I’ll begin by addressing the elephant in the room. Isn’t the Great Reset simply a “conspiracy theory” concocted by “rightwing extremists?” According to the New York Times and the Anti-Defamation League, the Great Reset has no basis in fact. Or, as the BBC claims, the Great Reset is a benign effort on the part of “leading thinkers” to bring about “a fairer, greener future,” based on a reset of capitalism. Meanwhile, Time devoted an issue to the Great Reset, effectively hailing it as the solution to all our problems post-covid.
Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), suggests that the Great Reset is merely an attempt to address the weaknesses of capitalism exposed by the covid crisis, as well as the looming catastrophes posed by unmitigated climate change and environmental degradation.
I don’t mean to suggest that the truth lies somewhere between denial and conspiracy. Rather, I want to make clear just what the Great Reset entails, according to its architects and subscribers. I rely on the claims of Klaus Schwab and his WEF contributors, the WEF’s partnerships, developments in the U.S. and around the world, and on the implications that can be reasonably drawn from proposals and their implementation. In the process, I also mean to show how the Great Reset idea generates “conspiracy theories,” as if spontaneously.
Before grappling with the main components of the Great Reset, a brief history of the idea is in order. Although its philosophical roots go much deeper, the Great Reset can be traced to the inception of the World Economic Forum, founded as the European Management Forum in 1971. In the same year, Klaus Schwab, an engineer and economist by training, published his first book, Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering. Here, Schwab first introduced what he would later call “stakeholder capitalism,” arguing, as the WEF website notes, “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 multistakeholder concept ever since. The WEF is the source for the stakeholder and the public-private partnership (PPP) rhetoric and policies embraced by governments, corporations, NGOs, civil society organizations, and international governance bodies worldwide. PPPs have played a key role in the response to the covid crisis and are instrumental in the response to the supposed climate change crisis.
The exact phrase, “the Great Reset,” came into circulation in 2010 with the publication of the book, The Great Reset, by the American Urban Studies theorist Richard Florida.
At the WEF annual meeting in 2014, Schwab declared: “What we want to do in Davos this year … is to push the reset button.” By this he referred to an imaginary reset button on the world economic system of “neoliberal” capitalism. A graphic depiction of a reset button would later appear on the WEF’s website. In 2017, the WEF published a paper entitled, “We need to reset the global operating system to achieve the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals]” of the United Nations (UN).
Next, the WEF organized two events that eerily anticipated covid-19, which became the primary inspiration for the Great Reset project. In May 2018, the WEF collaborated with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security to conduct the CLADE X Exercise, a simulation of a national response to a pandemic. The exercise simulated the outbreak of CLADE X, a novel strain of a human parainfluenza virus with genetic elements of the Nipah virus. According to Homeland Preparedness News, the CLADE X simulation demonstrated that “[t]he lack of both a protective vaccine and a proactive worldwide plan for tackling the spread of a catastrophic global pandemic resulted in the death of 150 million people across the Earth.”Clearly, preparation for a global pandemic was in order.
A little over a year later, in October 2019, the WEF’s uncanny prescience was again on display, only this time with greater precision. Along with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the WEF teamed up with Johns Hopkins University again to stage another pandemic exercise, called Event 201. Event 201 simulated the international response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus—two months before the covid-19 outbreak became international news and five months before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic. The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security’s summary of the exercise closely resembles the actual covid-19 scenario, including apparent foreknowledge of so-called asymptomatic spread.
The CLADE X and Event 201 simulations anticipated practically every eventuality of the covid crisis, notably the responses by governments, health agencies, conventional media, social media, and elements of the public. The simulated 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” and “disinformation,” the flooding of social and legacy media with “authoritative sources,” widespread riots, and mass unemployment. All of this took place as part of the covid crisis.
These premonitory exercises and other covid curiosities have contributed to the “plandemic” narrative—speculation that the covid-19 crisis may have been staged by global elites centered around the WEF as an alibi for initiating the Great Reset. In addition to the pandemic exercise just referenced, Swiss Policy Research points to the WEF’s role in promoting digital biometric identity systems, thrusting its Young Global Leaders into major roles in the management of the covid crisis, and advocating the vaccination of children as “an entry point for digital identification.”
On June 13, 2019, the WEF signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the UN to form a partnership centered on advancing the UN “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” The WEF published the “United Nations-World Economic Forum Strategic Partnership Framework for the 2030 Agenda” shortly thereafter. The WEF promised to help “finance” the UN’s climate change agenda. The framework also commits the WEF to helping the UN “meet the needs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” including providing assets and expertise for “digital governance.” Agenda 2030 appears to have been tailor-made to accommodate the UN-WEF partnership. It adopts the stakeholder concept introduced by Schwab decades before. The word “stakeholders” is used no less than thirteen times in the 2030 resolution. The Great Reset, then, may be understood, in part, as the WEF’s contribution to meeting the sustainable development goals of Agenda 2030.
In June 2020, the WEF held its Great Reset summit as the fifty-first annual meeting of the World Economic Forum—delayed and refocused due to the covid crisis—and announced the Great Reset’s official launch.
Just months into the covid crisis, on July 19, 2020, and a mere month after the annual meeting, Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret published Covid 19: the Great Reset. Steve Umbrello, the Managing Director at the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies at the University of Turin, wrote in his academic review of the manifesto:
Although not impossible, the speed at which a book on this particular topic, proposing these theses, was produced[,] does play into the conspiratorial aesthetic that the book has since induced. Even though the authors are transparent about writing and publishing the book within a month’s time, this neither confirms the veracity of such claims nor dispels suspicion from those who question its expediency.
The short interval between the WHO’s declaration of a pandemic and the book’s publication is not the only factor that has fed “the conspiratorial aesthetic” surrounding the Great Reset. Schwab’s writing with Malleret and other WEF statements have stoked the speculations. The co-authors declare, without apparent regret or shame, that covid-19 represents an “opportunity [that] can be seized,” and “we should take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity to reimagine our world,” and “the moment must be seized to take advantage of this unique window of opportunity,” and “[f]or these companies the pandemic is a unique opportunity to rethink their organization and enact positive, sustainable and lasting change,” and “[f]or those fortunate enough to find themselves in industries ‘naturally’ resilient to the pandemic [like Big Digital Tech], the crisis was not only more bearable, but even a source of profitable opportunities at a time of distress for the majority.” This last sentence may be suggestive of the Great Reset’s overall plan.
The Great Reset combines resets in all conceivable domains of human life: economic, environmental, geopolitical, governmental, industrial, technological, social, and individual.
The Great Reset ushers in a bewildering economic amalgam, what I’ve called “corporate socialism” and “capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” or what Giorgio Agamben later called “communist capitalism.” Schwab and company euphemistically call this system “stakeholder capitalism.”
Stakeholder capitalism involves the behavioral modification of corporations to benefit “stakeholders.” A stakeholder is anyone or any group that stands to benefit or lose from corporate behavior—other than competitors.
Stakeholder capitalism includes not only corporate responses to ecological issues such as climate change, “but also rethinking their [corporations’] commitments to already-vulnerable communities within their ecosystems.” This is the “social justice” aspect of stakeholder capitalism and the Great Reset. Governments, banks, and asset managers use the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) index to squeeze non-woke players out of the market. The ESG index is essentially a social credit score for rating corporations. Using the ESG index, the collectivist planners drive ownership and control of production away from the non-compliant.
One of the WEF’s many “strategic partners,” BlackRock, Inc., the world’s largest asset manager, is solidly behind the stakeholder model of the Great Reset program. In a 2021 letter to CEOs, BlackRock’s 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.” Fink states that the pandemic 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 (emphasis mine).
Fink’s letter is more than a report to CEOs. It is an implicit threat: go woke or go broke. In thus throwing down the stakeholder gauntlet, Fink echoed the menacing words of Klaus Schwab: “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate. Every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a ‘Great Reset’ of capitalism,” wrote Schwab in June 2020.
But unlike Schwab’s admonitions, Fink’s dictum of “go woke or go broke” should not be dismissed as the conspiratorial rantings of Dr. Evil. Fink has at least 10 trillion dollars in capital behind him. Fink and company carry out what Schwab and the WEF have mostly promoted with propaganda and urgent recommendations—although, as evidenced by Fink’s advocacy, that propaganda and those urgent recommendations have proven quite successful.
Meanwhile, investment according to the ESG index has gained the force of law in the U.S., with the Biden administration’s “U.S. Climate-Related Financial Risk: Executive Order 14030],” along with a dozen or more other climate change EOs. And Biden used his first veto to block the repeal of a Labor Department rule that permitted retirement investing tied to ESG goals, thus leaving in place ESG investing in federal retirement plans.
Schwab and Malleret pit “stakeholder capitalism” against “neoliberalism,” which they define as “a corpus of ideas and policies … favouring competition over solidarity, creative destruction over government intervention and economic growth over social welfare.” That is, “neoliberalism” refers to what is otherwise known as the free market. Stakeholder capitalism is thus opposed to the free enterprise system. It means not only corporate cooperation with the state and NGOs but also vastly increased government intervention in the economy. Schwab and Malleret promote “the return of ‘big’ government,” as if it ever retreated: If “the past five centuries in Europe and America” have taught us anything, they assert, it is that “acute crises contribute to boosting the power of the state. It’s always been the case and there is no reason why it should be different with the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Schwab and company erect the strawman of neoliberalism as the source of our economic woes. But the governmental favoring of industries and players within industries, or corporatism, otherwise known as economic fascism, and not fair and free competition, has been the real source of what Schwab and his ilk apparently decry. The Great Reset vastly increases corporatism or economic fascism.
While approved corporate stakeholders are not necessarily monopolies, the tendency of the Great Reset is toward shared monopolization—vesting as much control over production and distribution in these favored corporations as possible, while eliminating industries and producers deemed either unnecessary or inimical. I call the beneficiaries of this shared monopoly scheme the woke cartel.
Unsurprisingly, stakeholder capitalism has been seen as a new approach to achieving socialism, even by socialists. As I’ve suggested, stakeholder capitalism tends toward “corporate socialism,” or “capitalism with Chinese characteristics,” two ways of understanding the overall economics of the Great Reset.
Antony C. Sutton, the late historian and Hoover Institute scholar, described corporate socialism as follows:
Old John D. Rockefeller and his 19th century fellow capitalists were convinced of one absolute truth: that no great monetary wealth could be accumulated under the impartial rules of a competitive laissez faire society. The only sure road to the acquisition of massive wealth was monopoly: drive out your competitors, reduce competition, eliminate laissez-faire, and above all get state protection for your industry through compliant politicians and government regulation. This last avenue yields a legal monopoly, and a legal monopoly always leads to wealth.
This robber baron schema is also … the socialist plan. The difference between a corporate state monopoly and a socialist state monopoly is essentially only the identity of the group controlling the power structure…We call this phenomenon of corporate legal monopoly—market control acquired by using political influence—by the name of corporate socialism (emphasis mine).
The corporate-socialist tendency is toward a two-tiered economy, with monopolies and the state on top, and “actually existing socialism” for the majority below. “Actually existing socialism” is socialism as it really is, as opposed to how Marx and his epigones claimed it would be.
“Capitalism with Chinese characteristics” is a play on the Chinese Communist Party’s description of its economic system. According to the party, the growing privatization of the Chinese economy was to be a temporary phase—lasting a hundred years if necessary(!)—on the way to a classless society of full socialism-communism. The party leaders claimed, and still maintain, that socialism with Chinese characteristics is necessary in China’s case because China was a “backward” agrarian country when socialism was introduced—too early, it was suggested. China needed a capitalist booster shot.
Stripped of its socialist ideological pretensions, socialism with Chinese characteristics, or the Chinese system itself, amounts to a socialist or communist state increasingly funded by “capitalist” economic development.
The Great Reset represents the development of the Chinese system in the West, only in reverse. Whereas the Chinese political class began with a socialist economic and political system and introduced privately held for-profit production later, the West began with a degree of capitalism and is implementing a socialist political system now. It’s as if the Western oligarchy looked to the “socialism” on display in China, and said, “yes, we want it.”
This is attested to by Maurice Strong, the late environmentalist, United Nations Undersecretary, first executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), WEF Foundation Board member, and avowed socialist. In an interview with The Guardian, Strong averred:
We know that pure capitalism hasn’t worked. In China, they have used their system – which they call a socialist market economy – quite well to achieve their objectives…They have learned how to use the methods of capitalism to meet their own goals of socialism (emphasis mine).
The corporate stakeholder model of the Great Reset spills into its governance and geopolitical model: states and favored corporations in “public-private partnerships” in control of governance. The configuration yields a corporate-state hybrid largely unaccountable to the constituents of national governments.
The cozy relationship between multinational corporations and governments has even aroused the scorn of a few leftists. Some note that the UN-WEF partnership and the governance model of the WEF represent the privatization of the UN’s Agenda 2030, with the WEF bringing corporate partners, money, and supposed expertise on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4-IR) to the table. And the WEF’s governance model extends well beyond the UN, affecting the constitution and behavior of governments worldwide. This usurpation has led political scientist Ivan Wecke to call the WEF’s governmental redesign of the world system “a corporate takeover of global governance.”
This is true, but the WEF model also represents the governmentalization of private industry. Under Schwab’s stakeholder capitalism and the multistakeholder governance model, 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. These include funding directed at “sustainable development” to the exclusion of the non-compliant, as well as the use of Big Data, AI, and 5G to monitor and control citizens. In the case of the covid vaccine regime, the state grants Big Pharma monopoly protection and indemnity from liability in exchange for a vehicle to expand its powers of coercion. As such, corporate stakeholders become what I have called “governmentalities”—otherwise “private” organizations wielded as state apparatuses, with no obligation to answer to pesky constituents. Since these corporations are multinational, the state essentially becomes global, 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 dystopic sci-fi novel. It is based on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4-IR). The 4-IR, we are told, follows the first, second, and third industrial revolutions—the mechanical, electrical, and digital, respectively. The 4-IR builds on the digital revolution, but Schwab sees the 4-IR as an exponential take-off and convergence of existing and emerging fields, including Big Data; artificial intelligence (AI); machine learning; quantum computing; and genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics (GNR). The consequence is the merging of the physical, digital, and biological worlds. The blurring of these categories ultimately challenges the very ontologies by which we understand ourselves and the world, including “what it means to be human.”
The specific applications include a ubiquitous Internet, the Internet of Things (IoT), the Internet of Bodies (IoB), autonomous vehicles, smart cities, robots, nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and more.
While Schwab promotes a particular vision for the 4-IR, there is nothing original about his formulations. Transhumanists and Singularitarians, such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, among others, forecasted these and more revolutionary developments, long before Schwab heralded them. The significance of Schwab’s and the WEF’s take on the new technological revolution is the attempt to harness it to a particular end, presumably “a fairer, greener future.”
But if existing 4-IR developments are any indication of the future, Schwab’s pronouncements represent euphemisms at best and doublespeak at worst. These developments already 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 and geofence police warrants based on user search engine inputs or untimely whereabouts; facial recognition software and other technologies that identify subjects by their gaits, breathing patterns, and irises; apps that track and trace covid or other pandemic-defying suspects, report violators to the police, and shut down their access to banking, transportation, and public life; robot police with QR code scanners to identify and round up the unvaccinated and other dissidents; and smart cities where everyone is a digital entity to be monitored, surveilled, and recorded, while data on their every move is collected, collated, stored, and attached to a digital identity and social credit score—to name a few of the panoptic manifestations of the 4-IR.
In short, 4-IR technologies subject human beings to a technological management that makes surveillance by the NSA look like child’s play. And Schwab lauds developments that connect brains directly to the cloud and enable the “data mining” of thought and memory, a technological mastery over decision-making that threatens autonomy and undermines any semblance of free will. The 4-IR accelerates the merging of humans and machines, resulting in a world in which all information, including genetic information, is shared, and every action, thought, and unconscious motivation is known, predicted, and possibly even precluded. Unless taken out of the hands of corporate-socialist technocrats, the 4-IR will constitute a virtual, 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 “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. In the age of covid, this organized loneliness manifested in lockdowns, masking, social distancing, and the exclusion of the “unvaccinated.” The “Alone Together” public service announcement, produced and circulated by the Ad Council in March of 2020, represented organized loneliness succinctly.
In Google Archipelago, I argued that leftist authoritarianism is the political ideology and modus operandi of what I call Big Digital, and that Big Digital is 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.
Conclusion: The Grand Refusal
As we have seen, the Great Reset is a multi-tentacled, many-headed hydra of mythical proportions. This monstrosity is entangling itself with every conceivable area of life. The Great Reset project has already reached into and altered the behavior of nearly every industry, multinational corporation, local and national government, and our personal lives. It harnesses the information technology and biotechnology sectors to establish a stranglehold on the entire world. The minute we cut off one head, another seems to grow in its place.
Thus, it might seem that the Great Reset is a fait accompli. But this is not the case. We can still stop this juggernaut in its tracks—if we act now. Although much water is already under the bridge, the project is still very much underway. The momentum is against us, but we still have time to avert the total disaster that is unfolding and to elude the manifold shackles of this global hegemon.
What can we do? I offer a nine-point plan of specific actions we can take.
Nine-Point Plan for Stopping the Great Reset
Refuse CBDC (Central Bank Digital currency).
Reject Internet of Bodies (IoB) technologies, the installation of devices in your body, the Metaverse, and transhumanism.
Refuse digital identity.
Practice the free market.
Reduce/eliminate dependence on the state.
Disengage, as much as possible, from establishment institutions, including most educational institutions.
Become or remain as entrepreneurial as possible.
Buy locally, from farmers’ markets, etc.
Establish parallel economies, currencies, and social networks.
Consider joining independent communities, such as freedom cells.
Divest from ESG stocks and electronically traded funds (ETFs) that include ESG-indexed stocks.
Remove money from ESG-reporting banks and avoid buying insurance from ESG-reporting insurance companies.
Put extreme pressure on government representatives to do the following:
protect national sovereignty and individual rights;
divest and disassociate from the World Economic Forum and all its tentacles;
withdraw from the UN and the World Health Organization;
withdraw state and other pensions from ESG-indexed stocks, withdrawing from ESG-investing asset managers such as BlackRock, Inc., State Street, and the Vanguard Group, among many others;
bring antitrust legislation against ESG investing.
8. Encourage the defection of elites from the globalist agenda.
Identify elites who might oppose the agenda for moral, ethical, or economic reasons and appeal to them by writing emails, letters, and by putting this nine-point plan (included in my book, The Great Reset and the Struggle for Liberty) into their hands.
9. Network with like-minded individuals and spread this plan digitally and analogically.
All in all, these steps are part of what I am calling the Grand Refusal. We can take as our inspiration for this Grand Refusal the iconic character of Howard Beale, from the classic Paddy Chayefsky movie, Network. Although he delivered his message through television, this newscaster gone rogue encouraged his viewers to turn off their televisions, to thrust open their windows, and to scream, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Although his viewers were framed by the rectangular boxes of their windows, which resembled TVs, and thus replicated Beale himself, Beale’s individual and collective viewers nevertheless issued a clarion call—to each other, and to the elites.
Like Beale’s, our Grand Refusal is both individual and collective, although it is not a call for revolution. It is a call to counter-revolution against the revolutionary schemes of the subversive elites, who mean to condemn us to total helplessness. These elites have subverted all systems of government, including democracy, and have instituted a worldwide prison for captives subjected to their machinations and the onslaught of perpetual gaslighting in the media.
This is not a drill. We really can’t take it anymore. If we do, we surrender our liberty and that of our descendants. Our Grand Refusal may not be issued in grandiose jeremiads like Beale’s. Nevertheless, we must declare and enact our insubordination. We seek to turn a tragedy-in-the-making into a comedy—that is, in Shakespearean terms, to restore order to the world through a cleansing of extreme wickedness in high places.
This is not a utopian scheme to counter another “utopian” one. We do not seek perfection but rather sanity—although, like Beale, we will surely be called insane. But we must not allow the elites and their minions to deter us with such epithets. We have a world to save.