The day after Joe Biden hobbled onstage to declare victory in Wilmington, Delaware, I turned on The Alex Jones Show. It wasn’t something I was in the habit of doing, but out of curiosity, I switched over to see what the world’s most famous ‘conspiracy theorist’ made of it all.
It was about the same as I’d remembered, from the handful of viral YouTube clips I’d seen of Jones over the years. Rich, gravelly voice; long diatribes delivered to camera; wild, animated gestures. The fury of Rush Limbaugh with the audience connection of a late-night televangelist.
‘This is what we’ve been warning you about,’ he said. ‘The mainstream media, the banking cartels – they’re stealing this election to supress the will of the people and bring about the new world order. This has always been the globalists’ plan. This is the Great Reset. It’s coming.’
Entertaining stuff, maybe even a little cathartic, but not informative. Still, I could see the appeal. There were probably thousands of punters like me, watching this kind of stuff for the first time. Trump was being railroaded out of office, and people were desperate. For Jones, it could all be attributed to a nefarious and secretive ‘globalist agenda’. But that was a stretch. Wasn’t it?
The ‘Great Reset’, touted menacingly by the likes of Alex Jones, entered the public consciousness five months before Election Day. It’s the brainchild of the World Economic Forum, which bills itself as ‘the international organisation for public-private cooperation’. Pursuant to this important mission, the WEF took it upon itself to stitch together a ‘COVID Action Platform’, insisting that ‘only coordinated action by business, combined by global, multi-stakeholder cooperation – at exceptional scale and speed – can potentially mitigate the risk and impact of this unprecedented crisis’.
Naturally – and laughably paradoxically – the WEF determined that ‘capitalism’ was to blame for it all, that the global economic system, such as it was, was no longer fit for purpose, and the only responsible solution was to demolish it and start over.
The Great Reset was born.
The initiative’s announcement was delivered via a series of YouTube clips posted on the WEF’s website, with a star-studded cast from global quangos and multi-national corporations. There was the WEF’s founder and chairman Klaus Schwab, International Labor Organisation General Secretary Sharan Burrow (formerly of Australia’s very own ACTU), the International Monetary Fund’s Kristalina Georgieva, and the heads of BP, Microsoft and Mastercard.
But the headline act was Prince Charles, in his capacity as patron of his newly-launched ‘Sustainable Markets Initiative’. And His Royal Highness was in good form – doing his best to make the whole project as elitist and condescending as possible. ‘We have no alternative,’ he insisted, lips pursed. ‘Unless we take the action necessary, and build in a greener and more inclusive and sustainable way, then we will have more and more pandemics.’
It's hard to figure out what the lack ‘inclusivity’ and ‘sustainability’ had to do with a virus originating from a bowl of bat soup in Wuhan, China. Nor, for that matter, is it clear what throwing billions of dollars on ‘greener’ technology will do to prevent outbreaks in the future.
Maybe there is some logic to it, but probably not. In all likelihood, the Great Reset is being driven by blind faith. Accept the tenets of wokeness into your life, and you will be saved from eternal damnation.
And of course, there is a whiff of the old political adage: Never let a good crisis go to waste.
To understand the Great Reset, you have to understand the World Economic Forum. And to understand the World Economic Forum, you have to understand Davos.
The WEF’s origins go back to 1971, when 444 business executives convened in tiny alpine village of Davos, Switzerland, for what was then called the European Management Symposium. The Davos Manifesto, outlining the organisation’s principles, was signed two years later. Most of it is a pretty inoffensive document, declaring that company management should ‘serve its investors’, ‘provide a return on investment’ and ensure ‘sufficient profitability’.
The first Davos delegates also had a distinct humanistic streak. Employees had to be looked after with ‘the improvement of real income’ and businesses had to ‘serve society’, with managers ‘assuming the role of a trustee of the material universe for future generations’.
From those earnest beginnings, the Davos conference has ballooned into the epicentre (and quite possibility the origin) of woke capitalism. Over three thousand attendees swarmed into the resort town last year, and the crowd now includes heads of state, central bankers, media executives, senior bureaucrats and celebrities ranging from perennial crusader Leonardo DiCaprio to early-2000s pop icon Shakira. Attendance is by invite-only, with membership fees payable in Swiss francs, starting at the equivalent of $92,000.
So here's the deal: the Great Reset is mindlessly stupidAs to what goes on there, it seems for the most part to be a kind of Woodstock for the guilty rich. In his blistering book Patronising Bastards, English journalist Quentin Letts describes the conference as ‘a grotesque gymkhana for the globalised elite, a week-long knees-up with the company credit card where they can parade their social consequences at high altitude’.
Davos even holds its own awards ceremony, honouring ‘the enduring contributions to society of exceptional artists’. One such societal contribution honoured with a Crystal Award last year was the creator of ‘hubs and archives for Black culture, which serve as catalysts for discussions on race, equality, space and history’. Another recipient was Jin Xin, China’s ‘most popular TV host’ and ‘the first person, publicly, to undergo gender reassignment surgery in her country’. Australia even got a look-in, with a Crystal going to Lynette Wallworth, director of a ‘mixed-reality’ film about the first woman Shaman from the Yawanama tribe in Brazil.
The old Davos Manifesto has also evolved, reissued in 2020 as a bingo card of bureaucratic-managerial newspeak. Companies should ‘honour diversity’ and ‘improve people’s well-being’. Businesses exist to ‘fulfil human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system’, operating within ‘a circular, shared and regenerative economy’. To these ends, multinational corporations must ‘act themselves as a stakeholder – together with governments and civil society – of our global future’.
So where do the private jets and expensive chalets fit into it all? Well, according to the manifesto, ‘executive remuneration should reflect stakeholder responsibility’. So presumably, when it comes to being the custodian of ‘our global future’, Davos attendees are of the view that you get what you pay for.
If the Great Reset is the final assault of ‘the globalist agenda’, it’s difficult to work out what the agenda actually is. The landing page on the WEF’s website suggests that the purpose of the initiative is to ‘offer insights to help inform the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons’.
There are also reams of articles and discussion papers going back to the Great Reset’s launch in June, written by various Davos delegates and WEF office-bearers. The topics covered in these musings are broad – unsurprisingly so, given the ambitious scope of the Great Reset’s mission.
As a body of work, it is a veritable suggestion box, stuffed by the most powerful – and simultaneously, most clueless – people on planet earth. On the first couple of pages alone you’ll read about how we can keep carbon emissions at their COVID-era lows, the role of electric vehicles in the ‘energy transition’, ideas for ‘rebuilding trust’ in governments post-COVID (the same governments that deliberately impoverished millions of their own citizens), reasons why ‘the business of sustainability has come of age’ (aside from the taxpayer subsidies up for grabs), the way in which the coronavirus has highlighted ‘gender, racial and disability gaps’, and an explainer on ‘intersectionality’ and ‘how it can help businesses tackle diversity and inclusion’.
You might be wondering what all these ideas would look like in practice. Well in October, Mariana Mazzucato – a professor at University College London and the ‘Founder and Director’ of some outfit called the ‘Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose’ – penned a vision of the post-Reset utopia for Time titled, ‘It’s 2023. Here’s How We Fixed the Global Economy’.
According to Mazzucato, the recovery will start will the global realisation that economic policy should be geared at ‘addressing climate risks’, ‘incentivising green lending’ and supporting ‘financial institutions tackling social and environmental goals’. To this end, the European Union will get its money printers into gear and announce a ‘historic €1.8 trillion recovery package’, with receipt of funds conditional on ‘strong strategies for addressing climate change’.
But in 2022, ‘climate breakdown’ will ‘finally land’, finally convincing the unwashed masses of the merits of a ‘coordinated global response’ to climate change and – naturally – ‘direct global fiscal stimulus in support of a green economy’. And from there, a ‘Healthy Green Deal’, with climate and well-being targets supported by ‘both supply- and demand-side policies’. ‘Social infrastructure’ will ‘become as important as physical infrastructure’.
And finally, government will ‘rise to the role of entrepreneurial state’, becoming an ‘investor of first resort’ to ‘co-create value with the public sector and civil society’. Working for the government will ‘become the ambition for top talent coming out of university’, necessitating a ‘global master in public administration’ to equip our best and brightest in careers as noble bureaucrats.
So there you have it – the Great Reset. A hopelessly naïve vision for the future in which the affluent left will make the world a better place by unleashing the kind of central planning and redistributionist economics that has made a barren wasteland out of every single country in which it has been tried before.
If any of this frightens you, it probably shouldn’t. Remember, the World Economic Forum is not a government organisation. It’s a gigantic talkfest that has been spewing out these nonsensical thought bubbles for the better part of 50 years. It’s a club of smug billionaires and self-important rent-seekers, coming together once a year to tut-tut about the state of the world – conveniently forgetting that their feel-good, green agenda has been permeating bureaucracies around the western world for decades with nothing to show for it except a disgruntled citizenry and a hefty bill.
The difference is that now, amid the chaos of lockdowns and mass unemployment, the Davos set is certain their time is coming. As always, they’re forgetting that the rest of us have a safety valve – though admittedly not a foolproof one – the democratic process. And with the latest round of hectoring, the chattering classes are putting themselves on a collision course for an electoral showdown that will make Brexit and Trump look like the AGM of a suburban bowls club.
So here’s the deal: the Great Reset is mindlessly stupid, but relatively benign. It’s a slogan, a marketing gimmick, and terrible one at that - the iSnack 2.0 of noblesse oblige internationalism. Yes, a terrifying proportion of the world’s most powerful people believe in it, and worst still will try to impose it on us all.
But impose what? The whole project is bewilderingly short on detail. It has the precision of Kevin Rudd’s 2020 summit and the rhetoric of a 2020 Oscars speech. At worst, all we’re in for is a slightly more self-righteous version of what we are getting now.
What they have done, though, is say the quiet part out loud. With cringey YouTube videos and vacuous think pieces, they’re admitted that ideally, we’d blow up the western world as we know it and start over. The self-appointed political and business elite is attempting to hit control-alt-delete on the lives of billions of people from the safety of a plush ski resort in the Swiss alps.
Now, we’ll see them coming.
The coronavirus saga will be a catalyst for change, but not the kind they have in mind. After the pain, misery and inconvenience wrought on us through 2020, people will demand that control over their governments, countries and lives be given back to them – and eventually, they will get it.
Rest assured, that will be the greatest reset of them all.