social interaction will be impacted:
In modern economies, a large amount of what we consume happens through social interaction: travel and vacations, bars and restaurants, sporting events and retail, cinemas and theatres, concerts and festivals, conventions and conferences, museums and libraries, education: they all correspond to social forms of consumption that represent a significant portion of total economic activity and employment (services represent about 80% of total jobs in the US, most of which are “social” by nature).
For the longest time, the proles were told that it’s no biggie that manufacturing jobs are being shipped overseas; boy howdy, we’re gonna be a service economy! Now that the politicians have us locked down, what the hell are we supposed to do? (If Schwab had a waxed mustache, I could imagine him twirling it.) This, of course, goes on until everyone gets vaxxed up.
In France and the UK, several industry voices estimate that up to 75% of independent restaurants might not survive the lockdowns and subsequent social-distancing measures. The large chains and fast-food giants will. This in turn suggests that big businesses will get bigger while the smallest shrink or disappear.
The big global junk food chains, of course, will survive. Once again, the huge corporations win, and the little guy loses. (Remembering all those lovely restaurants and patisseries in Paris, this really fries me off.) Finally, the travel industry is hard hit.
The book predicts that lockdown habits may continue, meaning more online shopping and more deliveries. Stores will be fewer and smaller. People will stay home more. The real estate industry is likely to suffer. Distance learning may gain popularity. As for resilience:
For those fortunate enough to find themselves in industries “naturally” resilient to the pandemic, the crisis was not only more bearable, but even a source of profitable opportunities at a time of distress for the majority. Three industries in particular will flourish (in aggregate) in the post-pandemic era: big tech, health and wellness.
Some other forecastings follow; the environment comes up again.
The first subsection is “Redefining our humanness,” which seems rather odd coming from a Space Lizard. Another bit of irony — and I wish I was making up that part — is that Schwab’s earlier book The Fourth Industrial Revolution (Geneva: World Economic Forum: 2016) discusses cyborg technology. One item involves implanting microchips that can act as cell phones and even read minds. Yes, really. At the beginning of the appendix, it says:
Smart tattoos and other unique chips could help with identification and location. Implanted devices will likely also help to communicate thoughts normally expressed verbally through a “built-in” smart phone, and potentially unexpressed thoughts or moods by reading brainwaves and other signals.
I’m pretty sure I know what he means by “identification and location.” (Did I mention that this stuff sounds like dystopian literature dipped in hot fudge?) Other than that, wouldn’t the 5G microwave radiation from an antenna implanted under the skin hurt like hell? I’d rather not have my humanness get redefined into the Borg Collective, thank you very much.
Anyway, back to the last chewy bites of the 28.92 centimeter long globaloney sandwich. It praises lockdowns for increased togetherness. However, mistrust is a risk. Backed by some psychobabble, it also warns of “conspiracy theories and the propagation of rumors, fake news, mistruths, and other pernicious ideas.” Also:
Our attachment to those close to us strengthens, with a renewed sense of appreciation for all those we love: family and friends. But there is a darker side to this. It also triggers a rise in patriotic and nationalist sentiments, with troubling religious and ethnic considerations also coming into the picture.
It warns that we must “confront our existential challenges (the environment and the global governance free fall, among others)” as there is no viable alternative. Then it waxes a bit philosophical:
Common good is that which benefits society as a whole, but how do we decide collectively what is best for us as a community?
He’s starting to sound like one of the bad guys in an Ayn Rand novel. This leads to ethical and political dimensions and so forth. Then it covers mental health; by its reckoning, the public already was pretty cray-cray. Naturally, the Wuhanic Plague made things worse with the anxiety and isolation and so forth. Domestic violence is increasing. Video conferencing helps alleviate isolation, but only partially. We may have to change priorities. Renewed creativity might be a positive consequence for some. Perception of time might begin to alter during continued lockdowns. All told, I’ll have to concur that it’s a pretty efficient way to generate stress across the entire public.
Our consumption patterns may change too.
Heightened awareness of and acute concerns about inequality, combined with the realization that the threat of social unrest is real, immediate and on our doorstep, might have the same effect.
If this means the end of pointless consumerism, I won’t miss it. (Anyway, I’ll expect Schwab to tell his champagne socialist buddies to trim their lavish lifestyles at the next Davos convention.) Finally, we may seek more solace in nature. If that happens in the future he envisions, hopefully we won’t get bugged by a spam call to the cell phone circuitry implanted in our heads as we stroll through the forest.
The last morsel
The conclusion reminds us of the pre-existing conditions:
Rising inequalities, a widespread sense of unfairness, deepening geopolitical divides, political polarization, rising public deficits and high levels of debt, ineffective or non-existent global governance, excessive financialization, environmental degradation: these are some of the major challenges that existed before the pandemic.
What to do?
To avoid such a fate, without delay we need to set in motion the Great Reset. This is not a “nice-to-have” but an absolute necessity.
Then he brings up the George Floyd business again, really showing his concern for the colored folk, all the way from his stately pleasure-dome in Davos. For example:
Would pointing out to them that on “average” their lot is better today than in the past have appeased their anger? Of course not! What matters to African Americans is their situation today, not how much their condition has “improved” compared to 150 years ago when many of their ancestors lived in slavery (it was abolished in the US in 1865), or even 50 years ago when marrying a white American was illegal (interracial marriage only became legal in all states in 1967).
Missing from the discussion is any concern that the rioters gathered together might be infecting each other. (When the “peaceful protesters” weren’t dispersed for this reason, or even reprimanded for it, I became further aware that The Narrative was pretty fishy.) I’ll add that there would be a lot less racial tension if not for all the agitation that’s been happening for a very long time. Winding up, it stresses the need for more international cooperation and environmental protection.
This Globaloney Hoagie Special tastes funny; can we get our money back?
What’s the final word on Covid-19: The Great Reset? Other than being long-winded and dreary, it’s a rather odd book. There are overestimates, underestimates, and sometimes hedging the bet by predicting both sides of outcomes. All the points and counterpoints and vacillations also make it rather hard to pin down sometimes. There’s surprising frankness in some places, apparent naivety in others, and large curds of bloviating in between.
Still, some patterns emerge. One might guess that on the planet where the World Economic Forum comes from, it seems that money grows on trees, centralizing decision-making on a worldwide scale brings great results, micromanagement by large bureaucracies serves the public wonderfully, and (most especially) all governments are benevolent. Therefore, a New World Order would be super, so long as the Space Lizards are in charge.
Throughout the book, there are lots of comparisons to the medieval Black Death and the 1918 Spanish Flu. However, Covid-19 isn’t even in the same ballpark, not even close. (At the end, it even admits that.) The problem is that the comparisons are disingenuous. It’s indeed a nasty virus, but it’s been greatly overstated with numbers games such as misrepresenting causes of death. Obviously, the scarum-shouting has been to the advantage of a small number of megacorporations that profited tremendously while their smaller competitors suffered or went out of business. Moreover, it’s awfully convenient for those desiring to use emergency conditions to push global governance schemes, more electronic surveillance and domestic spying, etc.
The common theme, of course, is that the extremely wealthy and powerful win and the peasants lose. That’s just how the cookie crumbles, despite stated concern for rising inequality. On that note, some other World Economic Forum writings seem rather like candy-coated Orwell, or cyberpunk without a plot. These are the people who want us to eat insects and weeds and drink sewage. (That’s hardly even the worst of it.) In the wonderful future to come, will all the billionaires and their toadies also be expected to live in pods, eat bugs, and coom? I think we all know the answer.
Lastly, Covid-19: The Great Reset makes a lot of policy proposals, but the majority concerns predictions without specific recommendations. Is my cynicism about that much just a matter of blaming the messenger? The problem is that the World Economic Forum and its founder are influential enough to get the attention of certain politicians who got more excited about the Great Reset than if they’d chugged a Viagra smoothie. That’s why it’s important to expose The Narrative before it becomes The Agenda. As the saying goes, sunlight is the best disinfectant.
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