Details of ‘The Great Reset‘ came as nations began to reopen their economies following a global lockdown. The extent to which Covid-19 has dominated every facet of existence – largely because of unrepentant media coverage – has encouraged people to focus exclusively on what life will be like after the virus. For many, what came before now seems inconsequential. It is anything but.
For example, three months before Covid-19 took hold, a global pandemic exercise – ‘Event 201‘ – was held in New York City which simulated the outbreak of a coronavirus that originated in Brazil. The scenario focused on a novel zoonotic virus that ‘transmitted from bats to pigs to people that eventually becomes efficiently transmissible from person to person, leading to a severe pandemic.’ Whilst initially some countries managed to control the outbreak, it ended up spreading and ‘eventually no country can maintain control‘.
The simulation culminated at the eighteen month mark with 65 million people having died and severe economic and societal repercussions. But that was not the end of it. As the scenario explained, ‘the pandemic will continue at some rate until there is an effective vaccine or until 80-90 % of the global population has been exposed. From that point on, it is likely to be an endemic childhood disease.’
Event 201 also used the exercise as an opportunity to warn that ‘the next severe pandemic will not only cause great illness and loss of life but could also trigger major cascading economic and societal consequences that could contribute greatly to global impact and suffering.’
That pandemic arrived in the shape of Covid-19, just weeks after the conclusion of Event 201.
On examining the make up of Event 201, we find that the three institutions at the forefront of the simulation were the World Economic Forum, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
It is through the WEF that ‘The Great Reset‘ was launched, in what the group said was in response to Covid-19. Johns Hopkins has been the go to source for the number of global infections and deaths thanks to their newly established ‘Coronavirus Resource Center‘. And then you have The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has been a driving force behind efforts for a vaccination to be found and disseminated worldwide.
Event 201 consisted of fifteen ‘players‘ that represented, amongst others, airlines and medical corporations. Out of these fifteen, six are direct partners of the World Economic Forum. One is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with the other five being Marriott International (hospitality), Henry Schein (medical distribution), Edelman (communications), NBCUniversal Media and Johnson & Johnson.
To be clear, these organisations do not all operate at the same level within the WEF. For instance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Johnson and Johnson are ‘Strategic Partners‘, the highest stage for a participant. Only 100 global companies are Strategic Partners, and to qualify for an invitation they must all have ‘alignment with forum values‘. Not only that, but Strategic Partners ‘shape the future through extensive contribution to developing and implementing Forum projects and championing public-private dialogue.’
Beneath the Strategic Partners are the ‘Strategic Partner Associates‘, which is the category that NBCUniversal Media fall under. Strategic Partner Associates include some of the largest businesses in the world, who are ‘actively involved in shaping the future of industries, regions and systemic issues‘. According to the WEF, associates also believe in ‘corporate global citizenship‘.
Next come the ‘Partners‘ which comprise of Marriott International, Henry Schein and Edelman. Partners are described by the WEF as ‘world class companies‘ who possess a ‘strong interest in developing systemic solutions to key challenges‘.
Finally, there are the ‘Associate Partners‘. Whilst they participate in ‘forum communities‘ and have a ‘strong interest in addressing challenges affecting operations and society at large‘, none were present at Event 201.
Every major industry in the world, be it banking, agriculture, healthcare, media, retail, travel and tourism, is directly connected to the World Economic Forum through corporate membership.
What is evident is that the deeper a corporation’s ties with the WEF, the greater its ability to ‘shape‘ the group’s agenda. Which brings us to what the WEF call their Strategic Intelligence platform – the mechanism which brings all the interests that the WEF concentrate on together.
They describe the platform as ‘a dynamic system of contextual intelligence that enables users to trace relationships and interdependencies between issues, supporting more informed decision-making‘.
As for why the WEF developed Strategic Intelligence, they say it was to ‘help you (businesses) understand the global forces at play and make more informed decisions‘.
Growing the platform is an ever present goal. The WEF are always looking for new members to become part of Strategic Intelligence by joining the ‘New Champions Community‘. But they will only allow a new organisation on board if they ‘align with the values and aspirations of the World Economic Forum in general‘. A 12 month ‘New Champions Membership‘ comes in at €24,000.
In arguing for the relevance of Strategic Intelligence, the WEF ask:
How can you decipher the potential impact of rapidly unfolding changes when you’re flooded with information—some of it misleading or unreliable? How do you continuously adapt your vision and strategy within a fast-evolving global context?
In other words, Strategic Intelligence is both an antidote to ‘fake news‘ and an assembly for corporations to position themselves as global pioneers in a rapidly changing political and technological environment. That’s the image they attempt to convey at least.
We can find more involvement from global institutions via Strategic Intelligence. The platform is ‘co-curated with leading topic experts from academia, think tanks, and international organizations‘.
‘Co-curators‘ are perhaps the most important aspect to consider here, given that they have the ability to ‘share their expertise with the Forum’s extensive network of members, partners and constituents, as well as a growing public audience‘.
It is safe to assume then that when co-curators speak, members and partners of the World Economic Forum listen. This in part is how the WEF’s agenda takes shape.
Who are the co-curators? At present, they include Harvard university, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Imperial College London, Oxford University, Yale and the European Council on Foreign Relations.
It was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology that in March published an article titled, ‘We’re not going back to normal‘, just as Covid-19 lockdowns were being implemented world wide. Citing a report by fellow co-curator Imperial College London that endorsed the imposition of tougher social distancing measures if hospital admissions begin to spike, MIT proclaimed that ‘social distancing is here to stay for much more than a few weeks. It will upend our way of life, in some ways forever.’
As well as co-curators there are what’s known as ‘Content Partners‘, who the WEF say are ‘amplified by machine analysis of more than 1,000 articles per day from carefully selected global think tanks, research institutes and publishers‘.
Content partners include Harvard university, Cambridge university, the Rand Corporation, Chatham House (aka the Royal Institute of International Affairs), the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute.
Getting into specifics, the way Strategic Intelligence is structured means that the higher your position in the corporate fold, the more ‘platforms‘ you can be part of. Whereas Strategic Partners must be part of a minimum of five platforms, Associate Partners only have access to a single platform of their choice.
Here is a list of some of the platforms hosted by the World Economic Forum:
- COVID Action Platform
- Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies
- Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society
- Shaping the Future of Consumption
- Shaping the Future of Digital Economy and New Value Creation
- Shaping the Future of Financial and Monetary Systems
- Shaping the Future of Technology Governance: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
- Shaping the Future of Trade and Global Economic Interdependence
- Shaping the Future of Cities, Infrastructure and Urban Services
- Shaping the Future of Energy and Materials
- Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture
As we will look at in a follow up article, ‘The Great Reset‘ is made up of over 50 areas of interest that are formed of both ‘Global Issues‘ and ‘Industries‘, which in turn are all part of the WEF’s Strategic Intelligence platform.
Corporate membership is essential for the World Economic Forum to spread its influence, but in the end every single member is in compliance with the agenda, objectives, projects and values of the WEF. These take precedent over all else.
Also in concurrence with the WEF are the organisation’s Board of Trustees. Three of these include the current Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde and former Bank of England governor Mark Carney. The Trilateral Commission are also represented amongst the trustees through Larry Fink and David Rubenstein.
To add some historical context to the WEF, the group dates back to 1971 when it was originally founded as the European Management Forum. At the time the conflict in Vietnam was raging, social protest movements were building and the United States was about to relinquish the gold standard. By 1973 when the post World War Two Bretton Woods system collapsed and the Trilateral Commission was formed, the Forum had widened its interest beyond just management to include economic and social issues. From here onwards political leaders from around the world began to receive invitations to the institution’s annual meeting in Davos.
The World Economic Forum is classified today as the ‘International Organisation for Public-Private Cooperation‘, and is the only global institution recognised as such. It is in this capacity that the forum ‘engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.’
Like how the Bank for International Settlements acts as a forum to bring central banks together under one umbrella, the WEF plays the same role by uniting business, government and civil society.
The WEF declare themselves as being a ‘catalyst for global initiatives‘, which is accurate considering ‘The Great Reset‘ agenda originates at the WEF level. And it is initiatives like ‘The Great Reset‘ and the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution‘ which the WEF say are distinguished by ‘the active participation of government, business and civil society figures‘.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) narrative was developed out of the World Economic Forum back in 2016. The WEF have confidently asserted that because of 4IR, ‘over the next decade, we will witness changes tearing through the global economy with an unprecedented speed, scale and force. They will transform entire systems of production, distribution and consumption‘.
Not only that, but the world is on the verge of witnessing ‘more technological change over the next decade than we have seen in the past 50 years.’
The group now plan to use ‘The Great Reset‘ as their theme for the 2021 annual meeting in Davos as a vehicle for advancing the 4IR agenda. 4IR is marketed as a technological revolution, where advancement in all the sciences ‘will leave no aspect of global society untouched.’
And like their global counterparts, such as the BIS and the Trilateral Commission, the WEF nurture their agenda gradually and seek to maintain their focus on the long term rather than ‘the emergencies of the day‘. In their own words, ‘success is measured not only in terms of immediate results – we understand that real progress takes time and sustained commitment.’
For my next article we will look into the specifics of ‘The Great Reset‘ agenda as well as what global planners are seeking to achieve out of Covid-19.
World Economic Forum: The Institution Behind ‘The Great Reset’