Klaus Schwab is a German economist and engineer. He founded the World Economic Forum, the conference where the worldwide elite meets up each year in Davos, the luxury Swiss ski station, to talk about poverty and the struggle of the working class.
Schwab is also the author of “The Great Reset” which came out in June 2020, in the midst of the pandemic.
The book is supposed to give you a glimpse of what the future of human civilization will look like.
I read the book, curious to see what Schwab got right and wrong, and how he viewed the ideal society.
Here are the three major trends of the book.
1. More Surveillance
Today’s world has three characteristics: it is interdependent, it is fast, and it is complex.
So complex in fact that it is beyond our understanding, hence our difficulty to anticipate what Nassim Taleb calls “Black Swan events”.
This interdependent complexity has made society bigger than the sum of its parts. We are no longer questioning if one event in a part of the world will have consequences on other parts — but how strong will the impact be.
A few examples of this are the 2008 crisis, the 2011 Japan tsunami, or the blockade of the Panama canal. Covid is only an event from the same series.
This interconnectivity is not making society stronger or more resilient, but weaker. Impacts are not isolated when catastrophes hit, but ripple and harm other parts of the world that at first view played no parts in the original event.
As interconnectivity increases, we can expect more of these Black Swan events, and more rippling in the world.
“Fortunately”, these could be avoided with more surveillance, according to Klaus Schwab.
More biological surveillance to avoid the spreading of new viruses.
More surveillance of people for their own protection.
More surveillance of the world so that we can better anticipate “Black Swan” events.
Surveillance, which will enable people to be safer, will be logically carried out by governments, which will increase in size and volume.
2. More Government
Schwab begins with the following quote:
“Good government is the difference between living and dying”.
He subsequently establishes the “fact” that governments’ size has been decreasing since WWII and that people have been in charge of more and more aspects of their lives.
This has led to countless problems, among which exclusion, social-economic inequality, environmental disaster, and pretty much everything else.
As a result, people started losing faith in governmental institutions that have not been doing a great job.
More government! Of course!
Governments’ poor track record isn’t because of incompetence or corruption, but because of a lack of power, according to Schwab.
Under the leadership of governments, he believes the lives of citizens would be much better.
The social security net would be stronger; society would be more inclusive thanks to laws forcing you to deal with people you don’t want to deal with; the world would be more environmentally friendly with the establishment of “incentives” to encourage you and me to “consume greener”; corporations would be under state jurisdiction so that “shareholders become stakeholders”.
Simply put, more government intervention in your life will not take your freedom and initiatives away — it will make you much happier!
The government should educate you, cure you, give you a job, give you a pension, and bury you once you’re dead.
And even if it’s already doing all of these things in most places, it should be doing them even more.
But to ensure that all of your compatriots enjoy the same quality of government services regardless of their private contribution to society, you will have to make sacrifices.
3. More Sacrifice
COVID introduced a range of tools that could be used to tackle other crises such as exclusion, social-economic inequality, and climate change (aka lockdowns, or the restriction of liberties in favor of government-mandated actions).
As such, you may soon be asked to make more sacrifices for “the common good”, such as staying home so you don’t use your car.
But it’s not all.
Lack of government has made the rich richer and the poor poorer, as we have already seen.
The only way, according to Schwab, that social-economic inequality can be reversed is with more taxes.
Not more jobs, but more taxes.
Entrepreneurs, executives, and high-performing employees should be taxed more to help those that don’t have the chance to…work as hard.
Finally, the last way you will be asked to sacrifice yourself for the greater good is through the way you consume.
Conspicuous consumption is negative for the planet, and you simply won’t have the chance to own as many goods and objects as before, even if your contribution to society gave you a salary high enough to buy them.
Your individual consumption will be controlled so as to limit your impact on the environment.
Simply put, you will have nothing, and you will be happy.
Klaus Schwab’s book might as well have been called “how to peacefully seize power in a democratic country”.
It is not only full of historical, economic, and social inaccuracies, but it overtly promotes more taxes and less liberty, presented as “good for the well-being of the people”.
For example, Schwab justifies mass lockdowns by the fact that if we hadn’t established them, too many people would have gotten sick and the economy would have collapsed completely.
No words about mental health, physical abuse, or basic human rights. They’re all sacrificed on the altar of economic performances.
His further call for “more government” is downright laudable, hypocritical, or tragically ignorant (which I doubt).
His claim that responsibility increased due to a decrease in government size is absolutely false, and this is proven by the number of civil servants, the number of laws that rule society, the growing deficit, or simply the budget allocated to governments yearly. All of them have only been rising.
Furthermore, more government risks not to improve any situation, but to make it much worse.
Indeed, governments don’t have the reputation to be high-achieving organizations.
Let’s have a look at some examples.
The war in Irak, the war in Afghanistan, the Uighurs in Xinjiang, the war in Libya, the war in Yemen, the war in Syria, the seizure of Crimea, Tchernobyl, the current energy crisis, and broadly, corruption, violence, arbitrary ruling, deficits, and inflation are mistakes only governments can make.
The underfunding of healthcare and of the education system that Schwab denounces are consequences of government management; the lack of jobs is a consequence of government policies; and social-economic inequalities have more to do with government fixing consequences instead of looking for the causes of the problem.
Regarding practices that could genuinely help society, such as the breakup of monopolies (Amazon), lowering barriers to entrepreneurship, increasing access to education, limiting junk food and other harmful edible, or pushing for local consumption, Klaus Schwab says nothing of it.
He’d rather you go vegan and eat pineapple flown from Brazil than eat local regenerative-grown meat.
Because a better world is not Klaus Schwab’s intention.
Make no mistakes, he does not fight so you can go to the hospital for free when your stomach hurts.
Schwab does not live in your world. He’s part of the worldwide global elite, the people you make money for in exchange for a meager salary that you’re giving back during the month anyway (through your rent, your food, your gas, and your taxes.)
Schwab does not want you to be happy and safe. He wants you to be silent and inoffensive so you don’t revolt and challenge his hegemony.
Overall, the Great Reset is a fascinating book. It shows the elite truly has no respect nor any type of consideration for the people that serve them (you and me.)
It also shows that if you’re not careful and fight for your rights, they will easily be taken away for the sake of “the greater good”.
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