The Great Reset, Part II: Corporate Socialism
As I noted in the previous installment, the Great Reset, if its architects have their way, would involve transformations of nearly every aspect of life. Here, I will limit my discussion to the economics of the Great Reset as promoted by the World Economic Forum (WEF), as well as to recent developments that have advanced these plans.
As F.A. Hayek suggested in his introductory essay to Collectivist Economic Planning, socialism can be divided into two aspects: the ends and the means.1 The socialist means is collectivist planning, while the ends, at least under proletarian socialism, are the collective ownership of the means of production and the “equal” or “equitable” distribution of the end products. Distinguishing between these two aspects in order to set aside the question of the ends and to focus on the means, Hayek suggested that collectivist planning could be marshalled in the service of ends other than those associated with proletarian socialism: “An aristocratic dictatorship, for example, may use the same methods to further the interest of some racial or other elite or in the service of some other decidedly anti-equalitarian purpose.”2 Collectivist planning might or might not run into the calculation problem, depending upon whether or not a market in the factors of production is retained. If a market for the factors of production is maintained, then the calculation problem would not strictly apply.
The collectivist planners of the Great Reset do not aim at eliminating markets for the factors of production. Rather, they mean to drive ownership and control of the most important factors to those enrolled in “stakeholder capitalism.”3 The productive activities of said stakeholders, meanwhile, would be guided by the directives of a coalition of governments under a unified mission and set of policies, in particular those expounded by the WEF itself.
While these corporate stakeholders would not necessarily be monopolies per se, the goal of the WEF is to vest as much control over production and distribution in these corporate stakeholders as possible, with the goal of eliminating producers whose products or processes are deemed either unnecessary or inimical to the globalists’ desiderata for “a fairer, greener future.” Naturally, this would involve constraints on production and consumption and likewise an expanded role for governments in order to enforce such constraints—or, as Klaus Schwab has stated in the context of the covid crisis, “the return of big government”4—as if government hasn’t been big and growing bigger all the while.
Schwab and the WEF promote stakeholder capitalism against a supposedly rampant “neoliberalism.” Neoliberalism is a weasel word that stands for whatever leftists deem wrong with the socioeconomic order. It is the common enemy of the Left. Needless to say, neoliberalism—which Schwab loosely defines as “a corpus of ideas and policies that can loosely be defined as favouring competition over solidarity, creative destruction over government intervention and economic growth over social welfare”5—is a straw man. Schwab and company erect neoliberalism as the source of our economic woes. But to the extent that “antineoliberalism” has been in play, the governmental favoring of industries and players within industries (or corporatocracy), and not competition, has been the source of what Schwab and his ilk decry. The Great Reset would magnify the effects of corporatocracy.
Nevertheless, the aims of the WEF are not to plan every aspect of production and thus to direct all individual activity. Rather, the goal is to limit the possibilities for individual activity, including the activity of consumers—by dint of squeezing out industries and producers within industries from the economy. “Every country, from the United States to China, must participate, and every industry, from oil and gas to tech, must be transformed.”6
As Hayek noted, “when the medieval guild system was at its height, and when restrictions to commerce were most extensive, they were not used as a means actually to direct individual activity.”7 Likewise, the Great Reset aims not at a strictly collectivist planning of the economy so much as recommends and demands neofeudalistic restrictions that would go further than anything since the medieval period—other than under state socialism itself, that is. In 1935, Hayek noted the extent to which economic restrictions had already led to distortions of the market:
With our attempts to use the old apparatus of restrictionism as an instrument of almost day-to-day adjustment to change we have probably already gone much further in the direction of central planning of current activity than has ever been attempted before….It is important to realize in any investigation of the possibilities of planning that it is a fallacy to suppose capitalism as it exists to-day is the alternative. We are certainly as far from capitalism in its pure form as we are from any system of central planning. The world of to-day is just interventionist chaos.8
How much further, then, the Great Reset would
Article from Mises Wire