August 16, 2021 | The Great Reset: Should We Be Worried, and Which Career Development Strategies Will Work Best In the Near Future?
The Origin Of The Term “The Great Reset”
In the past few months, the phrase “You will own nothing. You will be happy” that appeared in the video ad of the World Economic Forum made the headlines and has electrified global opinion. It was one of the 8 predictions featured in the official World Economic Forum campaign on the media:
It is also a paraphrase of the predictions of the world in 2030 made in 2016 by Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. He was not the only one who made his predictions on social media at a time. In 2017, a Danish politician Ida Auken said on Twitter, “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, have no privacy, and life has never been better.”
For the next few years, their words have been forgotten. But recently, after this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2021 took place and after the aforementioned video campaign was presented in the media, the whole new global conspiracy theory arose and provoked international debate.
The Great Reset: What Is It All About?
But what does this phrase even mean? Has Orwell’s vision of a totalitarian society come to life?
The global outcry around “The Great Reset” started right after the proposal presented at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2021 by the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (who used the keyword “reset” in his presentation). The proposal concerns restructuring the global economy in the times of COVID-19 and is, in many aspects, controversial.
The proposal mostly concerned global cooperation between powerful governments and corporations to acquire and manage large datasets to protect the environment and achieve sustainability. It envisioned the so-called “fourth industrial revolution.” In this new economy, citizens would rent rather than possess goods, using fossil fuels and producing carbon dioxide would be penalized, and world politics would work as an oligarchy rather than under the economic dominance of one country.
It is hard to overlook the fact that, next to the plans concerning protecting the environment, the proposal contained the idea to eliminate personal ownership — which is the basis of capitalism and modern economy — on behalf of collective ownership. And this exact point is what drew the attention of public opinion and stirred the discussion.
It is hard to overlook the fact that, next to the plans concerning protecting the environment, the proposal contained the idea to eliminate personal ownership – which is the basis of capitalism and modern economy – on behalf of collective ownership. And this exact point is what drew attention of the public opinion and stirred the discussion.
The “Great Reset” proposal was presented in a positive way, namely as a way of equalizing chances in the world after the global pandemic. It is supposed to be an alliance between the united leaders of the West and the East in reaction to the damaging impact of COVID-19 on the world economy. As an initiative for the greater good aiming to rebuild the world together in a more enlightened fashion and make it a global village — an equally welcoming place to live for everyone.
Sounds great at first. However, what seems to be an idealistic plan at first glance, might turn out to be a Utopia in the long run. The concept of abolishing ownership is a purely Marxist idea. It goes against the ideals of independence contained in the American constitution, as it makes citizens dependent on a greater power. Even if you own nothing and rent everything you use, someone is still the owner. In this case, “someone” might mean the state or large corporations.
So, in theory, “collective ownership” means that everyone owns. In practice, it usually boils down to the fact that those who are in power, own everything. Political systems should be judged based on the outcomes, not the intentions — and the possible outcomes of the Great Reset are dim.
Let’s remember that the Great Reset was not the bottom-up initiative coming from the society, but rather, a system conceptualized behind closed doors by a number of world leaders and powerful figures coming from the financial world and powerful corporations. And this decision-making model incentives bribery and never ends up well. An example might be some of the African countries where ownership is controlled by collectives formed by the local governments and influential businesses. Their societies live in poverty and crime.
The Plausible Scenarios
As a matter of fact, no one knows how the Great Reset will pan out. No details of the plan are available to the public by now. The question is: are there no details because there is no detailed plan, or, because everything is being said behind the closed door?
According to Reuters, there are no plans of abolishing private property before 2030 and it is only a conspiracy theory. According to Naomi Klein from The Intercept (Klein, 2020), the proposal is just “an attempt to create a plausible impression that the huge winners in this system are on the verge of voluntarily setting greed aside to get serious about solving the raging crises that are radically destabilizing our world.” In other words, it’s just fat cats chatting in front of the cameras to give an impression that they are doing something about a situation that went out of control. While in fact, they do nothing.
So, what might the sentence “You will own nothing. You will be happy” mean in practice? Taking private property away from the owners and moving the ownership towards the state is highly unlikely. The more likely scenario is the picture in which citizen are indeed incentivized to rent goods rather than buying them to better protect the environment. Similarly as in the last decade, global streaming has replaced redundant hard copies of videos in every household, in the future we might also share cars, summer houses, and other goods. Perhaps, leasing a laptop would be cheaper or more economical than buying one. Et cetera.
Moreover, young people who enter the job market today, often cannot afford buying properties, especially given the current prices in the housing market. If the governments disincentivize ownership of real estate (e.g. through increasing the property tax), regulate the rental market (so that the rent cannot exceed the maximal legal amount), and increase inheritance tax to prevent accumulating wealth by rich families, it might prompt more people to choose rental instead of buying and holding properties. And indeed, in such conditions, many young people could live a happy life as tenants. Not because they were oppressed to choose so, but because it was a handier and more economical option.
Mind that this solution would not give citizens equal chances for attaining wealth! An equity tax is already implemented in a few European countries, i.e., in Spain, Switzerland, and in the Netherlands. And, the Netherlands has one of the biggest inequalities in wealth between the rich and the poor in the world. The reason is simple: the rich always stay the rich, while for those who start their careers in the middle class, it is extremely hard to jump to the higher class as their wealth is systematically clipped year after year.
The scenario in which the governments will start taking away property from property owners is unlikely for one more simple reason: Individuals and businesses are mobile. If there is at least one country (among over 200 countries in the world) that does not join the “Great Reset” movement and doesn’t follow the Marxist policy, all the businesses, and the wealthiest, best-educated individuals would line up to relocate over there. This country would become a world superpower overnight.
The Dark Side of Capitalism
The inherent instability of capitalism as a system is yet another story. The balance in the macroeconomy is based on the circulation of resources, i.e., goods and services, fueled by economic incentives to work. Low incentives to work, i.e., limiting private property and increasing taxes, pull the society towards socialism – it reduces the motivation to work and lowers the overall productivity. High incentives to work, i.e., celebrating private ownership and limiting taxes, pull the society towards aggressive capitalism in which the most productive individuals and businesses exponentially aggregate wealth.
The presence of economy-stimulating tax deductions, such as depreciation, or amortization (please also check out the difference between the two) allow the wealthy to lower their effective tax rates almost without limits. Unlike the public opinion likes to think about it, increasing tax rates for the rich usually works the other way around. With a good lawyer at hand, there is always a way of effecting a so-called tax avoidance, which means restructuring the business, the accountancy, and the expenses in a way to legally lower the taxes (not to confuse with tax evasion which is illegal).
In this situation, the abyss between the higher class and the poor gradually broadens. We are slowly heading in this direction. Now, in times of globalization and the internet, the speed at which the wealthy get more wealthy has accelerated even further. Perhaps, The Great Reset is a desperate trial to regain balance before capitalism spirals out of control.
How You Can Prepare For The Great Reset
As mentioned above, no one knows how the Great Reset will pan out in the long run. In times of global confusion, the only aspect that you can influence in your life is the way you make decisions. Or rather, the way you make investments, as making decisions means allocating your time and/or money.
And in fact, under the assumption that you are healthy, you can only invest your time and/or money in three possible things that can guarantee you safety and happiness in the long run. When brought to perfection, each one of them alone is sufficient to acquire a sense of safety in life – but of course, it works best to invest in three aspects of your life:
1. Hone your skills: Build your skillset around your strengths and becoming an expert in at least one area
No matter how the world will look in ten years, and whether there will be any private property at all, good specialists will be in high demand — more than ever before. Make sure that you work on your ability to perform deep work, and acquire at least one cutting edge skill that’s hard to replace by a simple piece of code, such as deep understanding of a particular class of data, specialistic laboratory skills, the ability to write creative, deep, heartwarming essays, the ability to sell face to face.
2. Build bonds and brand yourself
Remember that your personal network is your safety net. People whom you can count on are as essential for your sense of safety as your professional skills and your possessions! In times of crisis, most professionals fell into apathy and stopped making an active effort to maintain their professional contacts and friendships.
Don’t be one of them! Grab your phone and call ten of your friends, colleagues, and acquaintances today! Perhaps you will be the only person who gave them a call in the entire week. Also, brand yourself – determine what you are good at, and offer others your help accordingly. They will remember that very well after the crisis. They will.
3. Learn about the economy and make diversified investments
As mentioned before, nobody knows the future. And, to a large extent, the sense of fear and confusion comes from the lack of knowledge. The Great Reset or not, the rules of the macroeconomy and human psychology don’t change all that often. Are you fearful about the future? You will feel much better after you grab a few books dedicated to the global economy, learn the basics about the financial markets, and start saving and investing part of your savings. Watch out as many fake financial gurus hunt for victims at the moment! Please don’t follow them and make your own decisions.
Mind that even in the worst possible scenario, in which the governments will indeed abolish private property (which has less than 1% likelihood), they can never take your skills and your genuine bonds with other people from you.
You will own whatever you will own. You will be happy.
Please cite as:
Bielczyk, N. (2021, August 16th). The Great Reset: Should We Be Worried, and Which Career Development Strategies Will Work Best In the Near Future? Retrieved from https://ontologyofvalue.com/the-great-reset-should-you-worry-and-which-career-development-strategies-will-work-best/
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