In recent times, there has been a fair amount of debate surrounding the “Great Reset” initiative suggested by the World Economic Forum. The WEF is an international organisation with a focus on public-private cooperation. The forum engages with political, business, cultural and other social leaders to shape global agendas. Each year in Davos, Switzerland the WEF’s annual four-day conference is attended by business, political leaders and celebrities from all around the world and is strictly an invitation only event. Past celebrity attendees include Leonardo Dicaprio, Matt Damon, Bono, Bill Gates and Angelina Jolie. The theme for the 2021 Davos is the “Great Reset.” Throughout history, there have been successes and also numerous protests at Davos. For instance, anti-globalisation demonstrators have protested at various times given the WEF historically was a strong supporter of globalisation.
According to WEF, anxiety about the worlds social and economic prospects is only intensifying. To achieve a better outcome, the WEF suggests that “the world must act jointly and swiftly to revamp all aspects of our societies and economies, from education to social contracts, or a great reset of capitalism.” The Great Reset conversation began in late May when the WEF announced plans to convene world leaders to discuss climate change and rebuilding the economy.
According to Klaus Schwab the Founder and Executive Chairman of WEF: “The pandemic represents a rare but narrow opportunity to reflect, reimagine, and reset our world.”
The WEF suggests that the most urgent reason for a reset is the COVID-19 crisis which has serious long-term consequences for economic growth, public debt, employment, and human wellbeing. If left unaddressed some believe the world will be left less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile.
The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first involves steering the market toward fairer outcomes, such as changes to wealth taxes and new rules governing intellectual property, trade and competition.1 It is suggested that governments should improve coordination in tax, regulatory and fiscal policy and create conditions for a ‘stakeholder economy.1’ Additionally, they suggest that in times of significant public debt, governments have powerful incentives to pursue such actions and implement long-overdue reforms.
The second component would ensure the shared goal of equality and sustainability is established, for example, through large-scale spending programs to create a more resilient, equitable and sustainable system. Measures could include building green urban infrastructure. In the US, income inequality in disposable income and consumption remains substantial. The costs associated with the COVID-19 recession are being borne disproportionately in low-income populations and some suggest that climate change is also of serious concern. The final priority would be to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, by specifically addressing health and social challenges in particular.1
However, there are some significant conflicting viewpoints. Some argue that the policies the WEF is essentially calling for an amount to global socialism, despite Davos being well attended by billionaires, Fortune 500 CEO’s, other powerful individuals, and major industry organisations. Sky News Host Rowan Dean has suggested that behind its lavish exterior WEF is working with high-profile globalist organisations to introduce online activist movements. He states that “the Australian taxpayer spends a fortune sending top politicians and public servants year in year out in luxury style to attend the WEF which has a plan involving replacing shareholders of big companies with stakeholders, who happen to be left-wing bureaucrats and climate change zealots.”
Maurice Newman from the Spectator Australia suggests that “anyone who fears big government and values free speech should be terrified.” Back in November 2016, the WEF tweeted its predictions for the year 2030 and describes a world where “you’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy”. Rowan Dean suggests that “the Great Reset intends to use the fear generated by coronavirus to reshape the world and achieve net zero emissions”.
In a recent interview, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan says the WEF plan for the Great Reset is “crazy kooky stuff” and states that “you’ll own no property and you’ll be happier apparently.” He states that
“the real battle line is between those who want to allow people to take control of their own lives, communities and states and those who are pushing for one, unified, global order that takes away agency or sovereignty from any individual.”
So just how radical is the Great Reset agenda and is there need for concern? The Great Reset agenda has been quite topical across various social media avenues such as Twitter, Reddit and Facebook. However, it is important to note that the WEF recommendations have not yet been of the subject of any major Australian parliamentary discussion.
Despite this, various parliamentarians in addition to Senator Canavan, have weighed in on the debate surrounding the Great Reset. One Nation leader Pauline Hanson has argued that the plans are “pushing us towards the socialist left Marxist view of the world.” In contrast, Greens senator Janet Rice has stated that “unless we take the pandemic seriously and cooperate globally, dying from the virus will have a much more serious impact on individual and economic freedoms.”
Ultimately, it will be up to Australian Parliaments whether to proceed with Great Reset policy measures and Australians will not be forced to adopt measures that are not supported for by our Parliaments. There is significant concern surrounding the WEF’s “Great Reset” agenda and it is subject to intense debate by many industry leaders and politicians, but there are no specific Great Reset-type measures yet being considered by Australian Parliaments. It will be interesting to see how this idea influences the political debate and proposed policy measures in Australia in the next few years, as it may well end up being very influential.
This article was prepared by Adept Economics Research Assistant Taylor-Rose Hull and Director Gene Tunny. For further information please get in touch with us on 07 3085 7417.