by Norman Lewis
Norman Lewis is a writer, speaker and consultant on
innovation and technology, was most recently a Director
at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, where he set up and led their
crowdsourced innovation service.
Founder of World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab
during a session at the 50th annual meeting
vision for the future isn't a conspiracy, but a disingenuous,
dishonest manifesto from an unelected ruling class. The virus
has vindicated the national state and the need for ordinary
people to be part of the solutions.
This week, the
Reset" has been trending on social media.
For those not
obsessed with such forums, the "Great Reset" is the title of a
manifesto for worldwide social change in the post-COVID world,
Klaus Schwab, the founder and director of the
World Economic Forum (WEF).
Reset" is an important manifesto.
It articulates a vision of how
the global elite see the future, and in particular, how they are
seizing the opportunity presented by the COVID-19 pandemic - a
world that will, apparently, "never" return to normal - to
remake society in their image.
It's an idea
that's been seized on by 'progressive' politicians and leaders
everywhere, from Canada's
Justin Trudeau to Britain's
On the surface,
this might appear reasonable.
After all, the
challenges of the post-COVID world are certainly going to be huge.
The economic fallout of the global lockdown, never mind the social
consequences of mass unemployment and global poverty, will be
unprecedented in world history.
Reset" is sophistry and dishonesty on an unprecedented level.
responsible, it may be asked, for creating yesterday's problematic
'normal' to which we will supposedly never return?
Of course, these
difficulties have nothing to do with the billionaires, political
leaders, captains of industry and top regulators who swan around
Davos each year, pontificating over oysters and champagne about the
world's problems, from which they benefit most.
And the idea of a
'reset' is at best disingenuous.
that the global economy and society was basically functioning OK
That it simply
requires a reboot, like switching a computer off and on again.
This glosses over
the reality, which is this:
that the world
economy and global society were in a sickly state before
COVID-19, and now, being even more dependent on unprecedented
state bailouts, which will take generations to repay, are in a
still more parlous state.
underestimates the scale of the economic wreckage we face, the
overhaul required, and the real barriers to the future.
The "Great Reset"
vision from the WEF, presented as eight projections for 2030
(below video), reveals how disconnected these
people are from reality:
Its tone is that of the hectoring
schoolmaster who knows what's best for the children, and tolerates
This is not a
dialogue but a lecture we need to accept without question.
Here they are:
nothing and be happy'
everything we'll need, and it will be delivered by drone.
Does this mean we won't even own our ability to sell
we're renting this and everything else, who are we
renting it from?
from those who own everything, who doubtless will be much
happier than we will be.
take longer than that to get regulatory permission agreed,
given how risk averse both industry and governments have
won't be the only world's leading power
of countries will dominate.
This is a
nice way of avoiding the obvious point that in a bipolar or
multipolar world - the USA vs. China vs. the EU vs. Russia -
global decision-making is going to be even more elusive and
tricky, not less.
post-COVID world, autarkical tendencies, not cooperation,
pose a threat to any notions of harmonious global
governance, let alone coordination.
point I'll return to below.
die waiting for an organ donor
will be a thing of the past. New organs will be printed
This is a
lovely notion and would be very welcome. But there's the
pesky problem of a health system that can hardly cope with
seasonal flu and has had to be protected from treating ill
people by shutting down the entire economy.
this in 10 years will require the printing of more money
(which we haven't got), never mind organs.
become an occasional treat, not a staple, and we'll eat less
of it because it's good for the environment and our health.
like the 'choice' offered by state telecommunications
monopolies: you can have any phone you like as long as it's
Goodbye, freedom of choice.
people will be displaced by climate change
years, we're going to have to do a better job at welcoming
and integrating refugees.
mean we should be as welcoming as the EU, with its "Fortress
Or successive American governments'
benevolent border wall with Mexico?
they're referring to the Prince of Wales opening up
Buckingham Palace to refugees?
will have to pay to emit CO2
introduction of a global price on carbon with the aim of
making fossil fuels history is the holy grail being held out
parlous state of all state coffers as a result of COVID-19,
and the crisis of innovation, this idea is perhaps the most
fanciful of all.
be preparing to go to Mars
will have worked out how to keep us healthy in space, which
will herald the start of a journey to find alien life.
It might be
a good idea to start by trying to keep us healthy on earth,
especially dealing with all the post-COVID deaths, not from
the virus, but from postponed treatments and operations.
values will have been tested to breaking point
and balances that underpin our democracies must not be
this, they are surely not referring to the attempt to
overthrow the Brexit vote or Trump's election in 2016 by
an elite who didn't like these outcomes?
not suggesting that global unelected bodies such as the
United Nations or the World Health Organization should
take precedence over national democracies, even over
decisions as important as climate change?
want checks and balances on national governments, which
should accede to the 'truths' of unelected experts and
technocrats, rather than relying on their own citizens
to make decisions?
This "Great Reset"
is not that great after all.
Nor is it
offering anything new or, indeed, realizable...
Instead, it's a
rehashing of a globalist project that seeks to use the COVID crisis
prioritize the concerns and fantasies of the Elite, aiming to
cement their positions of wealth and power and usher in a new era of
The key point of
unreality in all this is that the pandemic has repudiated the
globalist assumptions underpinning this new utopia (or, rather,
vindicated the validity of the national state...
Only nation states
have had the authority to impose lockdowns and then provide - or, in
some countries, try to provide - emergency financial aid to
compensate businesses and families for the impact of the lockdown.
Contrary to the
views of the WEF, everything has not changed as a result of COVID.
The changes that
have happened have merely accelerated and crystallized earlier
The true state of affairs is clearer, namely,
once quipped that,
"No problem can
be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it".
The 'build back
better' notion at the heart of the "Great Reset" - indeed, all
government visions today - is a doomed project for this reason.
It is attempting to
sidestep the most important lesson of the pandemic:
that the future
is much more dependent on the public's willingness to embrace
disruptive change than on any concrete transformation program.
We are part of the
solution, not the object of elite largesse.
We want to own the
agenda, both now and in the future.
Anything less will
not make us happy, even as we order our groceries online, let alone
print out a new heart or two...