The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an imperialist think-tank that operates as the nexus for global monopoly corporations, ultra-rich members of the bourgeoisie and politicians. It is known for its annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland, where political leaders, large capitalists, and academics gather to discuss and shape policies and agendas that primarily serve bourgeois interests and discuss issues facing global capitalism.
Founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, the WEF claims to be committed to improving the state of the world by engaging with various stakeholders to shape global, regional, and industry agendas. However, in reality it is a platform to discuss and promote policies that favor capital accumulation, often at the expense of the working class and the global South. The WEF's exclusive nature, limited to those with immense wealth and influence, underscores its class character.
In recent times, the group has favored "progressive" policies that aim to stabilize the decaying capitalist order such as prioritizing standard of living over GDP Growth, reducing income inequality, dealing with climate change etc. This is much like how the Rockefeller family supported FDR's social-democratic policies to stabilize the USA from the Great Depression. However, despite their rhetoric for 'stakeholder capitalism' over 'shareholder capitalism' (neoliberalism), not much has been accomplished in the way of 'reforming' capitalism because doing so would reduce capitalist profits.
It has become a boogeyman for right-wing reactionaries who complain about the ultra-rich dominating the so-called 'globalist' economic order (a dog whistle often associated with anti-Semitic views).
'The Great Reset'
The term "Great Reset" is often associated with the World Economic Forum. The term has been misunderstood by right-wingers in many ways. It is not a plan by the 'elite' to take freedoms away but rather a set of proposals put forward by the capitalists and their collaborators to save capitalism from itself.
The concept of the Great Reset emerged in the context of the economic and societal disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was also around the period where the death of George Floyd caused widespread civil unrest mainly in the United States. The bourgeoisie viewed this as a potential threat to the capitalist order and tried to find ways to protect capitalism from being overthrown.
Themes of the 'Great Reset'
- One of the main themes of the Great Reset is the urgent need to address climate change and environmental sustainability. This includes transitioning to renewable energy sources, reducing carbon emissions, and adopting more 'sustainable' business practices. However, the carbon emissions keeps growing and fossil fuels continue to maintain the greatest share in energy production. Socialist countries like China have invested heavily in renewable energy sources. China has invested nearly $546 billion in renewable energy, four times the amount invested by the U.S. Western news outlets however continue to criticize China for its carbon emissions despite the U.S. having the largest trade deficit with China. Despite its control over the dollar and abundant resources, the U.S. has not made sufficient investments in renewable energy, both domestically and in the Global South.
- Another key aspect is promoting 'inclusive economic growth,' which aims to reduce income inequality and provide better opportunities for all, including marginalized communities. This is a way to mitigate the worst excesses of capitalism in a period where income inequality is at its highest in order to prevent revolts. However, not much has been done to reduce inequality. None of the proposed ideas, such as increased taxation and foreign aid, have been realized.
- The Great Reset also emphasizes the importance of 'accelerating the digital transformation of industries and societies' to improve efficiency, innovation, and access to services. This concept by technocratic capitalists revolves around digitizing everything. However, there are issues; for instance, if the government mandates online registration for welfare and other services, and makes it difficult to access these services without technology, it will create obstacles for individuals without access to technology to receive benefits. It is similar to the capitalist idea of turning everything into an online platform without having any real productive assets.
- KLAUS SCHWAB (2020). COVID-19: THE GREAT RESET.
- "CO2 Emissions". Our World in Data. Archived from the original.
- Our World in Data.
- Sara Schonhardt. "China Invests $546 Billion in Clean Energy, Far Surpassing the U.S." Scientific American.