Gary North (www.garynorth.com), June 13, 2020
After 60 years of listening to lefties announcing their plans for a New World Order, I have learned to use such announcements as an opportunity to remind myself that these buffoons are really losers. They are intellectual losers. They are institutional losers.
I realize that there are conservatives who take these people seriously, but I do not. I have seen too many of them come and go. Their grand schemes never get implemented, and the bits and pieces of their schemes that do get implemented by governments are then used by government bureaucrats to feather their nests.
The New World Order is a phrase, not reality. It is rhetoric without a plan.
Here is a recent example. It was written by the man who founded the World Economic Forum half a century ago, Klaus Schwab. The WEF is the annual meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, where about 1500 of the movers and shakers of the world get together to schmooze, listen to boring speeches, spend what the rest of us would regard as fortunes on accommodations, and then complain that their hotels were not close enough to where the action was. These people are rich, but they are as clueless as the rest of us.
Nobody is more clueless than Klaus Schwab. His essay is here.
He sees the pandemic as an opportunity to extend the non-existent New World Order.
COVID-19 lockdowns may be gradually easing, but anxiety about the world’s social and economic prospects is only intensifying. There is good reason to worry: a sharp economic downturn has already begun, and we could be facing the worst depression since the 1930s. But, while this outcome is likely, it is not unavoidable.
To achieve a better outcome, the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts and working conditions. Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed. In short, we need a “Great Reset” of capitalism.
This is rhetoric. These people have been calling for this kind of reconstruction of the world’s order ever since the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919. Out of that conference came the League of Nations, which had no power. Then, two decades later, German resentment against the treaty led to World War II. Out of that came the United Nations, which also has no power. There is a pattern here.
Who are “we”? He doesn’t say. Why are the world’s citizens supposed to trust this unnamed “we”?
How, exactly, is the world supposed to jointly act? There is no world government. There are about 200 nations, whose political leaders want retain their power. They don’t want to share it with foreigners.
The justification for all this is the pandemic. The pandemic so far has produced a slight blip in the death rates. The economic problems have been mainly the result of government lockdowns. But he does not see it this way.
National governments are in disarray. They did this to themselves.
This will have serious long-term consequences for economic growth, public debt, employment, and human wellbeing. According to the Financial Times, global government debt has already reached its highest level in peacetime. Moreover, unemployment is skyrocketing in many countries: in the US, for example, one in four workers have filed for unemployment since mid-March, with new weekly claims far above historic highs. The International Monetary Fund expects the world economy to shrink by 3% this year – a downgrade of 6.3 percentage points in just four months.
The governments did this to us. The pandemic did not.
The following is good news for us, but bad news for the NWO crowd.
All of this will exacerbate the climate and social crises that were already underway. Some countries have already used the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to weaken environmental protections and enforcement. And frustrations over social ills like rising inequality – US billionaires’ combined wealth has increased during the crisis – are intensifying.
Power is slipping away from these people. They are panic-stricken. Trillions of dollars are going to traditional boondoggles, not fighting climate change. Climate change is on the back burner, which is turned off. It is yesterday’s crisis. It is old hat.
Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile. Incremental measures and ad hoc fixes will not suffice to prevent this scenario. We must build entirely new foundations for our economic and social systems.
These people have had over a century to put all this together. Yet it is obvious that the world is in complete disarray. This old man sees it slipping away, and he is desperate to do something about it. But all he can do is publish an article on his own website. He doesn’t have any power.
These crises will be left unaddressed. They have been left unaddressed for 30 years. No national government has done anything about climate change. The United States has pulled out of the agreement. It’s just a PR stunt anyway. But it’s all they’ve got. It really is. They don’t have any other crisis around which to mobilize governments, other than the pandemic. Schwab is trying one last time to make hay while the sun shines. It isn’t going to work. Nobody is paying any attention.
As a man trying to make hay while the sun shines, he is grasping at straws.
The level of cooperation and ambition this implies is unprecedented. But it is not some impossible dream. In fact, one silver lining of the pandemic is that it has shown how quickly we can make radical changes to our lifestyles. Almost instantly, the crisis forced businesses and individuals to abandon practices long claimed to be essential, from frequent air travel to working in an office.
There isn’t any cooperation. Trump did not want the lockdowns. The governors independently locked down their states. The experts on the pandemic are in disarray. They don’t have a plan. They don’t agree with each other on anything. Internationally, every nation has had a different approach, and almost none of them has been successful. The pandemic continues to spread. It’s nothing like the flu of 1918, but it is a testimony to the inability of governments to stop it from spreading. The pandemic is pointing to the fact that governments are impotent to do anything about something important.
Likewise, populations have overwhelmingly shown a willingness to make sacrifices for the sake of health-care and other essential workers and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly. And many companies have stepped up to support their workers, customers, and local communities, in a shift toward the kind of stakeholder capitalism to which they had previously paid lip service.
Populations have been forced into their homes by politicians. They are now demanding that they be let out. There is no agreement on what should be done. If anything testifies against the existence of any kind of coherent international plan, the responses of nations and individuals and businesses to the pandemic should offer tremendous proof.
Clearly, the will to build a better society does exist. We must use it to secure the Great Reset that we so badly need. That will require stronger and more effective governments, though this does not imply an ideological push for bigger ones. And it will demand private-sector engagement every step of the way.
This man is calling for fascism: the ever-praised government-business alliance. This is crony capitalism on an international scale. Crony capitalists are the people who show up every year at Davos. They are the billionaires who have profited from the government-business alliance. This man is coming in the name of some kind of reset to make this international and not just national. Surprise, surprise.
He comes in the name of government-imposed fairness and equality. We have heard this blather ever since 1897, when Vilfredo Pareto announced to the world that Western Europe was a society in which 20% of the population owned 80% of the assets. That 20/80 distribution has not fundamentally changed, except perhaps to get even more unequal. Nevertheless, the author continues with his rhetoric.
The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes. To this end, governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.” At a time of diminishing tax bases and soaring public debt, governments have a powerful incentive to pursue such action.
Moreover, governments should implement long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes. Depending on the country, these may include changes to wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.
Exactly which governments are going to do this? In the midst of a pandemic and massive government deficits, which governments are going to implement such a program?
Where is such a program written down? Nowhere. No economist has offered it. It’s pie-in-the-sky by-and-by.
The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. Here, the large-scale spending programs that many governments are implementing represent a major opportunity for progress. The European Commission, for one, has unveiled plans for a €750 billion ($826 billion) recovery fund. The US, China, and Japan also have ambitious economic-stimulus plans.
There will be no more of these large-scale programs. They are dead on arrival. Governments have to keep their existing welfare state programs functioning. There is no extra money for some vast system of restructuring according to a nonexistent plan.
Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run. This means, for example, building “green” urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.
The green agenda has gone nowhere for three decades. Why does he think it will go somewhere now?
The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. During the COVID-19 crisis, companies, universities, and others have joined forces to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and possible vaccines; establish testing centers; create mechanisms for tracing infections; and deliver telemedicine. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector.
What we have seen since mid-March is a bunch of bureaucratic chickens with their heads cut off. There is no plan. There is no agreement. There are no testing centers. There is no vaccine. There are no diagnostics that everyone has adopted. There is complete chaos. He wants to use this chaos as an example of why the public should turn over vast power and vast amounts of money to crony capitalists. It isn’t going to happen.
He ends his string of platitudes and dreams that never come true with this:
The COVID-19 crisis is affecting every facet of people’s lives in every corner of the world. But tragedy need not be its only legacy. On the contrary, the pandemic represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world to create a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.
This man is 83 years old. He has a doctorate in economics. He has a doctorate in engineering. Neither of those doctorates has given him any advantage in coming to grips with the political reality around him.
He is calling for a transformation of the world economic and political system. Yet we are seeing the disintegration of the dreams that he and his crony capitalist buddies have been promoting for half a century. The government deficits are massive. The coronavirus is still with us. The experts are in disarray. There is nothing even remotely resembling the existence of a comprehensive plan to deal with the coronavirus, let alone restructuring the world’s economy and political order.
This man is representative of the mindset. These people are utopians. They have been given too much money by governments. They have been given too much power by governments. They have made a mess of it ever since the end of World War II.
Their dreams and schemes have now blown up in their faces. So, they call for more power and more money. They are not going to get either one.
Every spare dollar is going to go to extend the welfare state that has been created since mid-March. If the Democrats take over, they’re not going to waste time or money trying to put together a national plan to fit with a nonexistent international plan along the lines verbally sketched by Klaus Schwab. There will be pork galore, but there won’t be a New World Order.