Klaus Schwab is a German economist and engineer.
He founded the World Economic Forum, the conference where the worldwide elite (Bill Gates, Blackrock, authoritarian governments, and Greta Thunberg) 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 “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 this impact will be.
A few examples of this are the 2008 crisis, the 2011 Japan tsunami, or the blockade of the Suez canal. The virus 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.
These could be avoided with more surveillance.
Surveillance will be 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 explains 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 are 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 due to a lack of power.
Under more leadership from governments, the lives of citizens would improve.
If we wish to resolve today’s societal problems, we will also have to make sacrifices.
3. More Sacrifice
The virus introduced a range of tools (such as tracing, for example) that could be used to tackle other crises such as exclusion, social-economic inequality, and climate change.
These tools could be used in the future.
Social-economic inequalities have been increasing since WWII, so governments will have to raise taxes in order to solve this problem.
Finally, conspicuous consumption is negative for the planet, so governments will have to limit and rethink the ways we’re currently consuming in order to protect the environment.
I’ll be honest, this book is awfully written, and the world it describes is awful too.
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”.
The book is also full of falsehoods regarding the nature and role of governments.
The claim that personal responsibility increased due to a decrease in government size, for example, is wrong. While you could build a house on your plot of land in the past, the number of regulations have today exploded, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to do anything without the government’s approval.
The government is also ubiquitous in our lives: some people today are taken care of by the government from birth to death (daycare, school, university, government job, government pension, public grave).
Lest we forget that the most terrible things on earth are made by governments:
- Any type of crisis (energy, etc)
The underfunding of healthcare and of the education system are consequences of government mismanagement; the lack of jobs is a consequence of government policies (regulations + taxes); and social-economic inequalities have more to do with government fixing consequences instead of looking for the causes of the problem (namely, the nature of the employee-employer system.)
As Nassim Taleb explains, more government worsens the situation because governments don’t have incentives to be efficient like private companies do.
Governments are not high-achieving organizations, and they are accountable to no one.
Practices that could genuinely help society such as:
- The breakup of monopolies
- Lowering barriers to entrepreneurship
- Increasing access to education
- Changing the nature of education from theoretical to world-based
- Limiting junk food and other harmful edible
- Pushing for local consumption
- Decreasing taxes for small businesses.
are not implemented by governments despite the fact they have the means to do so.
So, how, may I ask, will more governmental power fix things exactly?
Overall, the Great Reset is a fascinating book. It shows the elite understands little the common man, who he is, what he wants, what he believes in.
This book is an interesting walk into the psyche of super-powerful people. And if I may formulate a wish, I do certainly hope that this vision of society won’t be the one that eventually comes to life.
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