(Iain Davis, UKColumn) The World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Great Reset has been sold to the public as an opportunity to build a sustainable, carbon neutral future. The ubiquitous sound bite of build back better, or “build back greener,” as UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently rephrased it, suggests that recovery from the economic devastation, following the alleged pandemic, is a chance for the world to “reset.”
Sustainable Development Goal 11 (b) of UN Agenda 2030 states:
By 2020, substantially increase the number of cities and human settlements adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards.. adaptation to climate change, resilience to disasters, and develop and implement, in line with the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, holistic disaster risk management at all levels.
The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, written in 2015, states:
The recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction phase, which needs to be prepared ahead of a disaster, is a critical opportunity to Build Back Better.
With the 2020 emergence of the alleged global pandemic, human settlements have certainly been implementing plans. Fitting in perfectly with Agenda 2030, our leaders efforts to build back better are focused upon a recovery which appears to have been planned long before anyone had even heard of SARS-CoV-2.
A Vision for the Future
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) published their Vision 2050 document in 2010. Aiming to transform the global economy to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), they said that a pathway would be needed. It would “require fundamental changes in governance structures, economic frameworks, business and human behaviour.” They envisaged two distinct periods of transformation.
The WBCSD is an organisation of 200 CEO’s from some of the world’s largest global corporations. It is the hub for more than 60 national and regional business councils and partner organisations including the United Nations, the EU Commission, the World Economic Forum (WEF), the World Bank, The World Health Organisation, The World Wildlife Fund, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation and BlackRock.
They called the decade between 2010 to 2020 the Turbulent Teens. This would be the time to construct the mechanisms that would enable the fundamental changes to be established. Transformation Time would start in 2020, once the fundamental changes had been able to “mature into more consistent knowledge, behaviour and solutions.”
In their conclusion the WBCSD suggested how the process of moving from the Turbulent Teens into the Transformation Time could occur:
Crisis. Opportunity. It is a business cliché, but there is truth in it.
While for many of us 2020 was a disaster, the WBCSD were among the central planners of the new normal global economy for whom the global pandemic could not have arrived at a more opportune moment. It was a remarkable coincidence that the right crisis opportunity arrived precisely on schedule. In 2020 they updated their Vision 2050. Recognising that the time to transform had arrived, they said:
Despite its enormous human and financial cost, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an opportunity to drive and accelerate change at a completely different pace than we may have previously imagined to be possible.
Although they did imagine exactly this possibility. WBSCD partners, the WEF, have also been counting their lucky stars. The Covid-19 alleged global pandemic was an opportunity to make the significant social, economic and political changes they had long been hoping for:
The Covid-19 crisis, and the political, economic and social disruptions it has caused, is fundamentally changing the traditional context for decision-making … As we enter a unique window of opportunity to shape the recovery, this initiative will … inform all those determining the future state of global relations, the direction of national economies, the priorities of societies, the nature of business models and the management of a global commons.
In his 2021 letter to CEO’s, Larry Fink, the chairman of BlackRock, also expressed his gratitude for BlackRock’s good fortune as he expanded on the unprecedented opportunity presented by Covid-19:
The pandemic has presented such an existential crisis … that it has driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully.. Markets started to price climate risk into the value of securities … then the pandemic took hold.. and the reallocation of capital accelerated even faster. I believe that this is the beginning of a long but rapidly accelerating transition – one that will unfold over many years and reshape asset prices of every type ... the climate transition presents a historic investment opportunity.
Fink’s comments outline how the Build Back Better Great Reset is intended to work. Some people seem to think that sustainable development has got something to do with environmentalism, saving the planet or some other vague “green agenda.” Unfortunately, they are way off the mark.
Sustainable development means stakeholder capitalism as the corporate glue holding together a global network of public private partnerships who are collectively assuming the mantle of global governors. Under their stewardship the international monetary and financial system (IMFS) is being transformed. The stakeholder partner network is busy capitalising a $120 trillion Carbon Bond market as the foundation of the new IMFS.
Environmentalist campaigners like Greta Thunberg and Extinction Rebellion perhaps imagine they are in the vanguard of a global environmentalist battle against climate change and the big polluters who are guilty of causing it. In reality, unwittingly or not, they are image leaders for the big polluters’ public relations department.
The same despised global corporations are key members of a global public private partnership which is using the ruse of climate change to establish the new IMFS. One that will consolidate their global economic power and thus their world wide authority.
Not only did the claimed global pandemic deliver the right crisis at precisely the right time, in another truly remarkable coincidence, it accustomed us to the behaviour changes required to live in our new, sustainable IMFS. Reduced travel, limited access to resources, low employment, austerity, reliance upon state financial support and new forms of currency based upon sustainable, stakeholder metrics, are all part of our planned net zero future.
WEF partners Deutsche Bank are certainly among the global corporations who are aware of this. They published an article in November 2020 in which their senior analyst Eric Heymann outlined what a carbon neutral economy portends:
The impact of the current climate policy on people’s everyday lives is still quite abstract. Climate policy comes in the form of higher taxes and fees on energy. If we really want to achieve climate neutrality, we need to change our behaviour in all these areas of life. A major turnaround in climate policy will certainly produce losers among both households and corporates. In addition, prosperity and employment are likely to suffer considerably. There are no adequate cost-effective technologies yet to allow us to maintain our living standards in a carbon-neutral way. That means that carbon prices will have to rise considerably in order to nudge people to change their behaviour. Another (or perhaps supplementary) option is to tighten regulatory law considerably. To what extent may we be willing to accept some kind of eco-dictatorship (in the form of regulatory law) in order to move towards climate neutrality?
This is congruent with the observations of both the former and current Bank of England Governors. Prior to his departure as governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney warned that companies unable to meet the SDG regulatory standards “will go bankrupt without question.” In other words, lines of credit, without which even multinational corporations cannot hope to function, will be limited only to those who can afford to implement the required changes.
More recently, now as the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance, the UK government special Advisor to the COP26 conference and a Board Trustee of the WEF, Carney reinforced his message and signalled to his stakeholder partners how the new IMFS would select the corporate winners and losers.
There will be industries, sectors and firms that do very well during this process because they will be part of the solution. But there will also be ones that lag behind and they will be punished.
The winners and losers won’t just apply to corporations. The new stakeholder IMFS does not appear to be based upon mass employment either. Recently the UK government released their Green Jobs Taskforce Report. Promising a glittering future of employment opportunities they cite the International Energy Agency (IEA) report Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. The IEA State:
The transition to net zero brings substantial new opportunities for employment, with 14 million jobs created by 2030 … In our pathway, around 5 million jobs are lost … meaning structural changes can cause shocks for communities with impacts that persist over time. This requires careful policy attention to address the employment losses. It will be vital to minimise hardships associated with these disruptions … locating new clean energy facilities in heavily affected areas wherever possible, and providing regional aid.
To be clear, green revolutionaries like Mark Carney and the IEA are suggesting that we can practically eliminate heavy industry, reduce manufacturing capacity virtually to nil, remove fossil fuels from the domestic and commercial energy market and, at the same time, increase employment. This will certainly come as a surprise to PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who are partners with both the Chatham House and the WEF.
In 2018 PwC modelled the Workforce of the Future. They presented a number of scenarios based upon megatrends and their assessments of how we might adapt to these apparently unavoidable impositions. Whichever model they outlined the common theme was increasing automation and AI domination of the workplace. Job losses are unavoidable they said, although new jobs will be created.
However, the scope and range of these new jobs appears to be extremely limited. These created jobs will be done by what PwC described as “pivotal people.” They have a very particular skill-set making them valuable to their corporate stakeholder employers. PwC predicted:
Those workers performing tasks which automation can’t yet crack, become more pivotal – and this means creativity, innovation, imagination, and design skills will be prioritised by employers. This view is supported by business leaders worldwide who responded to our most recent CEO survey … These are the ‘pivotal’ people.
It seems there will be meagre employment opportunities for the rest of us in our sustainable future. The few remaining jobs will be limited solely to those tasks that cannot be performed by automation or AI. Only the extraordinary people, with skills suited to the corporate stakeholders, will be of any value. There are many reasons to place considerable credibility in the 2013 study by Oxford University researchers which predicted that 47% of all jobs will be lost.
Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) considered what this new carbon future will mean for us, the ordinary folk. Again in 2018, the RIIA commissioned the Royal Society who conducted a review of the available literature on the impact of AI and automation. They found a distinct lack of research assessing the implications for us, as individuals. They found:
This evidence shows that the use of digital technology in work is linked with increasing polarisation of work between jobs mainly performed by workers with low levels of formal education (‘low-educated’) and jobs performed by high-educated workers … Individual losses from displacement related to automation have not yet been estimated but a broader literature suggests that these losses can be significant and persistent. This may … lead to significant increases in inequality, particularly if employers have significant market power.
So the basis for Green Jobs Taskforce and IEA confidence about job creation appears to be something of a mystery. It is probably worth noting that these are modelled predictions.
Carney’s successor as Governor of the Bank of England (BoE), Andrew Bailey, has already stated that it would be important to get rid of “unproductive jobs” and said that job losses, as a result of the “Covid-19 crisis,” were inevitable. Yet again the global pandemic has seemingly acclimatised us to the new carbon neutral economy.
Unprecedented ‘Economic’ Response
Mark Carney, then BoE Governor, participated in the G7 Central Bankers symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming four months before the first cases of Covid-19 were reported. At that meeting the largest investment management firm in the world, BlackRock, presented their report, titled Dealing With The Next Downturn, to the gathered central bankers. BlackRock stated:
Unprecedented policies will be needed to respond to the next economic downturn. Monetary policy is almost exhausted as global interest rates plunge towards zero or below. Fiscal policy on its own will struggle to provide major stimulus in a timely fashion given high debt levels and the typical lags with implementation.
BlackRock stated that the current IMFS would not be able to respond effectively to a major financial crisis:
Conventional and unconventional monetary policy works primarily through the stimulative impact of lower short-term and long-term interest rates. This channel is almost tapped out.
Fiscal policy (government spending and taxation) wouldn’t be able to respond to a significant “downturn” because government debt was off the charts. A lack of activity in the productive economy meant tax increases would be insufficient to respond to a major financial crash. Similarly monetary policy (creating money) was tapped out because interbank lending, and the associated bond markets, were close to implosion.
There was a sense of urgency among the G7 Bankers, as revealed by Mark Carney. In August 2019, speaking at the Jackson Hole symposium, he said:
Most fundamentally, a destabilising asymmetry at the heart of the IMFS is growing.. a multi-polar global economy requires a new IMFS to realise its full potential. That won’t be easy. History teaches that the transition to a new global reserve currency may not proceed smoothly … Technological developments provide the potential for such a world to emerge. The Bank of England.. have been clear.. the terms of engagement for any new systemic private payments system must be in force well in advance of any launch.. perhaps through a network of central bank digital currencies … the deficiencies of the IMFS have become increasingly potent. Even a passing acquaintance with monetary history suggests that this centre won’t hold … I will close by adding urgency to Ben Bernanke’s challenge. Let’s end the malign neglect of the IMFS and build a system worthy of the diverse, multipolar global economy that is emerging.
It is clear that the stakeholder capitalists had accepted that the existing IMFS was finished prior to the global pandemic. Therefore, BlackRock proposed another solution.
They recommended that an investment management firm, BlackRock for example, should be put in charge of hoovering up speculative securities and derivatives on behalf of governments. This could be done by bypassing all risk analysis, allowing central banks to purchase huge volumes of junk assets to fund government policy directly.
In doing so, BlackRock were suggesting that government fiscal policy should be controlled by central bank monetary policy. They were effectively establishing a system of central bank control of government policy. They called this “going direct.”
BlackRock said that going direct would only be required in the event of “unusual condition” arising from “unusual circumstances”. While the “unusual condition” would require a “permanent set-up,” going direct would only be used temporarily. Once fiscal policy objectives were achieved, which under their plan would also be monetary policy objectives, the temporary permanent set-up could then move on to the “exit strategy” placed on the “policy horizon.”
Too Big to Fail – Again
Just one month later those unusual conditions arose with the collapse of the repurchase agreement (repo) market in the US.
Repurchase agreements are short term loans, typically overnight, where bond dealers offer primarily government bonds to investors with an agreement to repurchase them at a higher price the next day. This marginal difference is the repo rate.
The repo market enables corporations and other bond holders to raise capital quickly. Investors can make a swift profit and, as the market mainly consists of safe securities (government bonds), the repo market is usually considered stable. It is a vital component of the interbank lending system where banks exchange central bank reserves to settle payments and move capital.
The repo rate is generally around 2% but on September 17th 2019 the US repo market ground to a halt forcing those holding Treasuries to raise the rate to 10% in one day. Despite this far more attractive rate, investors still didn’t enter the repo market. They should have jumped at the chance to make a quick killing from the hiked repo rate, but they didn’t.
When the repo market crashed just four US banking giants [JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank (Citigroup Inc.)] held 25% of Fed reserves and 50% of US Treasuries (US government bonds) between them. Their liquid assets were heavily skewed towards Treasuries. In their 2019 4th Quarterly Report the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) explained why this was a serious problem:
Repo markets redistribute liquidity between financial institutions: not only banks, but also insurance companies, asset managers, money market funds and other institutional investors. In so doing, they help other financial markets to function smoothly. Thus, any sustained disruption in this market … could quickly ripple through the financial system. The freezing-up of repo markets in late 2008 was one of the most damaging aspects of the Great Financial Crisis. The four largest US banks specifically turned into key players: their net lending position … increased quickly, reaching about $300 billion at end-June 2019. At the same time, the next largest 25 banks reduced their demand for repo funding.. swings in reserves are likely to have reduced the cash buffers of the big four banks and their willingness to lend into the repo market.
The BIS recognised that years of Quantitative Easing (virtual money printing,) following the 2008 financial crash, had provided so much liquidity to US commercial banks that they had less need to use the repo market. At the same time the biggest financial institutions were holding so many Treasuries that they were at risk of becoming their own customers. Far from being stable investments US Treasuries were looking distinctly shaky. This provided further disincentive to prospective repo market investors.
In addition, with so many reserves, fluctuation in the base rate made the biggest banks’ cash flows unstable. The BIS noted that, for these too big to fail banks, “their ability to supply funding at short notice in repo markets was diminished.” They added that this was “an underlying structural factor that could have amplified the repo rate reaction.”
The BIS then claimed that the Fed had “calmed markets” by embarking upon yet more QE (money creation) as they purchased the Treasuries from the banking giants clogging up the system. The financial mainstream media remained all but silent as the Fed pumped $6 trillion into Wall Street. The interbank lending system was seizing up again, just as it had in 2007.
Directly Funding Governments
BlackRock’s going direct plan, presented to the G7 in August 2019, started to take effect in September 2019 with the collapse of the repo market. Just a few months later, when the WHO declared the global pandemic, the economic conditions and circumstances became even more unusual. BlackRock explained how going direct enabled the economic response to the global pandemic:
The future evolution and global spread of the coronavirus outbreak is highly uncertain … containment and social distancing are ultimately achieved by reducing economic activity … That requires a decisive, pre-emptive and coordinated policy response … A comprehensive global response should have the following elements: … Generous sick-pay support and short-time work schemes to stabilize incomes and to limit job losses … expanding funding-for-lending facilities … Monetary policy should focus on preventing an unwarranted tightening in financial conditions and ensure the functioning of financial markets.
By going direct, central banks across the world, including the BoE, have engaged in unprecedented levels of QE to directly fund government spending during the global pandemic. This plan was devised in August 2019, seven months before the WHO declared a Covid-19 crisis. There is currently no sign of an end to what is effectively money creation on an unimaginable scale.
During the 2021 Cornwall G7 summit the financial media reported that “world leaders” had agreed to continue QE. They hadn’t agreed to continue anything, that decision was made months earlier by BlackRock and the gathered G7 bankers at Jackson Hole. We must cease our delusions that the political puppets paraded in front of the TV cameras are in charge. They don’t control anything.
In late May 2021 the central bankers of the G7 met again to discuss the new IMFS they were already constructing. Central bank governors joined representatives from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank Group, OECD, Eurogroup and FSB (BIS). Through going direct, the attending G7 government finance ministers were instructed to follow whatever fiscal polices the bankers told them to implement.
Following their meeting the Central Bankers released their communiqué to the world:
We will continue to work together to ensure a strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive global recovery that builds back better and greener from the Covid-19 pandemic … We emphasise the need to green the global financial system so that financial decisions take climate considerations into account … We commit to increase and improve our climate finance contributions through to 2025, including increasing adaptation finance and finance for nature-based solutions … We also commit to a global minimum tax of at least 15% on a country by country basis.
BlackRock presented the G7 with the solution they would use in response to the pandemic. The lockdown policies caused the subsequent collapse of economies and global trade. This deepened the financial crisis that began with the repo failure. The central banks then increased the scale of going direct.
QE provided generous sick-pay support and short-time work schemes were used to stabilise incomes and limit job losses. There was never any scientific rationale or public health benefit for lockdowns. They were designed to create a comprehensive global response to expand funding-for-lending in order to protect and ensure the functioning of financial markets.
We now know what BlackRock’s exit strategy policy horizon looks like. It is the successful transition to a net zero, carbon neutral global economy. The central bankers will decide when these sustainable goals have been achieved and, until then, they are “going direct” and are firmly in charge of everything.
In January 2020, just as the global pandemic was building, the World Economic Forum (WEF) published their Metrics for Sustainable Value Creation. This established the SDG criteria by which all investment assets will be rated.
Any business that needs to raise capital will have to meet these requirements. They stipulate that the winners in this new IMFS will have the right (pivotal) people on its board, they will engage with the right stakeholders, their ethical behaviour will meet WEF approval and they will be able to afford all the necessary carbon offsets and other climate change adaptations.
In March 2020, as the pandemic was declared, the WEF combined their sustainable metrics into an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) score. The WEF stated:
In light of mounting evidence, activism and regulation, investors are including climate considerations in their investment decision‑making. For example, a group of investors managing $118 trillion in assets now expects companies to provide disclosures in accordance with the Task Force on Climate‑related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
The mounting evidence was produced by computer models, the activists were people like Mark Carney, who threatened to make businesses bankrupt unless they complied, and the regulations (TCFD) were determined by the Financial Stability Board of the BIS. This meant the whole system ultimately came under the control of the Bank for International Settlements.
Global PPP – A Great Reset
By January 2021, the stakeholder capitalists agreed to “convergence.” ESG’s were established as the Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics. Through a process they called “dynamic materiality,” the WEF constructed a mechanism to convert a commitment to SDGs into the basis for a new IMFS.
Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics define a sustainable investment as any in a company with good ESG rating. As climate change SDGs are underpinned by international agreements, high ESG rated companies are considered safe investments. Unless businesses can gain a good ESG rating they won’t survive.
Now the WEF wish to update their ESG rating to record ‘R’ for resilience. This typifies how this system is designed to operate. The rating system is arbitrary and entirely under the control of the senior partners in the global stakeholder public private partnership. Only those corporations most adept at jumping through the right hoops at the right time will gain benefit from the ESG (R?) Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics rating system. It’s a winner takes all game and the prize is tantalisingly close. The WEF state:
ESG, which has become a widely used set of metrics, involves analysing environmental, social and governance factors when determining which programmes, funds and companies to invest in. With this focus on transformation, the use of ESG frameworks will likely increase as many current and nascent businesses or new projects experience a windfall of incremental investment, both in private capital and by governments around the world: for example, the $1 trillion European Green Deal and the $2 trillion US sustainable infrastructure plan.
While it will be the right multinationals stakeholder corporations and private investors who profit from the transition to the new, carbon neutral IMFS the tax payer is subsidising it. No wonder they are so eager to combat climate change. In return for this, as pointed out by Deutsche Bank and others, we can expect our “prosperity and employment” to “suffer considerably.” This is starting to look like neofeudalism.
Janet Yellen, former Fed chair and current US Treasury Secretary, laid out how the favoured public private partnership stakeholders will be the financiers of the net zero corporate hegemony. For example, BlackRock already holds $200 billion in sustainable ETF securities. These track the performance of ESG rated investments, thus driving companies who need capital to commit to SDG’s. BlackRock intend to increase their ETF holding to £1 trillion by 2030 and are committed to their policy of “carbon transition readiness.”
Investors are hoovering up corporate bonds from the ESG high flyers and have already created a $17.1 trillion sustainable asset market. With $120 trillion in ESG assets already under the management of financial institutions like BlackRock, this is where investors are heading in the carbon neutral, tax payer funded gold rush.
This is the capitalisation of the carbon bond market that UK chancellor Rishi Sunak and other political mouthpieces have been so confident about. In order for this $120 trillion bond market to become the basis for a new IMFS, investors need to be strongly encouraged to purchase ESG rated assets. This process needs to continue at pace to complete the transformation.
To this end, on November the 9th 2020, Sunak announced that the UK intended to issue its sovereign green bond. The UK government stated that they would be making TCFD disclosures mandatory for all businesses, to encourage investment in new technologies “like stablecoins and Central Bank Digital Currencies.” The UK government stated:
The UK will become the first country in the world to make Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) aligned disclosures fully mandatory across the economy by 2025 … The UK will also implement a green taxonomy – a common framework for determining which activities can be defined as environmentally sustainable.
The UK government’s pretence that it is in control of this process is comical. The Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics which determine ESG (R?) asset ratings aren’t managed by the UK government.
Giant global investment firms like BlackRock and global corporate institutions like the WEF and the WBSCD are controlling these investment strategies. Governments are just junior, facilitating partners in the global public private partnership.
The TCFD commitments they are compelling UK businesses to comply with are controlled by the FSB of the BIS. Not only are the central banks, under the authority of the BIS, going direct and funding global fiscal policy they are also determining how business will be conducted. In effect, thanks to the global pandemic, they are now in charge of economies around the world. Who we choose to vote for is irrelevant.
Regardless of what you think about the Covid-19 the fact is this: it has presented a global public private partnership with the perfect opportunity to reset the global economy. The social, economic, political and even cultural changes it has wrought dovetail precisely with those we must adopt to transition to the proposed carbon neutral economy. The opportunity has been seized to use the recovery to surge ahead with the creation of a new IMFS to replace the failing model that was close to complete collapse just months before the global pandemic was declared.
For the BIS and the global system of central banks they lead, the pandemic is the gift that just keeps giving. Not only has it delivered everything we have discussed but it is enabling them to seize all resources on Earth and control every aspect of our lives through a new monetary system. The new normal is very far from normal — something we will explore soon.