The Great Reset is the name of the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), held in June 2020. It brought together high-profile business and political leaders, convened by Charles, Prince of Wales and the WEF, with the theme of rebuilding society and the economy in a sustainable way following the COVID-19 pandemic.
WEF chief executive officer Klaus Schwab described three core components of the Great Reset: the first involves creating conditions for a "stakeholder economy"; the second component includes building in a more "resilient, equitable, and sustainable" way—based on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics which would incorporate more green public infrastructure projects; the third component is to "harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution" for public good. In her keynote speech opening the dialogues, International Monetary Fund director Kristalina Georgieva listed three key aspects of the sustainable response: green growth, smarter growth, and fairer growth. At the launch event for the Great Reset, Prince Charles listed key areas for action, similar to those listed in his Sustainable Markets Initiative, introduced in January 2020. These included the re-invigoration of science, technology and innovation, a move towards net zero transitions globally, the introduction of carbon pricing, re-inventing longstanding incentive structures, rebalancing investments to include more green investments, and encouraging green public infrastructure projects.
In June 2020, the theme of the January 2021 51st World Economic Forum Annual Meeting was announced as "The Great Reset", connecting both in-person and online global leaders in Davos, Switzerland with a multi-stakeholder network in 400 cities around the world. The Great Reset was also to be the main theme of the WEF's summit in Lucerne in May 2021.
According to The New York Times, the BBC, The Guardian, Le Devoir and Radio Canada, baseless conspiracy theories spread by American far-right groups linked to QAnon surged at the onset of the Great Reset forum and increased in fervor as leaders such as U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau incorporated ideas based on a "reset" in their speeches.
By mid-April 2020, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 recession, the 2020 Russia–Saudi Arabia oil price war and the resulting "collapse in oil prices", the former Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, described possible fundamental changes in an article in The Economist. Carney said that in a post-COVID world "stakeholder capitalism" will be tested as "companies will be judged by 'what they did during the war,' how they treated their employees, suppliers and customers, by who shared and who hoarded." The "gulf between what markets value and what people value" will close. In a post-COVID world it is reasonable to expect that more people will want improvements in risk management, in social and medical safety nets, and will want more attention paid to scientific experts. This new hierarchy of values will call for a reset on the way we deal with climate change, which, like the pandemic, is a global phenomenon. No one can "self-isolate" from climate change so we all need to "act in advance and in solidarity". In his 2020 BBC Reith Lectures, Carney further developed the theme of value hierarchies as related to three crises—credit, COVID and climate.
According to a May 15, 2020 WEF article, COVID-19 offers an opportunity to "reset and reshape" the world in a way that is more aligned with the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), as climate change, inequality and poverty gained even greater urgency during the pandemic. This includes resetting labour markets, as more people work remotely speeding up the process of the "future of work". The reset will advance work already begun to prepare for the transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution by upskilling and reskilling workers. Another post-COVID concern raised by the WEF is food security including the "risk of disruptions to food supply chains", and the need for "global policy coordination" to prevent "food protectionism from becoming the post-pandemic new normal."
In her June 3, 2020 keynote address opening the Great Reset forum, a joint initiative of the WEC and the Prince of Wales, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that there has been a "massive injection of fiscal stimulus to help countries deal with this crisis" and that it was of "paramount importance that this growth should lead to a greener, smarter, fairer world in the future". Georgieva listed three aspects of the Great Reset; green growth, smarter growth and fairer growth. Government investments and government incentives for private investors could "support low-carbon and climate-resilient growth" such as "planting mangroves, land restoration, reforestation or insulating buildings." With low oil prices the timing was right to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies and introduce carbon pricing to incentivize future investments. The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to shape an economic recovery and the future direction of global relations, economies and priorities.
In June 2020, Klaus Schwab, who founded the World Economic Forum (WEF) in 1971 and is currently its CEO, described the three core components of the Great Reset. The first includes creating conditions for a "stakeholder economy"; improving policies and agreements on taxes, regulations, fiscal policies and trade to result in "fairer outcomes". The second component addresses how the large-scale pandemic spending programs with private investments and pension funds could improve on the old system by building one that is more "resilient, equitable and sustainable" over the long term by "building green urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics". The third component of a Great Reset agenda is to "harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution" for the public good. A July 2020 non-fiction by Schwab and economist Thierry Malleret develops the plan in more detail.
According to Prince Charles, the economic recovery must put the world on a path to sustainability, which would include carbon pricing. Prince Charles emphasized that the private sector would be the main drivers of the plan. The market should adapt to the current reality by aiming for fairer results, ensuring that investments are aimed at mutual progress including accelerating ecologically friendly investments, and to start a fourth industrial revolution, creating digital economic and public infrastructure.
The Brookings Institute described their three-point plan in response to the COVID-19 crisis; response, recovery and reset. For the near term it involves response. In the medium term this involves "rebuilding economic and social activity in a manner that protects public health, promotes societal healing and preserves the environment." The reset is for systems over the long term of establishing through our "collective imagination" a great reset; a "new equilibrium among political, economic, social and environmental systems toward common goals."
Fourth Industrial Revolution
Klaus Schwab used the phrase "Fourth Industrial Revolution" in a 2015 article published by Foreign Affairs, and in 2016, the theme of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, was "Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution". In his 2015 article, Schwab said that the first industrial revolution was powered by "water and steam" to "mechanize production". Through electrical power, the second industrial revolution introduced mass production. Electronics and information technologies automated the production process in the third industrial revolution. In the fourth industrial revolution the lines between "physical, digital and biological spheres" have become blurred and this current revolution, which began with the digital revolution in the mid-1990s, is "characterized by a fusion of technologies." This fusion of technologies included "fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage and quantum computing."
Just before the 2016 annual WEF meeting of the Global Future Councils, Ida Auken—a Danish MP, who was also a young global leader and a member of the Council on Cities and Urbanization, uploaded a blog post that was later published by Forbes imagining how technology could improve our lives by 2030 if the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDG) were realized through this fusion of technologies. Auken imagined how digitized communication, then transportation, accommodation and food, would result in greater access and decreased cost. Since everything was free, including clean energy, there was no need to own products or real estate. In her imagined scenario, many of the crises of the early 21st century — "lifestyle diseases, climate change, the refugee crisis, environmental degradation, completely congested cities, water pollution, air pollution, social unrest and unemployment" — were resolved through new technologies. The article has been criticized as portraying a utopia at the price of a loss of privacy. In response, Auken said that it was intended to "start a discussion about some of the pros and cons of the current technological development."
While the "interest in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies" had "spiked" during the COVID-19 pandemic, fewer than 9% of companies were using machine learning, robotics, touch screens and other advanced technologies. An October 21, 2020 WEF virtual panel discussed how organizations could harness fourth revolution technologies. On January 28, 2021, Davos Agenda virtual panel discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) will "fundamentally change the world". 63% of CEOs believe that "AI will have a larger impact than the Internet."
During 2020, the Great Reset Dialogues resulted in multi-year projects, such as the digital transformation programme where cross-industry stakeholders investigate how the 2020 "dislocative shock" had increased and "accelerated digital transformations". Their report said that, while "digital ecosystems will represent more than $60 trillion in revenue by 2025", "only 9% of executives [in July 2020] say their leaders have the right digital skills".
In a June 11, 2020 meeting with the Prince of Wales and Permanent Representatives to the United Nations from the Commonwealth of Nations, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke regarding the Great Reset initiative. Trudeau said that the Commonwealth, of which Canada is a member nation-state, provides a space for "dialogue and collective action on global issues related to sustainable development" which includes how to "build back stronger, more resilient, and greener economies" in a post-COVID-19 world. This is in line with similar statements made on May 28, 2020, when Trudeau and Andrew Holness, Jamaica's Prime Minister, convened an online meeting of "world leaders and international organizations" to consult on a "global response to the significant economic and human impacts of COVID-19, and advance concrete solutions to the development emergency".
In his August presentation entitled "The Great Reset", at the Victoria Forum 2020, the Governor of the Bank of Canada described how COVID-19 is resulting in a "structural shock with broad impact worldwide". He said that governments, investors in the corporate and financial sector—including central banks, and individuals households, need to evaluate risks and prepare for transitions. He recommended the use of scenario analysis, as a way of describing possible and plausible outcomes as we are faced with a "high degree of uncertainty" in terms of climate change, policy, "technological development", and "evolving consumer and investor preferences".
In a September 29, 2020 six-minute virtual address to the UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Trudeau described how "[b]uilding back better" included supporting the most vulnerable, for example by ensuring "equitable access" to COVID-19 vaccine in developing countries, while also working towards reaching the UN's Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.
The media responded to accusations made by Conservative finance critic MP Pierre Poilievre that Trudeau, who had used the term "reset" in his September UN speech, was "harbouring a very ambitious hidden agenda — not just for Canada but for the world", by saying that the WEF agenda is published on its website. Erin O'Toole, who has been the Leader of the Opposition as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada since August 24, 2020, wrote in a November 21 tweet, "It's hard to believe anyone would look at the carnage caused by COVID-19 and see an opportunity". The message was that "Conservatives want to bring back economic certainty" while Liberals want to "reimagine the economy", which O'Toole described as "a massive and risky experiment." The Post said that Poilievre had launched a petition that gathered 70,000 signatures within three days on November 20 in which he cautioned that the Liberals were secretly planning on "re-engineer[ing] economies and societies to empower the elites at the expense of the people" to remodel Canada to Trudeau's alleged "socialist ideology". Poilievre used phrases from Trudeau's September speech to imply that Trudeau's statement that COVID-19 had "provided an opportunity for a reset" to "reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty inequality and climate change", was evidence that Trudeau was part of the great reset conspiracy theory, that had been circulating for some time.
A January 23, 2021 Financial Times article said that policymakers around the world are anticipating President Biden's "reset on trade, tax and climate." President-elect Joe Biden had announced in November 2020, John Kerry will be appointed as U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, and Kerry was confirmed in this position on inauguration day, January 20, 2021. Kerry had participated in one of the Great Reset Dialogues on how to rebuild the "social contract" in a post-COVID world. Kerry said that COVID-19 offered a "big moment" that opened the possibility for the Great Reset. He said the WEF would play a significant role in refining how to respond to climate change and inequalities that were "laid bare as a consequence of COVID-19." The Heartland Institute's editorial director expressed concerns that President Joe Biden, elected in November 2020, would "bring the Great Reset to the United States" and that "the country [would] never be the same."
An article in Forbes said the WEF's Great Reset agenda was "another example of wealthy, powerful elites salving their consciences with faux efforts to help the masses, and in the process make themselves even wealthier and more powerful."
Naomi Klein, in a December 2020 article in The Intercept, described the WEF idea as a "Great Reset Conspiracy Smoothie." She said that it was simply a "coronavirus-themed rebranding" of things that the WEF was already doing and that it was an attempt by the rich to make themselves look good. Klein wrote that Schwab had given each meeting at Davos a theme since 2003. "The Great Reset is merely the latest edition of this gilded tradition, barely distinguishable from earlier Davos Big Ideas."
In his review of the 2020 book co-authored by Schwab and Malleret—and the Great Reset agenda in general—Ben Sixsmith, a contributor to The Spectator and Quillette, said that the Great Reset—a set of "bad ideas...adopted internationally by some of the richest and most powerful people in the world"—is "more terrifying" than the "sinister plot"—the conspiracy theory spread by "fringes of Right-Wing Twitter", and James Delingpole, who describes it as a 'global communist takeover plan'. Sixsmith described sections of the book as "earnest", glum, dutiful and bland. He questioned the concept of "stakeholder capitalism" as overly vague, allowing "Facebook, IBM, Lockheed Martin et cetera are free to interpret it quite as they wish".
Similarly, in his review of COVID-19: The Great Reset, ethicist Steven Umbrello makes parallel critiques of the agenda. He says that the agenda amounts to nothing other than "a substantial (if not complete) socio-political-economic overhaul" and that such a proposal is a "false dilemma" and that "Schwab and Malleret whitewash a seemingly optimistic future post-Great Reset with buzz words like equity and sustainability even as they functionally jeopardize those admirable goals".
2021 WEF summit
This section needs to be updated.(July 2021)
A November 2020 article said that the Great Reset conspiracy theory was the first in the Presidency of Joe Biden. Mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, the BBC, and The Guardian traced the spread of the latest conspiracy theory on the Great Reset, which had integrated the anti-lockdown conspiracies, to internet personalities and groups, including Candace Owens, Glenn Beck, Fox News' Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, and Paul Joseph Watson, the UK-based editor of Alex Jones' website Infowars where he advanced the New World Order conspiracy theory.
An October 29, 2020, article by Snopes traced the origins of a chain email posted on conspiracy forums from a member of a non-existent committee within the Liberal Party of Canada that leaked Canada's secret "COVID Global Reset Plan" to the QAnon-dedicated "Q Research" board on 8kun.
By November 17, 2020, a short video of Trudeau's speech in which he described key points of the concept of an economic "reset" had gone viral, as it reignited fervor over the Great Reset conspiracy theory that had taken on a new life with the launching of the forum in May. By November 2020, Canadian conservative political commentators such as Ezra Levant and politician Maxime Bernier, who lamented on his webpage on November 17 that he was the only Canadian politician speaking up against the globalist threat with Trudeau as the "world's most prominent defender" of this Great Reset, along with Pierre Poilievre, an MP, were cited in the media for criticizing Trudeau's speech. They claimed the rhetoric resembled that of the Great Reset conspiracy. On the speech, conservative commentator Spencer Fernando stated that, "We want our lives to get back to normal… Instead they offer only more fear, more control, more centralization, and a reshaping of our lives and our economy without even asking us." When Poilievre circulated a petition to "Stop the Reset", Le Devoir headlined an article saying that the Conservative Party was embracing conspiracy theories. The Toronto Star editorial board criticized Poilievre for "giving oxygen" to the baseless conspiracy theory, with some suggesting his post was related to a possible federal election.
On December 13, 2020, Australian advertising executive Rowan Dean promoted the conspiracy theory on Sky News Australia, claiming that "This Great Reset is as serious and dangerous a threat to our prosperity – to your prosperity and your freedom – as we have faced in decades".
The conspiracy theory has also been disseminated by Russian propaganda outlets. According to Oliver Kamm, in an article for the CapX website: "The propaganda apparatus of the Putin regime has for many months published wild allegations from obscure bloggers that the Great Reset is code for oligarchs to amass wealth and control populations."
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We start with the revival of the baseless conspiracy theory, known as the 'Great Reset'. ...Similarly, a French documentary which also refers to a secret global plot has gone viral on YouTube... it promotes a slew of previously debunked claims
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