COVID-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab & Thierry Malleret
COVID-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret, published in July 2020, is another piece of self-indulgent horse manure.
Like The Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is plainly written with observations and opinions in a neutral tone mostly without overtly pushing any agenda. Often, the arguments for and against a particular view are discussed but then no solutions are offered, which is useless if one merely considers the text at face value. In any case, given what else Schwab and the World Economic Forum (WEF) have said and published, it doesn’t take much to detect the subtleties of the message.
In short, due to the so-called pandemic, social inequalities, environmental issues and whatnot, the world has no choice but to “reset” in almost every respect to some green globalist-communist surveillance society.
The main text is about 190 pages with about 20 pages of notes and citations. The main text, excluding the “Introduction” and “Conclusion”, is organized into three chapters: “Macro Reset”, “Micro Reset” and “Individual Reset”.
The text really is waffle but if one is interested, below are some key paragraphs, not intended as a summary. Given the length, I could split this up but I prefer to keep the review as one. I have inserted a break in between each section so readers use it as a visual marker.
In the Introduction on p.11, the authors conveniently assume what is often called the “new normal”:
At the time of writing (June 2020), the pandemic continues to worsen globally. Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never.
And they also try to excuse lockdowns:
…there is nothing new about the confinement and lockdowns imposed upon much of the world to manage COVID-19. They have been common practice for centuries. The earliest forms of confinement came with the quarantines instituted in an effort to contain the Black Death that between 1347 and 1351 killed about a third of all Europeans.
Quarantines in the past somehow justify wholesale lockdowns today. Right.
One could simplistically consider the authors demand “The Great Reset” based on the above flawed assumptions, amongst others.
As a sidebar, Figure 1, the so-called chart that can be accessed on the WEF website is reproduced below. As mentioned in another article, this chart or map or bowl of spaghetti reveals these people’s minds work (or don’t work). It is true that everything is related to everything and it is difficult to map these things clearly, but these maps have no sense of hierarchy. I suspect this is by design to confuse and to look cool because complicated stuff makes the WEF look smart and we should let smart people who draw complicated diagrams run the world.
The first chapter “Macro Reset” is organized into 6 sub-chapters (each with its own sub-sub-chapters): “Conceptual framework”, “Societal reset”, “Economic reset”, “Geopolitical reset”, “Environmental reset” and “Technological reset”.
Regarding “Economic reset”, it mentions interest rates on p.31:
…wars trigger higher real interest rates, implying greater economic activity, while pandemics trigger lower real rates, implying sluggish economic activity.
That is not quite right. In the current debt-based economic system, higher interest rates mean the cost of borrowing is higher and will therefore ultimately reduce activity. Lower interest rates mean the cost of borrowing is lower and therefore might increase activity. Of course, it is rather convenient that nowhere in the text is the debt-based economic system explained and criticized despite all the virtue signalling regarding “inequality”.
As for “saving lives versus saving the economy” during the so-called pandemic, two considerations are mentioned on p.35:
On the supply side, if prematurely loosening the various restrictions and the rules of social distancing result in an acceleration of infection (which almost all scientists believe it would)…
This is another pro-lockdown statement. Notice it tries to make it sound like “almost all scientists” were pro-lockdown without actually stating it, just that they “believe” infection would accelerate without the restrictions. And do “almost all scientists” truly believe that?
The second consideration is that “[i]ndividuals’ perceptions of safety drive consumer and business decisions”. That is a reasonable observation but we’ve heard that before: anything can be justified if it’s to make you feel safe. And that thing to make you feel safe is the vaccine. On p.38:
The next hurdle is the political challenge of vaccinating enough people worldwide (we are collectively as strong as the weakest link) with a high enough compliance rate despite the rise of anti-vaxxers.
Note that the unvaccinated are weak and those who disagree are anti-vaxxers.
Not surprisingly, on p.45, the authors do not let us forget about the environment:
With the economic emergency responses to the pandemic now in place, the opportunity can be seized to make the kind of institutional changes and policy choices that will put economies on a new path towards a fairer, greener future.
As for “Societal reset”, on p.60, wealth redistribution seems to be key with the qualification “from the rich to the poor”. Communists said the same but we all know what they really mean is to destroy the middle-class (along with everything else).
It is of course much too early to depict with any degree of accuracy the form that the societal reset will take in different countries, but some of its broad global contours can already be delineated. First and foremost, the post-pandemic era will usher in a period of massive wealth redistribution, from the rich to the poor … Second, COVID-19 is likely to sound the death knell of neoliberalism, a corpus of ideas and policies that can loosely be defined as favouring competition over solidarity, creative destruction over government intervention and economic growth over social welfare. … These two concomitant forces – massive redistribution on the one hand and abandoning neoliberal policies on the other – will exert a defining impact on our societies’ organization, ranging from how inequalities could spur social unrest to the increasing role of governments and the redefinition of social contracts.
Note that this plandemic will spur social unrest which calls for more government action. How convenient. Also note that the above is for the “post-pandemic era”, in effect the response to the “disparities” that the plandemic has exacerbated.
On p.74, whilst it admits the “establishment” is lacking, it takes a not-so-subtle stab at other parties, labelling them as “populist and extremist”. But don’t worry: the solution is some updated version of the welfare state.
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. Whichever form it takes, in almost all cases, the establishment’s response has been left wanting – ill-prepared for the rebellion and out of ideas and policy levers to address the problem. Although they are complex, the policy solutions do exist and broadly consist in adapting the welfare state to today’s world by empowering people and by responding to the demands for a fairer social contract.
And let’s not forget the hot-button issues which some of the younger generation likes to jump on its corresponding bandwagon. On p.78, the text practically admits that these people will not doing it for the cause they have in mind:
Youth activism is increasing worldwide, being revolutionized by social media that increases mobilization to an extent that would have been impossible before. It takes many different forms, ranging from non-institutionalized political participation to demonstrations and protests, and addresses issues as diverse as climate change, economic reforms, gender equality and LGBTQ rights. The young generation is firmly at the vanguard of social change. There is little doubt that it will be the catalyst for change and a source of critical momentum for the Great Reset.
The tone generally suggests that “nationalism” is bad whereas “globalization” is also unworkable if taken far enough. It then suggests a middle-ground solution “regionalization”. This, of course, is based on a truckload of assumptions which is another discussion. That may sound reasonable to some but the paragraphs below betray the authors’ intentions. From p.80:
If no one power can enforce order, our world will suffer from a “global order deficit”. 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.
And on p.86:
In the coming years, it seems inevitable that some deglobalization will happen, spurred by the rise of nationalism and greater international fragmentation. There is no point in trying to restore the status quo ex ante (“hyper-globalization” has lost all its political and social capital, and defending it is no longer politically tenable) … The establishment of a much more inclusive and equitable form of globalization that makes it sustainable, both socially and environmentally, is the only viable way to manage retreat.
This will only come about through improved global governance – the most “natural” and effective mitigating factor against protectionist tendencies. … If we do not improve the functioning and legitimacy of our global institutions, the world will soon become unmanageable and very dangerous. There cannot be a lasting recovery without a global strategic framework of governance.
Oh wait, so we do need some “global institutions” after all… And in case one is still tempted to think the above is a reasonable version of globalization, the below which assumes “nationalism and isolationism” as automatically bad should do away with that.
The more nationalism and isolationism pervade the global polity, the greater the chance that global governance loses its relevance and becomes ineffective.
Regarding “Environmental reset”, the authors give the usual climate change spiel on p.105 about how human activity is all bad for the environment, even when it is agriculture, and there might be zoonotic diseases, blah blah blah.
Agriculture alone covers more than one-third of the terrestrial land surface and is the economic activity that disrupts nature the most. A recent academic review concludes that agriculture drivers are associated with more than 50% of zoonotic diseases. As human activities like agriculture (with many others like mining, logging or tourism) encroach on natural ecosystems, they break down the barriers between human populations and animals, creating the conditions for infectious diseases to emerge by spilling from animals to humans.
Although the authors admit that the lockdowns were “unprecedented and draconian” with its consequent reduction of greenhouse emissions, “the world economy kept emitting large amounts of carbon dioxide.” We can’t have that, so on p.108:
The considerable size and scope of the challenge can only be addressed by a combination of: 1) a radical and major systemic change in how we produce the energy we need to function; and 2) structural changes in our consumption behaviour.
And on p.114:
There is a strong case for acting more forcefully on spatial planning and land-use regulations, public finance and subsidy reform, innovation policies that help to drive expansion and deployment in addition to R&D, blended finance and better measurement of natural capital as a key economic asset.
None of the above explicitly advocates for restrictions or reductions but “radical and major systemic change” regarding energy and “acting more forcefully” on land-use sound like it. This is consistent to “smart cities” and “15-minute cities”.
As for “Technological reset”, as mentioned in The Fourth Industrial Revolution, “biotechnology” is one of the areas pushed. On p.116 in this book, vaccines are mentioned but there are other applications.
Biotechnology still falls short of stopping, let alone preventing, a disease outbreak, but recent innovations have allowed the identification and sequencing of the coronavirus’ genome much faster than in the past, as well as the elaboration of more effective diagnostics. In addition, the most recent biotechnology techniques using RNA and DNA platforms make it possible to develop vaccines faster than ever. They might also help with the development of new bioengineered treatments.
This whole sub-section waffles on about the benefits of technological advances during the plandemic. Two major points are mentioned.
The first is the rapid increase in the use of automation or robots to replace humans due to the lockdowns or other supposed health concerns. There is, of course, nothing wrong with automation in itself, but the flaw in the argument is that many of these advancements have been prevented due to willful stupidity, including the debt-based economic system preventing proper development. We don’t need one group of globalists causing problems just to have another group of globalists pretending to be saviors.
The second point is regarding the benefits of technology used for surveillance whilst possibly sacrificing privacy. The authors admit that once in place, surveillance tools are “likely to remain in place after the crisis” and that privacy will always be issue. And yet, after about 10 pages of pointing out the obvious, no solution is offered, just the following drivel as a conclusion:
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.
In other words, surveillance can be bad but we’re all for it anyway.
The second chapter “Micro reset” is organized into 2 sub-chapters (each with its own sub-sub-chapters): “Micro trends” and “Industry reset”.
On p.135, it lauds “telemedicine” and criticizes regulation as an obstacle to innovation. It is true that there is plenty of unnecessary bureaucracy but we don’t need the WEF to save us from that. Less regulation isn’t necessarily a good thing if compromised authorities and big pharma benefit.
For obvious reasons, healthcare is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, a fact that inevitably slows the pace of innovation. But the necessity to address the pandemic with any means available (plus, during the outbreak, the need to protect health workers by allowing them to work remotely) removed some of the regulatory and legislative impediments related to the adoption of telemedicine. In the future, it is certain that more medical care will be delivered remotely. It will in turn accelerate the trend towards more wearable and at-home diagnostics, like smart toilets capable of tracking health data and performing health analyses.
Not surprisingly, “wearable and at-home diagnostics” and even toilets tracking our health is a good thing. Rah!!!
It also goes on to laud online education like that’s automatically a good thing.
Equally, the pandemic may prove to be a boon for online education. In Asia, the shift to online education has been particularly notable, with a sharp increase in students’ digital enrolments, much higher valuation for online education businesses and more capital available for “ed-tech” start-ups. The flipside of this particular coin will be an increase in pressure on institutions offering more traditional methods of education…
On p.136, the authors predicted that the retail “giants” will survive. Well, up to a point, they conveniently did better than the small businesses but even now they have to layoff workers.
In the US, Amazon and Walmart hired a combined 250,000 workers to keep up with the increase in demand and built massive infrastructure to deliver online. This accelerating growth of e-commerce means that the giants of the online retail industry are likely to emerge from the crisis even stronger than they were in the pre-pandemic era.
There is a sub-sub-section dedicated to “environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations” because companies cannot not go woke or go more woke than before.
The chapter then goes on about how people will work from home, shop online from home, study from home, eat out less often and all that, thereby forcing both consumers and businesses to adapt. On p.149, for example, it subtly encourages doing things from home:
Consumers may be willing to pay a bit extra to have heavy and bulky products, like bottles and household goods, delivered to them. Supermarket retail space will therefore shrink, coming to resemble convenience stores where shoppers go to buy relatively small quantities of specific food products. But it could also be the case that less money will be spent in restaurants, suggesting that in places where a high percentage of people’s food budget traditionally went to restaurants (60% in New York City for example), these funds could be diverted to and benefit urban supermarkets as city dwellers rediscover the pleasure of cooking at home. The same phenomenon may happen with the entertainment business. The pandemic may increase our anxiety about sitting in an enclosed space with complete strangers, and many people may decide that staying home to watch the latest movie or opera is the wisest option.
In other words, under the pretext of health, environment and convenience, people should stay at or near their home. Doing things at home and reducing unnecessary travel is not a bad thing but we don’t need Klaus to tell us that. The above is consistent to “smart cities” and “15-minute cities” which is ultimately about control. In this case that isn’t clear, consider the below on p.156:
The combination of AI, the IoT and sensors and wearable technology will produce new insights into personal well-being. They will monitor how we are and feel, and will progressively blur the boundaries between public healthcare systems and personalized health creation systems – a distinction that will eventually break down. Streams of data in many separate domains ranging from our environments to our personal conditions will give us much greater control over our own health and well-being. In the post-COVID-19 world, precise information on our carbon footprints, our impact on biodiversity, on the toxicity of all the ingredients we consume and the environments or spatial contexts in which we evolve will generate significant progress in terms of our awareness of collective and individual well-being.
And then there is the (increased) control of money. On p.158:
COVID-19 has forced all the banks to accelerate a digital transformation that is now here to stay and that has intensified cybersecurity risks (which could in turn raise systemic stability implications if they are not properly mitigated).
The third chapter “Individual Reset” is organized into 3 sub-chapters (two with its own sub-sub-chapters): “Redefining our humanness”, “Mental health and well-being” and “Changing priorities”.
On p.162, the authors point out the obvious that suffering can bring out the best and worst in people. Although not overtly suggesting it as a method to utilize, they point out pandemics “generate a phenomenal amount of uncertainty”. One need not be a psychologist to see that this is one crucial step in psychological warfare and population control.
If history is any guide, natural disasters, like hurricanes and earthquakes, bring people together, while pandemics do the opposite: they drive them apart. The reason could be the following: confronted with a sudden, violent and often brief natural disaster, populations bond together and tend to recover relatively fast. By contrast, pandemics are longer-lasting, prolonged events that often elicit ongoing feelings of distrust (vis-à-vis others) rooted in a primal fear of dying. Psychologically, the most important consequence of the pandemic is to generate a phenomenal amount of uncertainty that often becomes a source of angst.
The next step is to provide that certainty. On p.163:
Psychologists tell us that cognitive closure often calls for black-and-white thinking and simplistic solutions – a terrain propitious for conspiracy theories and the propagation of rumours, fake news, mistruths and other pernicious ideas. In such a context, we look for leadership, authority and clarity, meaning that the question as to whom we trust (within our immediate community and among our leaders) becomes critical.
Note that “conspiracy theories” are bad. Whilst we’re at it, on p.164, “patriotic and nationalist sentiments” are bad too, not to mention “religious and ethnic considerations”.
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. In the end, this toxic mix gets the worst of us as a social group.
The text states it as an observation and does not explicitly state to get rid of it all but, given the tone, it may as well, which is consistent to the marxist mentality of destroying everything.
Klaus then craps on again about how a bad situation can bring out the best in some people. Again, he doesn’t explicitly state to create one deliberately but the tone certainly suggests he might not have a problem with it.
Amongst other things, he makes a point how something like a pandemic reminds people of the importance of nature. On p.184:
To improve our chances of resisting the virus, immunity must be boosted and inflammation suppressed. What part does nature play in this scenario? She is the leading lady, the science now tells us!
Trust the science! Rah!!!
Thanks for the reminder, Klaus… as if we needed you to tell us that. And in case one is tempted to think we should enjoy “just two hours spent in a forest” because it’s good for us, consider the below about how we should “reset” as individuals:
At the very least, the direction of the trend – less depredation, more sustainability – seems clear.
The reset for individuals: the pandemic has drawn our attention to the importance of nature. Going forward, paying more attention to our natural assets will progressively become paramount.
It’s not about us as people, it’s about “sustainability” because, as some say, green is the new red.
In the Conclusion, Klaus likes to use some rhetorical questions:
Will we get our global house in order? Simply put, will we put into motion the Great Reset? Resetting is an ambitious task, perhaps too ambitious, but we have no choice but to try our utmost to achieve it.
We have to do something… And who’s “we”? Humanity or the WEF?
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