My readers know I like to delve into the rabbit hole from time to time, and because of my privilege of working with hundreds of families for their planning and asset management, I feel like I get to live on the edge of popular thought on economics and finance, which is a fancy way of saying “I hear it all.”
The noise regarding one topic in particular has reached a very loud pitch in my day-to-day conversations with investors. The topic is the concept of the “Great Reset.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Reset, I will first apologize, I hope you will not soon find some sleepless nights over this topic. With so many people talking about this subject, however, I thought we could have a little fun with it.
The Great Reset is a concept devised in a series of papers and presentations at the World Economic Forum. The World Economic Forum is, for lack of a better term, a “think tank” based in Switzerland that describes its mission as being "committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”
I explain it as a group of global elites from finance, business and government getting together in beautiful fancy places to think outside the box and envision the future of the world in their image. The Forum is run by a character named Klaus Schwab, who I perceive as being very fond of himself. Mr. Schwab is in numerous YouTube videos and has published a number of websites and online papers regarding the Great Reset concept.
In a nutshell, the Great Reset subscribes to the Saul Alinksy/Rahm Emanuel school of misfortune management in advocating “let no good crisis go to waste.” The crisis Mr. Schwab and his Forum pals think has opened the window of opportunity for them is, of course, COVID-19, and the economic and societal disruptions stemming from the pandemic.
The Forum think-tankers see COVID-19 as the once in a multi-generational chance to realign society around the globe in a way they see as more fair, more environmentally aware and more “sustainable” (whatever the heck that means). These global elites envision redefining the concepts of work, investing, growth and profits to align the world with their ivory tower visions of how things should be.
Being Americans steeped in rugged individualism, it's not hard to see how a lot of us on this side of the pond find Mr. Schwab’s vision as less than attractive, and a number of counter theories, and yes conspiracy theories, have risen in opposition to such talk.
Most of the counter arguments are based in a disdain for international control factions, and an inherent anxiety about big government, big tech, big business and global elites planning our lives. The conspiracy theories, on the other hand, with no lack in subtlety, see this concept as a wolf in sheep’s clothing that will be used to usher in an era of a type of global elite technocracy, consisting of socialism, surveillance and serfdom of the masses.
Since this is my column, I get to say what I think. This whole conversation is not new. Every time over the past 20 years when the world has met a catastrophe of some type a version of this type of talk emerges. I think some of this reaction is due partly to the monetary and fiscal reactions to crisis adopted by the modern economic system. Seeing our government and central bank print money and pass it out as a response to crisis after crisis is confusing and alarming. It's easy to emote confusing motives and purpose for these types of policies. Add in the most contentious and bizarre political climate I could ever imagine, and we’ve got a solid foundation for paranoia.
The World Economic Forum is a think tank. It doesn’t have an army, it has no control structures. The elites in Switzerland can opine all day about their vision of the world, and there may even be some decent ideas mixed in here and there. To attempt to use this Great Reset concept as a foundation of individual financial or investment decision making is folly. Should we be aware? Of course, but losing sleep over this type of conversation is not healthy or productive. Watch all the YouTube videos you can find, but please keep this stuff in perspective.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. Stock investing includes risks, including fluctuating prices and loss of principal. Marc Ruiz is a wealth advisor and partner with Oak Partners and registered representative of LPL Financial. Contact Marc at firstname.lastname@example.org. Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC.