by William Skink
Days before the 2016 election I realized why there was a good chance Trump would become president: the economy. Let me explain.
I knew the economic crisis of 2008 was only temporarily papered over by central bank policy, so it was just a matter of time before the re-inflated everything bubble was going to make a BIG POP.
If some nobody blogger like me could ascertain this reality, then surely the policy makers understood what they were doing, and if they understood what they were doing, then surely they had a plan to insulate themselves from what was inevitably coming.
Getting Trump into office would be a great opportunity to pin the coming economic collapse on whatever stupid shit he was going to do. And, as an added bonus, his MAGA cult followers could be blamed as well, and everyone would forget all about how Democrats, with full control of the White House AND Congress, let the bankers walk with fat pockets and big smiles.
I was partially correct. Trump became the bull in the White House China Shop (pun intended), weaponizing dysfunction to further destroy federal government bureaucracy from the inside, and 2016 became year zero of a deep hysteria that’s so cognitively crippling, those who suffer from this malady appear incapable of applying historical context to current events.
Softened by three years of Trump obliterating the norms of his office, when Coronavirus came, forget about it. We collectively lost what was left of our individual minds.
And now you are ready for THE GREAT RESET!
As chaos spreads and the uncertainty of daily life gets more dire for more people, we will beg for order to be restored. And we will beg for a truly transformative NEW NORMAL. Well, that is what THE GREAT RESET will be, so it’s important to take a critical look at what this plan is, and who is peddling it.
The most important thing to understand about THE GREAT RESET is how long this idea has been around. The second most important thing to understand is who was first out of the gates selling this to the public.
First, some context. Before the pandemic, my main focus was gentrification in Missoula and the local corruption woven into the financial mechanisms of urban renewal. In my research I kept coming across the same name, over and over, and that name is Richard Florida.
At the end of February, I wrote this post about New Urbanism and Dick Florida.
As you may have guessed, Dick Florida is the dude who wrote a book with the title THE GREAT RESET. He wrote this book in 2009. Here is Florida discussing his perspective with the Atlantic as the economic outlook back then still looked very uncertain:
Urban theorist Richard Florida, for one, takes the longer view. In a series of provocative books and articles—including The Rise of the Creative Class and, most recently, Who’s Your City?—Florida has set his sights on how economic shifts give rise to demographic trends. And in his March article for The Atlantic, “How the Crash Will Reshape America,” Florida applies those lessons to the current economic crisis. Which cities will rise and fall with investment banks and the housing market? Which regions will thrive, and which will start to look like latter-day Dust Bowls?
With the benefit of hindsight we know latter-day Dust Bowls didn’t develop, and that’s because central banks flooded markets with liquidity and everyone pretended kicking the can down the road for a decade was a good idea.
Fast forward to today, after the terrifying disorientation of the last few months, and the World Economic Forum’s framing of THE GREAT RESET sounds alluring:
The Great Reset agenda would have three main components. The first would steer the market toward fairer outcomes. To this end, governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.” At a time of diminishing tax bases and soaring public debt, governments have a powerful incentive to pursue such action.
Moreover, governments should implement long-overdue reforms that promote more equitable outcomes. Depending on the country, these may include changes to wealth taxes, the withdrawal of fossil-fuel subsidies, and new rules governing intellectual property, trade, and competition.
The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. Here, the large-scale spending programs that many governments are implementing represent a major opportunity for progress. The European Commission, for one, has unveiled plans for a €750 billion ($826 billion) recovery fund. The US, China, and Japan also have ambitious economic-stimulus plans.
Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run. This means, for example, building “green” urban infrastructure and creating incentives for industries to improve their track record on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics.
The third and final priority of a Great Reset agenda is to harness the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. During the COVID-19 crisis, companies, universities, and others have joined forces to develop diagnostics, therapeutics, and possible vaccines; establish testing centers; create mechanisms for tracing infections; and deliver telemedicine. Imagine what could be possible if similar concerted efforts were made in every sector.
Yes, imagine what could be possible…
After reading that dead-inside corporate-speak, you may need an antidote to combat the mind-numbing effects, so here is James Corbett providing a critical perspective on their plan for us.
If the world doesn’t end this weekend, as the Mayan calendar propagandists are now claiming, I will be back tomorrow or Monday with another post.