The Great Reset
The Great Reset has caused waves around the internet. What is it, and how does it affect you?
Covid-19 has presented the world with a unique opportunity.
The Great Reset has become the latest conspiracy du jour on the internet.
The great reset is not a set of adopted policies or an international treaty. It is a discussion that the World Economic Forum began during the covid-19 crisis to think about the world in a post-pandemic world. Many people, like Bloomberg, are comparing the end of World War II to the present. Certainly, as many people have died. The world changed dramatically in nearly every way after the war. The WEF proposes a more managed set of changes in this new paradigm.
Even before the pandemic set in, the world had some pressing problems that needed to be addressed. While less than it was 20 years ago before the millennium development goals, global inequality was still staggering. Economic inequality was a problem worldwide, from the poorest farmers in Asia to the struggling working class in the developed world. Even the CEO of Wal-Mart remarked that it was time to remake global capitalism.
Global capitalism was under attack long before the pandemic, especially in developed countries. The reality is that globalization has been wonderful for global incomes and poverty, but the working class of the developed world has paid the price for this progress. For many, it has become obvious that the economy does not work for everyone. In its current form, the economy works very well for those with wealth and assets. If you derive wealth from labour, the economy decidedly does not work for you (thanks, Piketty). I take that one step further and add that things are this way: capitalism seeks a “frictionless return” or the ability to make money for as little input as possible. This is why banks and other financial institutions have grown so large: they can make money without buying machines or employing many people. This principle also plays into our speeding progress on automation, which will be another economic loser for the working class on a global scale.
Corporations have become as much a part of political conversations as any other institution. However, their political agnosticism has real-world, economic consequences. Over the summer, 130 countries agreed to minimum global tax rates to disincentivize companies from stashing profits overseas to avoid taxes. This treatment benefited developed countries that have been missing out on tax revenue from their biggest companies for the past 30 years with the liberalization of global capital.
Globalization, as a trading and supply strategy, was upended by the pandemic. As borders shuttered, goods were trapped in countries where they were manufactured and far from where they needed to be consumed. Wealthy nations were surprised to find out that the personal protective equipment they needed was no longer made anywhere in their countries, forcing them to go to extraordinary means to acquire it from overseas, especially China and India.
In the years leading up to the pandemic, the world was already undergoing a sort of global political reset. History will likely blame part of this on Donald Trump’s foreign policy and rhetoric that frightened overseas allies like Germany and the Baltic states. Still, the reality is that the world was already changing as Donald Trump took office in 2017. China has become an economic powerhouse, and its military and political ambitions are spreading beyond its borders and its own region. Although Hong Kong got most of the press, the reality is that China has been pushing into the Middle East and Africa since 2012. Their new Belt and Road initiative, which aims to create a new silk road from Beijing to Turkey, is an ambitious infrastructure project that will place China in direct competition with Russia in central Asia and bring Chinese trade and influence right to the doorstep of the West.
The pandemic accelerated these trends and slowed them down in other ways. Brexit has irreparably changed the European Union. The UK and EU are still trying to figure out various details to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland that would cause violence, ending the peace caused by the Good Friday agreement.
Opportunities to remake the economy: green everything
With the threat of climate change from theoretical to real, the push to remake the global industrialized economy without carbon or at least net zero has become obvious. This summer, much of Western Europe experienced historic flooding. The western US is in a terrible drought that could last for years. The weather worldwide is changing thanks to a modest increase in temperature. This has brought climate change to the forefront. The Great Reset plan is to speed up the transition and set goals for net-zero carbon emissions. Some countries have set aggressive goals for 2030, while others have set goals for 2050. To achieve these goals, energy must be produced in ways that move away from fossil fuels. This touches every part of society, from how people heat and cool their homes to getting around their cities and towns. The need is also greater than just making everything electric. We also need to reform many of the chemicals we use in industrial processes, especially agriculture. Rather than shipping food worldwide, more needs to be grown locally, thus reducing the transportation of foodstuffs. Different national governments are taking on the challenge in different ways.
The pandemic showed that a reduction of emissions had a net positive impact on the environment. When cruise ships and tourists left Venice, dolphins began to play in the clear water of the canals. Species of every variety had record reproduction due to humans not invading their habitats. Sea turtles had open beaches to nest, and their numbers improved. Even animals in African preserves had more offspring than usual when people were not visiting. The pandemic resulted in a 7% reduction in emissions. People working from home reduced commutes and miles driven by cars which is a huge area of emissions, especially in the United States. It proved what was possible. However, telling everyone to stay home is not a sustainable long-term plan.
The Great Reset aims to find a way to reduce emissions while preserving civilization as we’ve come to know it. New investors focused on Environmental, social and corporate governance (ESGs) are making in-roads into companies large and small, focusing their boards on sustainable growth that is smart for the environment. Even Exxon-Mobil, one of the oil industry majors, now has two ESG-backed board members. This is the beginning of re-making capitalism with the global good in mind. Rather than putting profits, business is beginning to shift. As The Great Reset white paper says, “Justice is coming into the business lexicon.”
Harnessing Capital for Popular Good
Recently, 130 nations agreed to global minimum corporate tax rates to stop companies from using overseas shell companies to hide their profits from the countries they are headquartered or with. Companies have been using the free flow of global capital to shield profits from taxation. This is the beginning of international collaboration to ensure that companies can’t exist outside the law and contribute to the societies where they operate.
There is also the idea that companies should do social good and make money but that profits and shareholders should be the primary goal of any business. Although this ethos seemingly saved companies in the 1980s when Jack Welch introduced the idea, it removed the considerations of other stakeholders. This new capitalism, called stakeholder capitalism, means that when making decisions, companies should consider all the stakeholders, including employees and the community where they operate.
One of the things mentioned in The Great Reset white paper is how society has realized that we are more interdependent than independent. One thing that needs to reset is our hyper-individualized world that works competitively, not collaboratively and is fueled by exploitation. The paper posits, “What if people saw themselves as citizens, not consumers?”
The first step of The Great Reset is remaking ourselves. To see ourselves in a new light, as part of a greater ecosystem of humanity and nature. How might that change our actions? People fled cities during the pandemic, especially if they were working from home. Not being around other people seemed to be a healthy move. The reality is that cities are dynamic and wonderful places because of our interactions with others. Companies gravitate towards cities for the concentration of talent. Given our connected online environment, this may change. Companies could soon hire talent from all over the country. These shifts may have political effects as the demographics of some states change. The apportionment from the 2020 census has already shifted things around the country. That’s not the only way that we remake ourselves.
The whole idea of seeing ourselves as citizens and not consumers is an investment in greater society. The pandemic has shown us that people are not as ready to go along with government policy in many nations. Rebuilding trust in political processes and institutions is a vital step in remaking society. The pathway forward on that is unclear on either side of the Atlantic, but things like income inequality are certainly at the forefront of that discussion. Workers are voting with their feet when it comes to wages and benefits. Economies must adjust to this new reality.
Climate change figures widely in these discussions as well. One of the most notable things about the early lockdowns was how nature thrived without humans. The canals in Venice were clear and hosted a variety of sea life. Global emissions of carbon dropped by 20%. Even nature preserves saw record births of animals due to a lack of tourists. For scientists, it was a window to look at how the planet might recover when humanity makes a real effort to repair the climate. The news is good: the planet can recover in good order and quickly. One of the biggest aspects of the Great Reset is the opportunity to build a greener and more sustainable society. That’s thinking like a citizen, not just a consumer.
Navigating the Reset
If you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering what all this talk about The Great Reset means for your investments and business. As of now, not much. Why is this? The Great Reset is only a suggestion. It’s a plan or a collection of ideas. It’s not any policy anyone is implementing right now. However, it is important to remember that the economy is changing. The pandemic does offer an opportunity within its chaos to plot a different future. This is especially true as the pandemic continues into 2021. As of this writing, we’re not out of the woods yet. These sorts of events always shift economics. This was true after both world wars. A Covid-10 pandemic is a similar event. Machines will replace many jobs as companies struggle to find workers at wages they are willing to pay. Other jobs will move to work-from-home permanently. Workers will continue to pressure companies for more flexibility. Economically, we have some tough days ahead. The US is battling inflation for the first time since the late 1970s. Europe is still reeling from pandemic measures, and Britain is navigating economic changes and Brexit at the same time. These aren’t the only changes coming to the economy.
You’ll Own Nothing and Be Happy.
The most controversial idea to come out of the Great Reset dialogue is rooted in a new culture where rather than owning things, we rent them for their use and return them. This idea didn’t start as part of The Great Reset. One of the points made by one of its authors in 2018 when he made 10 predictions. This is not a new idea. I’ve seen this idea bandied about since at least 2011 (that I can remember), and it’s never quite taken off as much as experts and futurists had hoped. The idea that people will be happy renting clothing they wear regularly is a bridge too far, in my opinion. Over the past decade, it has been obvious that Uber has not killed car ownership, nor has the delivery of food or food services killed grocery stores.
Online, people have seized onto this phrase with vitriol. A quick look through any youtube comment section, and you’ll see this phrase repeated repeatedly by commenters trying to prove that The Great Reset is out to change our lives and take away all our possessions and personal property. This isn’t quite the case. The idea is that people won’t need to own something to use it. But as I said, this idea is not new, and it’s hard to see society making that shift in the next nine and a half years, especially given the generational anxiety around the pandemic. Would you borrow something that might spread Coronavirus? Although Covid-19 doesn’t spread on surfaces, people will still be nervous about it.
Ultimately, this idea has much more to do with making more resources accessible to more people than at present, at least according to the author of the popular video. Expanding micro-financing for the poorest, government programs to reduce poverty, and new services from the tech industry will likely be the biggest new changes to come out of this idea.
You’ll eat less meat for the planet.
This is something that is already somewhat baked in. Agriculture, particularly meat production, contributes to climate change more than air travel. The Great Reset has several goals around climate, including an international carbon tax. Eating meat is part of their climate goals. If global meat consumption went down (rather than going up as it is right now), carbon emissions from growing feed and meat production would decrease accordingly. Plant-based and lab-grown meat substitutes are already beginning to make their way into the marketplace. Convincing people to adopt these new foods instead of their natural counterparts is the next great challenge. However, reducing meat consumption can be a big part of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, as outlined in the Paris Accords.
According to experts, there will be 1 Billion people displaced by climate change in the coming decades. These people will all need somewhere to go. The World Economic Forum states that countries less affected by climate change must welcome these new refugees into their countries and societies. The coming refugee crisis must be managed by NGOs and IGOs (like the world health organization, the UN, and the Red Cross) so that the transition does not end up in a mass panic of disaster like the Syrian refugee crisis or what happened in Afghanistan as the US exited the country. This is a refugee crisis that will not be accidental or unknown. This is a problem that we know we have come to.
How does it affect your money
The Great Reset will not directly affect anyone’s financial future. It’s only a set of suggestions, predictions, and ideas. However, it is important to consider these things for long-term investing potential. For example, companies bringing meat alternatives to the market with lower meat consumption might be an area for long-term investment. The same goes for companies committed to reducing carbon outputs and their footprint to help meet climate goals by 2050. ESG investors are already making these market moves. On a personal level, you might see local policy changes as governments step up to address the climate crisis. These potential futures offer opportunities for gain and loss. Only time will tell how it will all work out.
The Great Reset is not a dangerous conspiracy or the plan of a global elite to rob the world of everything. Rather, it is a set of ideas of a potential future. It is a potential pathway forward to improve human life on this planet and ensure its long-term viability in a changing climate. There’s nothing to be afraid of as such. It presents some interesting ideas for market moves over the long term. The world has changed because of the pandemic, and that is an opportunity to reject the old normal and embrace something new.
An unfinished coloring book (A Short Story Collection) by Cameron Cowan
an unfinished coloring book is a collection of short stories from Cameron Cowan. These short stories explore dramatic moments in the lives of everyday people. The collection also features the exclusive release of The RKO Killer: An I.G. Farben Mystery.
The collection includes:
What happens to the employees of a diner that are being torn down to make way for a new interstate? This is their last night in The Diner.
The Swedish Connection
Two artists, one relationship failing, and a really bad bottle of alcohol. Two men talk about their lives, their hurts, and their problems over one really bad bottle of vodka that they can't stop drinking.
The Kingdom of Nordstrom
The world has ended and the air had gone sour. One drifter finds a colony of people surviving in a derelict mall in Tacoma. Will he stay in this new kingdom or will he continue to wander the highways?
America Discount World
Set in the near future, America's cultural heritage is on sale to the highest bidder. Dale has made a life selling off America's cultural heritage and when a soon-to-be-divorced reporter comes to interview him about it; a new relationship just may form.
The Classy Drug Dealer
Andrej leads a quiet life running his dry cleaning and laundrette. However, it is only a front for his real business. When the consequences of his actions walk through the door one night, Andrej is forced to sacrifice everything, even his own life.
Set amid the California housing crisis, 4 tenants in an aging building try to figure out how to survive in a world that is trying to kill poor people and preventing them from surviving and living.
The cold war is on and America is building its nuclear arsenal. Set in the years at the end of Vietnam, one man gets a job making nuclear triggers at a Colorado plant. This is his story.
What is a teenager is a bland suburb supposed to do on the weekends? In this story, two boys find a great place to party and we learn about the secret and seedy underworld of the American suburb.
Topher has just a few hours to get to the lottery office in Olympia, WA to turn in a lottery ticket that will change his life. There's only one problem: he has no way to get there. Will he make it? Can he get the money in time?
The RKO Killer
In this collection exclusive, Isaac Farben is hired by KYW radio in Chicago during the roaring 1920s to find a criminal who is making headlines for an exclusive radio interview. Farben travels with his trusty assistants Mr. and Mrs. Rustin and Anna Fowler to southern Illinois to find this man and bring him back to the radio station.