Inside the Many Conspiracy Theories About the Great Reset

Far-right provocateurs are spreading myriad falsehoods about the new initiative to meet their needs.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chair of the World Economic Forum, raised an important question last December: “What kind of capitalism do we want?” He posited that there were three potential forms: 

  1. Shareholder capitalism—which currently dominates Western corporations and is focused on maximizing short-term profits;
  2. State capitalism—otherwise known as “democratic socialism”—which trusts the government with setting the direction of the economy; or 
  3. Stakeholder capitalism—a system in which corporations serve the interests of all their stakeholders, including customers, suppliers, employees, shareholders, and local communities. 

Schwab founded the World Economic Forum in part to promote the benefits of stakeholder capitalism. During a speech in July, President-elect Joe Biden said thatIt’s way past time to put the end to the era of shareholder capitalism. The idea [that] the only responsibility a corporation has is its shareholders—that is simply not true …They have a responsibility to their workers, their community, to their country.”

Recognizing that the coronavirus pandemic had exposed “inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems—from health and financial to energy and education,” the World Economic Forum launched an initiative called “The Great Reset” in June 2020 to extol the principles of stakeholder capitalism. Klaus wrote that the initiative’s goals would have three main components.

  1. Governments should improve coordination (for example, in tax, regulatory, and fiscal policy), upgrade trade arrangements, and create the conditions for a “stakeholder economy.”
  2. Investments should advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability. 
  3. Innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution should be harnessed to support the public good, especially by addressing health and social challenges. 

Of course, those on the far left who are committed to viewing corporations as the enemy have responded to this initiative with derision. But they have a point. For the most part, the Great Reset relies on voluntary efforts from corporations to reform themselves, asking the government to merely “create the conditions” for change. While such efforts may be laudable, they have never been sufficient. Some form of regulatory oversight is necessary. 

On the far right, however, the Great Reset has become grist for massive QAnon-like conspiracy theories used by various groups to promote their own self-interests. For example, Justin Haskins is often referred to as “a leading authority on the Great Reset” in right-wing media. He not only writes for publications like Breitbart, he is the editorial director and a research fellow at the Heartland Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank founded in 1984 to deny the science of climate change. That is the backdrop on which Haskins distorts the message of the Great Reset, transforming it into a socialist plot to implement the Green New Deal, when in fact it is anything but socialist. 

In short, the Great Reset is a proposal to completely alter the entire global economy, moving it more toward collectivism and away from capitalism. According to its most ardent supporters, the purpose for the “Great Reset” is three-fold: (1) repairing the global economic damage caused by the coronavirus; (2) stopping a coming climate change catastrophe; and (3) using the two previously mentioned “crises” as an opportunity to advance socialist ideals, including the destruction of capitalism and individual rights.

Another major proponent of a conspiracy theory about the Great Reset is Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States and an outspoken adversary of Pope Francis. In October, he penned a letter to Donald Trump warning that “the whole world is being threatened by a global conspiracy against God and humanity.”

A global plan called the Great Reset is underway. Its architect is a global élite that wants to subdue all of humanity, imposing coercive measures with which to drastically limit individual freedoms and those of entire populations…

The purpose of the Great Reset is the imposition of a health dictatorship aiming at the imposition of liberticidal measures, hidden behind tempting promises of ensuring a universal income and cancelling individual debt. The price of these concessions from the International Monetary Fund will be the renunciation of private property and adherence to a program of vaccination against Covid-19 and Covid-21 promoted by Bill Gates with the collaboration of the main pharmaceutical groups…

As is now clear, the one who occupies the Chair of Peter has betrayed his role from the very beginning in order to defend and promote the globalist ideology, supporting the agenda of the deep church, who chose him from its ranks.

According to Viganò, the “deep state” has now been joined by the “deep church,” headed by the Pope he attempted to unseat.

Tucked away in Viganò’s letter is a reference to another conspiracy theory recently promoted by televangelist Pat Robertson about Biden merely being a placeholder for a Harris presidency. The archbishop wrote that, “It is obvious that those who manipulate [Biden] already have someone worse than him ready, with whom they will replace him as soon as the opportunity arises.” It should come as no surprise, then, that Christian nationalists have once again joined far right Catholics in spreading lies.

If all of this talk about a globalist conspiracy crafted by the elites sounds familiar, that’s because it has always been the foundational message coming from Steve Bannon, who joined Archbishop Viganò in attempting to undermine Pope Francis. Bannon is now using his Youtube channel to promote a slightly different, but even more sinister take on the Great Reset.

In Bannon-land, the great reset is an opportunity for the elite cabal to “depopulate” the earth to 500 million, then genetically engineer humankind using “the convergence of artificial intelligence, advances in chip design and bioengineering.” He explains that the Democrats are attempting to “steal this election” because “if they can thwart the will of the people in this country,” they’ll be able to achieve the great reset by taking down populist movements in other countries as well.

As you can see, whether your agenda is to deny climate change, challenge the Pope, or warn of an impending apocalypse, the Great Reset can be twisted into a conspiracy theory to meet your needs, regardless of how many lies that requires.

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