I spent most of February and the first half of March 2020 banging away on my keyboard trying to wake up my fellow Australian residents to the risks of the coming COVID-19 pandemic so that through political self-interest elected politicians would enact policies necessary to protect those within the Australian borders and to help as best we can with international efforts. Events over Christmas 2020, with slow and incomplete responses by New South Wales to a potentially dangerous cluster and by the Commonwealth Government to potentially dangerous variants from the United Kingdom and South Africa, show that work will never be truly complete in this pandemic.
Early in the pandemic the Australian Prime Minister was following his natural ideologues in the US and UK in downplaying the risks. Even in mid-March Mr. Morrison was more interested in ensuring that we attend sporting events than prepare the country for what lay ahead.
This from my “Coronavirus Update” of 3 March fills the canvass:
In Australia our Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer, counter to Dr Tedros’ recommendations for people in high risk categories to begin reducing social interaction, are encouraging all Australians to maintain their normal practices, with both eyes on the economic data!
The similarities in the COVID-19-related thoughts and actions of Donald Trump in the US, Borris Johnson in the UK, and Scott Morrison in Australia are both striking and concerning.
Oh and Australia is still going ahead with the opening of the Formula 1 season on 15 March. Boy will some be sweating in their shorts about that all working out without (apparent) incident.
Of course the Formula 1 was cancelled on the first day of practice due to COVID-19 infections amongst some teams, with spectators crowded around the entrances.
Eventually the international border of our island continent closed as of 19 March, but the PM still was reluctant to take the necessary measures to take full advantage of our isolation and go for elimination. In “Australian ‘Followship’” published 23 March I was exasperated:
OK, I have just about exhausted myself in prosecuting this case. I do not know whether I will manage it, but my aim is to cease pointing out the defincies in the Australian response because I fear it is all pointless at this stage. Our advantage in battling the pandemic was not taken. And some times it is just too difficult to fight against the reality that “The First Victim of War is the Truth“.
I aim to add some more positive pieces to assist my nation and broader humanity endure this our toughest immediate challenge.
Seven days later on 30 March, almost 9 months ago, I published at MacroEdgo an essay entitled “The Great Reset” which detailed my views on the likely consequences of the pandemic on global societies and I proposed an approach – or a mindset – for emerging from the crisis in a better position by placing humanity on a path to a sustainable future. I also posted the essay at Medium.com on the same day.
The foreword reads:
This is a post of hope. Of promise. Of potential within our grasp if we have the courage to reach for it. The commencement discusses markets because they give a verifiable account of the slow reaction to the threat that COVID-19 posed to humanity. The latter discussion opens up to encompass implications and aspirations for humanity.
In a key passage I explained those aspirations:
I believe that if the current most urgent battle against COVID-19, followed by the equally necessary and increasingly urgent fight against the climate crisis, is handled with adept leadership, we have every chance of having a very rare psychological reset which could set up the global community for the next half century. It will be a much more humane and equitable one if we follow the edict of FDR as brilliantly articulated in his 4th Inauguration speech, and if the lessons of needing to stand up to hard-hearted right wingers and imperialists is heeded from the record of FDRs loyal and loving son Elliot Roosevelt in “As He Saw It” which recounted events immediately after FDR’s all too early passing as WW2 drew to an end and in the immediate post-war period.
I put everything I had into the conclusion:
Be in no doubt that there will be hard-hearted factions that want things to go back as closely as possible to the inequitable and unfair world that existed before this war [against the COVID-19 pandemic] because that is the game that they know how to win. That is exactly what was occurring in the post-GFC period. There will even be others who want to tilt things further to their advantage. These are the people that like to say that “a good crisis should never be wasted” and you just need to read Elliot Roosevelt’s “How He Saw It” to understand how that occurs.
Ask yourself this: Do we really want to get through all of this hurt, of the realisation that we are all humans, fearing and hurt by the same things, and come out the other side of this battle against COVID-19 to enter into the same petty argument of the reality of the climate change crisis with hard-hearted right wingers behaving petulantly not accepting that they are in the wrong?
If this battle against COVID-19 proves nothings else it shows that all our fates on this beautiful planet are inextricably linked. The only sustainable way forward for humanity is united and time and effort spent moving in the other direction is an utter waste and dangerous to us all.
Let this be the Great Reset that puts humanity back on the track that perhaps the greatest US President ever wanted for us all!
I would include the Australian Governments’ actions to further limit employee’s rights – in the name of workplace flexibility – as a prime example of using the COVID-19 crisis to tilt the situation even further to the advantage of the elites.
My “The Great Reset” essay was a further evolution and expansion of my views that I had been developing in earlier essays including “Xenophobia Must Be Challenged For An Effective Climate Change Response Inclusive Of Population Growth“, “Let’s Wage War On Climate Change“, “Social Cohesion: The best vaccine against crises“, “The Conundrum Humanity Faces But Nobody Admits“, and “The Magic Sauce Of American Economic Dynamism Is Not Personal Greed“.
In the second essay in “The Great Reset” series, “The Great Reset: Teaching what we left behind“, published 20 June 2020, I continued to impress that now is a moment for reflection and engagement:
Not everything was better in the past, not by a long shot. But for all of the heartache that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused, for all of the harsh impacts on humanity, we all owe it to the victims of the pandemic and to each other to take a long hard look at where things were heading before the pandemic and to be courageous enough to dream of how we want to emerge.
Regardless of whether we want certain trends reversed, redirected or accelerated, we will need to be prepared to ensure that we have our views heard and acted upon.
I concluded “How Society Will Change If A COVID-19 Vaccine Is Elusive“, published 17 July, with a reference back to “The Great Reset” era and a restatement of what is at stake:
To this point [in the pandemic] decisions have been made mainly by elected officials. Increasingly going forward those decisions will be made by individuals. Collectively those decisions will have significant impacts on society, and the longer and greater the COVID-19 affects are felt, the greater the change in the way society behaves.
That, in a nutshell, is “The Great Reset“. It has already begun and it is irreversible.
High quality, effective leadership will nurture it so that the best outcomes are realised to the benefit of humanity. Scoundrels will try to harness it to bend society to a more warped and less inclusive version. We all must show leadership and engage with the process to achieve the best outcome for ourselves and those we love, and those who succeed us. And we should all prepare to be flexible and supple in thought to make the best decisions that we can with the information that we have as we emerge from the shock of our altered existence and as our future comes into clearer focus.
Through 2020 I have managed to lay down some views on longer term issues for humanity, but my focus has necessarily been mostly trained on the here and now.
In Australia I have tried to constructively influence authorities’ policies around international border closures, developing an elimination strategy (social isolation, lockdowns and school closures), biosecurity around potentially contaminated processed meat, biosecurity with regards to other animals susceptible to infection, and most recently guarding against complacency and focusing on minimising spread through Summer so that Australia enters the critical Autumn/Winter period in a favourable position. At the same time I have tried to be a supportive friend to somebody who deserves so much more credit than she has received – in Dr Shi Zhengli – as well as support my family through this challenging period.
Nonetheless after publishing “The Great Reset” I remained alert to mentions of a “reset” or “great reset” when reading media and I did notice some echoes of “reset” in the Australian press and in this webinar series in May/June. In October I began noticing mentions of “The Great Reset” in the press and business media. While writing a piece drawing on information from a McKinsey report I learnt that they had adopted it as the title of a series of reports on COVID-19.
It was not until I read an article in The Guardian about the conspiracy theories surrounding the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) initiative “The Great Reset” that I learned that the name for the era that I used in my essay, and now a series of essays, had been adopted in such an important context. I was prompted to investigate the WEF’s initiative in comparison to my ideas, as well as to look into the broader use of the term.
At the time that I wrote “The Great Reset” I was unaware that a book of the same title was written 10 years earlier by Richard Florida. Nor was I aware that John Mauldin had used the term in his writing. I must confess, however, to being a subscriber to John Mauldin’s daily internet newsletter (and a search of my email account revealed I initiated my subscription in January 2018 and my research for this post shows that he wrote articles about “The Great Reset” during 2017). I must also confess, however, that over the years I have subscribed to many economics blogs and newsletters even though I am not a big reader of them these days (my email search shows that I ceased opening those emails in February 2018!) In recent years I have also been a good buyer of books which mostly sit unread on my dresser – this year I have been too busy for reading books!
I admit to being leery of groupthink and I like to keep my thoughts fairly “pure” so that I can be reasonably confident my views are my own, well as much as any observant citizen can be in this media-saturated world. And to be totally honest, I conducted the great majority of research and reading on others’ views on “The Great Reset”, including the WEF initiative, after I completed writing my previous essay in the series, “The Great Reset: A letter to my father and my ‘sliding doors’ self” published 12 December for that reason. While I receive many daily, weekly and infrequent economics reports from Howard Marks to Jonathon Rochford to Moody’s Alerts, the truth is that I read none of them consistently. (The one exception was Jeremy Grantham whose quarterly reports I consistently read for many years.) Typically I read the first one or two posts after I subscribe and then they annoy me with the rest of them (around 60 daily, not all on socioeconomics/investing) landing in my inbox and I continually think to myself I need to unsubscribe, but never do. I suspect I am not alone.
I also note that, interestingly, in the week to 10 days before I released my essay “The Great Reset“, a number of other bloggers used the term, most often in relation to business, investing or technology implications from the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- on 20 March at “Comment” magazine Anne Synyder, Editor in Chief, penned an article entitled “The Great Reset: Making way for a world remade” that talks about the impacts of COVID-19 and its relevance to faith and religion
- on 21 March Thomas Hepner discussed investing implications flowing from central bank actions and market movements in Winter is Here – The Great Reset is Upon Us
- on 24 March Chris Blackwell was concerned with a very narrow focus on impacts on business in The Great Reset - How the business world is about to reset itself
- on 27 March David Kipper of Bionic, publishing on Medium, discussed technology implications in a post entitled “The Great Reset“
- in this article on Medium published 31 March The Great Reset: What Will (Need to) Change after the Crisis? Tim Leberecht summarises discussions from the “Living Room Session“, House of Beautiful Business, held on 29 March entitled “The Great Reset” but his prior paper on 21 March from the first open session held the night before used a slightly different term of “crisis reset”
While I do not preclude the possibility that I had read the term somewhere before I wrote the essay, I did not recall doing so, and it should be clear from my writing that I do try to be original and ahead of the curve. In fact, priding myself on being a contrarian, I have a natural aversion to being unoriginal. I recall thinking at the time that I needed to promptly release my essay to “claim” the title for the era because I felt it was so fitting and I felt the era, so certain to be marked in human history, would soon be named by some writer. What follows shows that I was correct in that view.
“The Great Reset” by Richard Florida, a Canadian urban economist interested in “the fall, rise and physical and economic reconfiguration of North American cities“, was published in 2010. It’s subtitle “How New Ways of Living and Working Drive Post-Crash Prosperity ” gives the clue that while Florida discusses the resetting of societal views and values as a consequence of the turbulence from the global financial crisis (GFC), with many themes in common with my essay, much of his focus is on how that translates into how cities will look and function as a result.
Since at least 2017 John Mauldin has written about “The Great Reset” to define a period where the debt accumulation, and pension and other liabilities, held by the US and other Western Governments will face a reckoning. Mauldin also includes the restructuring of economies especially around employment made necessary “because of the massive technological transformation that is taking place”. In Mauldin’s writing he considers mainly the investment implications of what he defines as “The Great Reset”, largely ignoring the socioeconomic implications, and does not touch on the key areas of climate change or diversity and inclusion. His perspective appears to be mainly one associated with creating interest in his investment ideas on dealing with these issues. That is perhaps why Mauldin has written in recent weeks defending his version of “The Great Reset” suggesting that a “Reset of Capitalism”, embedded within the WEF initiative and in my writing, is neither necessary or imminent. No doubt that would appease high net wealth clients who, as I have written about extensively such as in “Your Life: Something the elites have always been prepared to sacrifice for their ends“, are typically threatened by the idea of significant change to socioeconomic systems.
I would humbly suggest that none of these earlier mentions of “The Great Reset” by fellow writers fully comprehended the breadth and intensity of the implications from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the increased discussion in recent years of a paradigm shift, especially by Ray Dalio, reframing of geopolitical relationships and domestic politics revolving around the US in particular, and the increased awareness of growing inequality, had made many especially business, technology and investment-focused professionals highly aware of the growing momentum for change which had grown since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC).
With markets falling precipitously through early March – by 23 March we had experienced the fastest bear market, in fact the fastest 30% fall, in US stockmarket history – it was clear to all that the COVID-19 pandemic has severe implications for businesses, technology and investing. That many were looking for deeper explanation, meaning and significance is not surprising.
My writing demonstrates that I was well advanced on my thinking even in early February. And by mid-February I was frustrated with the lack of appreciation across society, including in the business and investment sectors, for the implications of the impending pandemic. Besides in posts on MacroEdgo and comments on The Conversation (Australian site), I mentioned these warnings on website blogs by Australian fund managers Montgomery Investment Managers and Forager Funds Management that investors needed to accept that “our world has changed”. I also allowed my frustration to boil over in “Politics V Society In The Coronavirus Outbreak” published 21 February when I (unwisely) wondered aloud whether I might already be living in an “Idiocracy”.
I would further suggest that the World Economic Forum’s “The Great Reset” agenda is the only other writing besides mine to detail the implications of COVID-19 to humanity and to grasp the breadth of reset that humanity confronts, and to recognise that it is imperative that people of good character be active to ensure that outcomes are fair and beneficial to broader humanity.
The World Economic Forum needs no introduction to anybody with an interest in economics, investing and/or business. As an avid viewer of business television I have always enjoyed the spectacle of a snowy Davos becoming the centre of global attention for a few days each year for the WEF gathering.
So let me say from the outset that I have a high regard for the WEF and for Prof. Schwab. Readers who find that surprising, due to my frequent apparent disdain for “elites”, should read “How Might Milton Friedman Respond To the COVID-19 Pandemic” for clarification – when I use the term with derision it refers to the subset who are affected by “toxic aspiration”.
The first stage of the initiative was the launch on 3 June with a virtual meeting hosted by HRH The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) and Prof. Schwab, and with statements by UN Secretary-General António Guterres and IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva. The launch detailed a special twin WEF summit in 2021 with the theme “The Great Reset”.
In early July 2020 the book “COVID-19: The Great Reset” by Thierry Malleret and Prof. Klaus Schwab was published in several languages.
The ideas in the background for the WEF initiative is strikingly similar to what I had discussed at MacroEdgo in my essay “The Great Reset” and other essays around humanity’s sustainability. The promotional video released for the launch, brilliantly powerful and moving, hit on all of the main themes of my writing that preceded it, with the key messages that “our world has changed” and that “everybody has a responsibility” to play a part to reset humanity on a more sustainable direction, sandwiching imagery of deeply ingrained global inequality and xenophobia and environmental degradation and catastrophe, echoing my own words intensely.
On 25 March Prof. Schwab wrote about the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses, contrasting businesses following his stakeholder-oriented model with those maintaining a short-term profit imperative, in the Financial Times but he did not take that opportunity to mention a “Great Reset”. Moreover, I would suggest that most readers comparing this article with my essay published just 4 days later would agree that my message was both more ambitious, with broader implications, and more urgent, perhaps hinting that Prof. Schwab’s thinking on the subject developed significantly after he wrote this article and before launching “The Great Reset” WEF initiative.
I do recognise that the WEF has for a few years been discussing a reset of a capitalism towards a greener future, but there is no evidence that Prof. Schwab or the WEF recognised by April 2020 the full implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in the way that I had laid out in (admittedly) voluminous detail at MacroEdgo before that time.
I would also note that I had very regular readership of my website through February and early March from Switzerland that dropped off sharply once I mentioned it in my post “No, She Won’t Be Alright Mate“. I had assumed that the interest was from within the World Health Organisation head office, but perhaps it was from elsewhere (or both?), and I further assumed that they later used a VPN when accessing my site.
The earliest mention of a “reset” associated with the COVID-19 pandemic that I can find on the WEF website was in a report dated May 2020 entitled “COVID-19 Risks Outlook: A preliminary mapping and its implications” in partnership with March & McLennan and Zurich Insurance group. The 66 page report mentions the word “reset” once:
To not lose the Generation Great Lockdown, but instead enable it to become the Generation Great Reset, with all its opportunities, the public and private sectors should include investing in youth as a driving element of the recovery efforts.
Attempting to influence Australia’s response to COVID-19, I invested no time or effort in attempting to track or determine how much my works were being adopted more broadly outside of Australia. For this piece on 20 December 2020 I performed a quick analysis of Google Trends for search intensity on “The Great Reset” from 12 months prior to the publication of my essay “The Great Reset” – so from March 2019 – through to present time.
New to Google Trends, my ability to mine data from this resource is certainly not as developed as others’. Nonetheless it is clear that search interest in “The Great Reset” was minimal between March 2019 and March 2020 in comparison to the peak of interest in November 2020 (based on media reporting, that coincided with the “conspiracy theory” peak after a mention of the initiative by Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau).
When the focus shifts to the period from 28 January 2020 to 31 July 2020, so that the peak of search intensity is not as high thus allowing more subtle observation of interest levels, it is clear that there is some consistent activity around the time that I published my essay, including the week before, but search interest grew from late May 2020 (in the weeks prior to the launch of the WEF initiative with Prince Charles).
That is evidence that the WEF initiative has brought a high level of attention as would be expected. While my essay was written 2 months prior to the WEF initiative launch, it is reasonable to assume that views expressed in a blog post by a little-known author will require time to move through society in contrast to an initiative by an organisation with vast resources and with the support of the Prince of Wales!
The role that I have played in promulgating these ideas, through my writing, will probably never be known. But I would suggest that the fact that my home nation of Australia went from having a very, very low search interest in “The Great Reset” in the year prior to the release of my essay, based on the above graphs and other data that I examined, and rapidly developed a comparatively very high search intensity would suggest that my essay did have an influence on the spread of these ideas.
Moreover, it is undeniable from my writing about the pandemic from 3 February that I understood extremely early and far better than most the full consequences of this virus having jumped species. I draw particular attention to my first post on COVID-19, “Social Cohesion: The best vaccine against crises“, and my early Coronavirus Outbreak Updates, especially on 11 February; these undoubtedly had an influence on others (including some professionals in funds management and investing circles confirmed by direct feedback).
Finally, in case the old “broken clock is right twice a day” analogy is used, it is important to note that I never had near as serious concerns with the SARS or H1N1 swine flu episodes. For the SARS episode I recall being aware of it and having some concerns when my wife and I travelled back to Australia, after having lived in Europe for 2 years, in early March 2003. But we still went ahead with a several day stopover in Singapore. And for the swine flu episode, being a family with very young children, I thought it prudent to get in early and secure doses of Tamiflu for the family but that was the only measure I took besides keeping up to date with the news flow.
On those occasions I was aware and suitably cautious, but far from alarmed. But on this occasion I knew I had to stand up and tell people to “Repeat After Me, This Is Not SARS: COVID-19 is much worse“. And I do intend to one day write a post detailing everything that I did in February 2020 to secure my family’s safety.
To put a finer and final point on my views, “The Great Reset” was set off by the shock that humanity received due to the pandemic together with its timing coinciding with the build up in potential for a paradigm shift that others had been noting in their writing and which I discussed in detail in “How Might Milton Friedman Respond To The COVID-19 Pandemic“.
“The Great Reset”, in my writing, refers to the era just as “The Great Depression” refers to an era typically delineated as the period between the stock market collapse of 1929 through to the commencement of WWII (though historians may argue on those markers).
Future historians will no doubt argue on when it was that “The Great Reset” era commenced, whether it was after the global financial market dislocations of 2007-09, along the lines described by Richard Florida, or in 2020 as I described. Note that I discussed this timing in “The Great Reset” itself in analogy with “The Great Depression” saying that if we considered the 2007-09 financial crises as the commencement of the era then there is optimism that we might be closer to the end rather than the beginning.
If 2007-09 were marked as the commencement of the era, then 2020 would be marked as the moment of intensification so that many of the factors and transitions accelerated giving a perception of them coming to a climax.
On the other hand, one wonders whether the conditions for such a strong and marked reset would have been present if not for the shock of the first truly global pandemic in 100 years commencing in 2020 (or a few weeks before it). And it cannot be ignored that between 2009 and 2020 central bankers had managed to create a perception of relative stability, with only occasional tremors, even though some (including myself) remained concerned that underlying issues never were addressed so that pressure continued to build along fault-lines.
There is no doubt that this current era is being marked by a psychological reset. “The Great Depression” did not necessarily need to be “great”. It was made so by policy missteps so that a depression was made greater, in a negative sense.
If the GFC was responsible for the commencement of a reset in contemporary societies it was progressing slowly. During and as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic factors coalesced – and the death of George Floyd and the increased momentum for the Black Lives Movement is a major aspect of these factors – for a reset to become significant, or “greater” in intensity and breadth. There is the potential for this current era to be known as “The Great Reset” in a positive sense if humanity manages to place itself on a surer footing to a sustainable and inclusive future. That is precisely why it is an optimistic outlook or mindset.
That the WEF’s “The Great Reset” initiative has been greeted with scepticism by Trumpites with a predisposition for believing conspiracy theories is disappointing and concerning, but not surprising.
Since my earliest writing about “The Great Reset” era I have stated that powerful interests would marshal their supporters, via their now sophisticated and highly developed channels, to take advantage of the flux state that humanity was entering catalysed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Of course, the more extreme actors in this space are working at convincing their supporters that it is the others who are attempting to take advantage in humanity’s moment of vulnerability.
Conspiracy theorists on the right are suggesting that it is somehow unusual that the leaders within our societies are meeting to decide on global directions for humanity. Of course this is nothing unusual or new – that is how civil society functions and has done for centuries – even if communication is now aided by electronics and is “real time”. Anybody with even a passing interest in history understands this to be the case, and I would implore, again, all to read Elliot Roosevelt’s account of the events preceding and immediately after his father FDR’s death near the end of WWII. It is an excellent account of just what lengths were taken for key decision-makers to meet face to face at such a momentous moment in human history, thus underlying how vitally important it was to do so. It also is a salutary warning on how negotiations and events can go awry when actors, including political leaders, are ultimately inauthentic and fudge on agreements.
Even if not everyone can actually be at the table when decisions are made, we all can have our diverse points of view heard and I encourage all to be active in these discussions. That is the message that I have repeated constantly in my own writing, and it is also a significant aspect within the WEF’s messaging.
But please be determined to do most of the thinking for yourself, and when you do consult experts or disseminated information, please remember to exercise caution to all of it.
As a child a common truism spoken was to believe half of what you saw and none of what you heard. I do not often hear that said anymore. Unfortunately, now with “AI bots” activated by various actors with questionable motives working to disseminate altered information in all forms of communication (text, voice, images and video), it is prudent to very critically parse all that is seen and heard knowing that even experts may be challenged in detecting altered information.
There is no point in pretending this is not a confusing time for many. Discriminating between the sources of information is critical, and for people in society to do that we need to rebuild trust in leadership. That can only occur if leaders are prepared to stand up and lead with authenticity. It also requires honest acknowledgement of the issues and problems experience by many, as I highlighted in my essay “The Great Reset: A letter to my Father and ‘Sliding Doors’ self“.
The vacuum left by the withdrawal of political leadership, including in Australia, has meant that other leaders who have stepped forward are more conspicuous, including activists but also including business leaders. None of that should be threatening to those who continue to exercise discriminating logic. In fact, greater dispersion of leadership within society – which might be termed “diffuse leadership” or “community leadership” – is likely to be an advancement for contemporary humanity. It is vital, however, that it be exercised in parallel with strong, effective and fair leadership amongst those who have the power to institute change for it is only then that the best outcomes will be achieved.
In “How Might Friedman Respond To The COVID-19 Pandemic” I stated my views on why it has been necessary that business elites step into the void left by the retreat of political leadership. While I am as guilty as anybody for bandying about the term “elites”, I would hope that my writing makes it clear that I do – and we all must – make our own opinion on all individuals in the world, including those fortunate human beings who collectively can be considered as belonging to the “elites”.
It can easily be said that there is a concern over unelected officials having a strong voice, but that makes little sense. For one, business leaders are beholden to many stakeholders, and activists are well aware that customers are equally powerful as shareholders (a major point that Prof. Schwab has been making for many years). Secondly, many who object to business elites publicly stating their opinions tend to be the same as those who oppose and reject a 16 year old Swedish school student for standing up and insisting on being heard. These objections show that those maintaining extreme positions will seek to discredit or shout down any other view than their own.
Especially in democracies we all can be heard if we choose to be. And, personally, I am far more concerned by what happens in the narrow corridors of power, in national parliamentary institutions around the globe, with lobbying by people we have never heard of who introduce enormous distortions into political processes by incentivising and/or punishing politicians who support positions supportive/contrary to their aims.
The WEF has been extremely open about their aims, and they clearly share my view that they need to lead and be seen to lead, to bring people along with them.
It is to be hoped that all political decision-makers can join in the momentum that they have created to place humanity on a surer, fairer and safer bearing. Unfortunately, the soon-to-be ex-President of the United States had a magnetic effect on some national leaders, including my own, which made it so their political and moral compass “would not travis well when near it [or him].”
Again that is nothing new as this quote from a brilliant Greek philosopher who lived 2,000 years ago shows:
Be careful whom you associate with. It is human to imitate the habits of those with whom we interact. We inadvertently adopt their interests, their opinions, their values, and their habit of interpreting events.Epictetus
Trumpism is not going away soon. There are too many powerful actors who are pleased by the advances made on these agendas, and the 70,000,000 votes garnered by Trump shows that they marshal significant resources.
Exactly how humanity emerges from “The Great Reset” era is very much in the balance. Everything that I have read of “The Great Reset” WEF initiative suggests to me that those driving and integrally involved with the initiative really want the reset to take humanity back to the ideals espoused by possibly the greatest US president of all time, FDR, who near the conclusion of WWII and shortly before his death spoke for Americans and all of humanity:
We have learned that we cannot live alone, at peace; that our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away. We have learned that we must live as men, not as ostriches, nor as dogs in the manger. We have learned to be citizens of the world, members of the human communityThe 4th Inaugural Speech of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I am extremely pleased that my ideas and those of many others have coalesced into a coherent program for social change offered for discussion by the WEF and Prof. Schwab. The resources and influence that the WEF can harness is unparalleled, as evidenced by the passionate involvement of Prince Charles and a cross-section of stakeholders from multinational business through to the most important supranational organisations and humanitarian groups. I am enormously impressed by the initiative and am hopeful that the twin summits can manage to counter the more divisive influences circling to ensure that “The Great Reset” era jumpstarts humanity on the long road towards those lofty but vital goals.
I do not suggest for a moment that my ideas or theirs are either new or unique – many people have argued for the urgent need to address sustainability for a very long time as well as inequality.
At the same time, however, it would seem so coincidental as to be highly unlikely that a detailed program bearing such similarity to what I have laid out in my posts at MacroEdgo – adopting the title of a seminal piece that I wrote at the outset of the most significant global pandemic in a century – had developed in parallel by an organisation with such immense resources without consulting or at least being aware of, and reading at least some of, my works.
I am a passionate activist writer. I have known since the latter years of my scientific career that I lack the political aptitude and mindset to be a “player”. Consequently I have doubts that I would be able to lead large groups of humans in the contemporary world. In my younger years I was an effective leader on the sporting field, but that is a role where simply leading by example is enough.
If my writing speaks to people sufficiently that they become activated to broaden or even change their perceptions, then I have achieved what I set out to do. If they become inspired enough to be an activist and they seek to expand the views of others, then even better. And if my views are incorporated into organised programs for positive change for humanity and the planet, well that is a very personally satisfying situation.
Finally, even though I rushed in an attempt to plausibly lay claim to naming the era “The Great Reset”, my 10 month-later “due diligence” confirms it was so obvious and already embedded in the collective psche of engaged observers leading up to this period that probably nobody can really lay claim to it. (Florida’s book was so much earlier as to represent a dubious claim to it, others’ focus was too narrow.) Critically I understood that a pandemic was almost certain and I understood the economic implications earlier than most.
What I have written here is chiefly meant to act as a historical account of my recollections from the preceding 10 months together with my views on how I have attempted to play my part in this historical period.
I will say, however, that I am proud of myself for the personal stand that I have taken and for all of the words that I have written. If it were confirmed that my words have been read by even one of the people involved in the launch of the WEF “The Great Reset” initiative then I would feel honoured.
Moreover, when I read words such as these spoken by somebody for whom I regard so highly in a position of such influence, knowing that I said essentially the same before and around that time, I am deeply moved:
We have to use all the strength we have to turn a page and have history be about the Great Reset and not the Great Reversal… The best memorial we can build to those who have lost their lives is a greener, smarter, fairer world.Dr. Kristilina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, from her address at the launch of “The Great Reset” as reported by The Guardian
Having said all of that, I must admit that along with a lack of political aptitude comes an almost pathological need to say what I believe regardless of the closeness of my relationship with that person or group. When contrasted with my inclination to strong and loyal attachment to individuals whom I respect, I am at times left with immense guilt for speaking my mind.
Essentially I have come to realise over the years that I am not a “team player”, but I have to admit that some of that is probably psychological scarring from suffering repercussions to my career for staying true and strong to my scientific and humanitarian views. And supposedly while amongst learned professionals.
It should be clear that I will be closely observing what comes of the WEF “The Great Reset” initiative and I will not be backwards in my criticisms if I develop concerns that it is not heading in the right direction.
Dedicated to my sons, my most important legacy to humanity – you both make me prouder with each breath you draw. You are the inspiration for my writing of this piece for so very many reasons. The catalyst for writing this now was a conversation with you, my first-born. When I said to you recently that I was beginning to feel powerless to help prevent my nation from slipping into complacency and dangerously low levels of COVID awareness over Summer, you gave me a pep talk and told me “Greta Thunberg does not stop when she fears nobody is listening”. What is more you told me that I should be proud of what I have done – that in your view it is the best writing about COVID-19 that you have read – and that I needed to make sure that I claim credit for my work. I do so now in honour of you both.
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© Copyright Brett Edgerton 2020