Can Davos Man Punch the “Great Reset” Button?

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

“This place is getting to me. I think I’m getting The Fear.” –Hunter Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I’m at a bit of a disadvantage writing about the World Economic Forum (WEF), because I’m not up on the details for the Bilderbergers, the Bohemian Club, the visitors to Little Saint James, Opus Dei, the Triads, the Masons, the Knights of Malta, or any of the other institutions that promote class solidarity among elites, especially global elites. I’m inclined to leave it with George Carlin: “It’s a big club, and you ain’t in it.” That said, the World Economic Forum seems especially worthy of attention, both as a newsworthy event, and as the home ground of “Davos Man,” a phrase coined by Samuel P. Hunting (of all people) in “Dead Souls: The Denationalization of the American Elite” (2004):

The rewards of an increasingly integrated global economy have brought forth a new global elite. Labeled ‘Davos Men’, ‘gold-collar workers’ or . . . ‘cosmocrats’, this emerging class is empowered by new notions of global connectedness. It includes academics, international civil servants and executives in global companies, as well as successful high-technology entrepreneurs. Estimated to number about 20 million in 2000, of whom 40 percent were American, this elite is expected to double in size by 2010. Comprising fewer than 4 percent of the American people, these transnationalists have little need for national loyalty, view national boundaries as obstacles that thankfully are vanishing, and see national governments as residues from the past whose only useful function is to facilitate the elite’s global operations. In the coming years, one corporation executive confidently predicted, “the only people who will care about national boundaries are politicians.” Involvement in transnational institutions, networks and activities not only defines the global elite but also is critical to achieving elite status within nations. Someone whose loyalties, identities and involvements are purely national is less likely to rise to the top in business, academia, the media and the professions than someone who transcends these limits. Outside politics, those who stay home stay behind. Those who move ahead think and act internationally. As sociologist Manuel Castells has said, “Elites are cosmopolitan, people are local.”

“Why don’t they just move?” being the quintessential question of Davos Man, aspirational or no, or has been until recently. Perhaps now Davos Man (or, today, Person) is hearing the faint, far-off sound of blades being sharpened, and is about to display adaptability. Or will, if the WEF has anything to do with it. If so, that’s interesting and something to think about. (FOX is already excited; they seem to think that the WEF is going to bring about socialism. Pas si bête.)

In this post I’m going to take a brief look at the WEF’s upcoming 2021 potlatch, dubbed “The Great Reset,” first at its ideological, and then at its institutional characteristics. As I said, this post will be quite superficial, since I’m not a global elites maven. Indeed, reading the WEF site made me feel like I was trapped in a large and luxurious conference hotel where all the signage was in a language that looked like English, but wasn’t. So I hope readers will chime in. No yarn diagrams, please!

The Great Reset: Ideology

Here is what the WEF says “the Great Reset” is all about. (This press release has been republished in various places like the Jakarta Post, the Evening Standard, and so forth.) From the About page for “The Great Reset”, which runs on so much it’s almost impossible to extract from:

  • “The Great Reset” will be the theme of a unique twin summit in January 2021, convened by the World Economic Forum.
  • “The Great Reset” is a commitment to jointly and urgently build the foundations of our economic and social system for a more fair, sustainable and resilient future.
  • It requires a new social contract centred on human dignity, social justice and where societal progress does not fall behind economic development.
  • The global health crisis has laid bare longstanding ruptures in our economies and societies, and created a social crisis that urgently requires decent, meaningful jobs.
  • The twin summit will be both in-person and virtual, connecting key global governmental and business leaders in Davos with a global multistakeholder network in 400 cities around the world for a forward-oriented dialogue driven by the younger generation.

(The hollowness of the WEF language strikes a different note from the language at the Clinton Foundation’s “No Ceilings Initiative,” described by Thomas Frank in “Nor a Lender Be,” but hollow it is.) The list is followed by supportive quotes from Prince Charles, Klaus Schwab (WEF head), and António Guterres (Secretary-General of the United Nations), and we are assured that the Great Reset is “supported by voices from all stakeholder groups of global society.” All?

Anyhow, I couldn’t make any sense of that list at all. (We’ll get to the “unique” “in-person and virtual” twin summit” when we talk about the Great Reset as an institution.) So I carefully waded one level more deeply into the morass that is the WEF web site, and came upon an interactive diagrammatic representation of all the topical areas to be covered by The Great Reset[1]. Here is the top level of “The Great Reset Transformation Map”:

In the center of the diagram is the title, here “The Great Reset”. Seven topical groups surround the title (for example, “Shaping the Economic Recovery). Each group holds a number of topics (for example, “Taxation,” “Gender Parity”). The topics are not in any particular order, and are at different levels of abstraction (“Forests,” “3D Printing,” “LGBTI Inclusion”).

Hoping for some sort of detectable order, we click on one of the seven Groups, “Shaping the Economic Recovery.” Here it is:

When clicked, “Shaping the Economic Recovery” turns blue, as do the topics (one presumes) related to it. The topics not related shaping the economic recovery — that is, not highlighted blue — include “Banking and Capital Markets” (top right) and “Systemic Racism” (top left). How can that be? Losing hope, we try “Redesigning Social Contracts, Skills and Jobs”:

Noting the missing Oxford Comma, and passing over “Social Contracts,” plural (why?), we note that “Future of Health and Healthcare” is not highlighted. Surely the WEF is not unaware of the debacle of employer-provided health insurance in the United States? Weirdly, “LGBTI Inclusion” (left) is highlighted, but “Gender Parity” is not. Why?

I conclude that whatever the WEF is selling in “The Great Reset” is not discernible from its public-facing documentation, and that’s likely to be bad[2]. I mean, I’m sure that the WEF is pushing globalist, elite-level changes on Davos Man, even massive ones, but I can’t decode what they are. I also can’t tell whether they’ll be in my interest, or in the interest of anyone I know. (I know that past performance is no guarantee of future results, but if it were, the answers would be “no,” and “hell, no.”) From here, let us pass on to the institutional nature of “The Great Reset.”

The Great Reset: Institutions

If you are Davos man, here’s an explanation of the Davos experience, from Anya Schiffrin, “Jealous Davos Mistresses“[3]:

The point about Davos is that it makes everyone feel wildly insecure. Billionaires and heads of state alike are all convinced that they have been given the worst hotel rooms, put on the least interesting panels and excluded from the most important events/most interesting private dinners. The genius of World Economic Founder Klaus Schwab is that he has been able to persuade hundreds of accomplished businessmen to pay thousands of dollars to attend an event which is largely based on mass humiliation and paranoia.

People lose their heads in this hothouse atmosphere and behave in ways that they probably would never even consider in another setting. My own introduction to Davos’ competitiveness was years ago. The husband and I had just arrived from a night flight and a limo ride to our spartan but centrally-located hotel room. We dropped off our bags and staggered over to the Congress Centre to pick up our name tags. Winding through the little corridor on the way to the registration we ran into an old colleague of my husband. We stopped to say hello and were greeted with a gloating reply: “I see my book got a better review than yours did in the New York Review of Books this year.” (!).

However, due, I think to fear — both of COVID-19 and the sound of sharpening blades — WEF, as we saw, is dividing 2021’s “Great Reset” “twin summit” into two parts: Physical and virtual. Once again from the About page:

This innovative summit will be a very different Annual Meeting, reflecting the spirit of the Great Reset. It will provide a unique opportunity at the beginning of 2021 to bring together the key global government and business leaders in Davos, yet framed within a global multistakeholder[4] summit driven by the younger generation to ensure that the Great Reset dialogue pushes beyond the boundaries of traditional thinking and is truly forward-oriented.

To do so, the World Economic Forum will draw on thousands of young people in more than 400 cities around the world (the Global Shapers Community) who will be interconnected with a powerful virtual hub network to interact with the leaders in Davos. Each of those hubs will have an open house policy to integrate all interested citizens into this dialogue, making the Annual Meeting open to everyone. In addition, global media and social media networks will mobilize millions of people, enabling them to share their input while also providing them with access to the Annual Meeting discussions in Davos.

(“Innovative.”) Which all sounds great, but I have questions:

First, “driven by the younger generation” sounds very much to me like an invitation for ruthless, credentialed competition for virtual space by those aspirational identitarians who Adolph Reed calls “voices” (“The Trouble with Uplift“). Not that there’s anything wrong with that (ka-ching).

Second, it’s not clear to me how hierarchies in the “twin summit” will be signalled virtually, except perhaps through identity markers. What is the online equivalent of name tags and how does it appear in Zoom? Chyrons?

Third, it’s not clear to me how the requisite “mass humiliation and paranoia” of the Davos experience will be implemented virtually or in the hubs. Although, no doubt, there are many very online personas working that out, even as we speak.

Fourth, if WEF takes its “open house policy” seriously, they could end up with today’s equivalent of the 1999 Seattle WTO protests, both physically (in the “hubs” themselves) and virtually (through the video feeds). Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Conclusion

It’s clear from Wilkerson and Jay’s conversation, among other straws in the wind, that lots of planning that in a sane or at least democratic society would be considered newsworthy is being carried on by elites. No doubt “The Great Reset” is part of that. However, the public facing aspect of “The Great Reset” is not coherent, and the institutional aspect asks for trouble in a number of ways. I’m not sure that Davos man can find the button, let alone push it.

NOTES

[1] Here are the topics in “The Great Reset” diagram:

  • Digital Economy and New Value Creation
  • Internet Governance
  • Digital Identity
  • 5G
  • Future of Media, Entertainment and Culture
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
  • Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The Ocean
  • Blockchain
  • Future of Computing
  • Drones
  • Strengthening Regional Development
  • Banking and Capital Markets
  • Future of Health and Healthcare
  • Global Governance
  • Development Finance
  • Financial and Monetary Systems
  • Aviation, Travel and Tourism
  • Sustainable Development
  • International Trade and Investment
  • Climate Change
  • Biodiversity
  • COVID-19
  • Cities and Urbanization
  • Revitalizing Global Cooperation
  • Workforce and Employment
  • Global Health
  • Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • Global Risks
  • International Security
  • Geo-economics
  • Future of Economic Progress
  • Geopolitics
  • Agile Governance
  • Developing Sustainable Business Models
  • Environment and Natural Resource Security
  • Agriculture, Food and Beverage
  • Air Pollution
  • Advanced Manufacturing and Production
  • Circular Economy
  • 3D Printing
  • Corporate Governance
  • Batteries
  • Plastics and the Environment
  • Future of Food
  • Restoring the Health of the Environment
  • Forests
  • Future of Mobility
  • Public Finance and Social Protection
  • Future of Energy
  • Redesigning Social Contracts, Skills and Jobs
  • LGBTI Inclusion
  • Systemic Racism
  • Civic Participation
  • Human Rights
  • Justice and Law
  • Shaping the Economic Recovery
  • Gender Parity
  • Taxation
  • Inclusive Design

[2] “I know you put a lot of work into that diagram….”

[3] The title refers to the color-coded system of Davos name tags which are, well, intersectional, being based on status, occupation, and affiliation. Wives, being wives, have no status, no occupation, and no affiliation, so their name tags are white. See also this hilarious video by Felix Salmon and Chris Hayes, where I picked up the reference. (I have a soft spot for Felix Salmon because he took the correct view of the Cooper Union debacle.)

[4] Which I “misread’ as “mistakeholder.”

APPENDIX

Herewith the WEF’s front page on Pride:

And Racial Injustice:

Needless to say, I’m not opposed to either gay rights or racial justice. But if these causes are featured prominently on the WEF’s front page, they are highly unlikely to be revolutionary, unless today’s global elites are even stupider and more self-destructive than the Bourbons and the Romanovs.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

87 comments

    1. truly

      re Grinding.
      I love the scene in ‘Slingblade’ when Carl is sharpening up his kaiser blade. I think it was a very therapeutic and might I say meditative moment for the Billy Bob Thornton character.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I actually have in mind a scene in Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast, where the Lord’s retainer, Flay, wakes up in a storm in the middle of the night, and in a sudden silence between gusts and bursts of thunder, hears the sound of a knife being whetted, and knows it’s his hated enemy, the cook. But I can’t find the quote!

        Reply
        1. ChrisPacific

          I looked it up for you (we own the book) but I couldn’t find it either. I found the first scene where he spies on the cook sharpening it on a grindstone, and then a later one where he decides to go back to the castle and confront him, but nothing matching the scene you described.

          Reply
          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            > I found the first scene where he spies on the cook sharpening it on a grindstone

            Odd. You have the book I remember, and IIRC Flay goes to spy on the cook after he hears the sound. I certainly hope I haven’t manufactured the memory. Interesting, if so.

            Reply
            1. ChrisPacific

              I have all three of them together in a giant tome. I should read them again sometime. I found it a bit heavy going the first time. It’s brilliant if you like scene-painting and evocative descriptions, but the characters are all caricatures, and while I think that’s deliberate it does make it pretty hard to relate to any of them.

              I had the feeling that he was satirizing something that I didn’t know very well – I found some parts of it quite funny, and I think I would have found more of it funny if I understood more of the references.

              Reply
  1. L

    Just my 10c but I think that this vapid frontend may really serve two purposes: 1) buying some insurance with performance art; and 2) claiming ownership of what is already happening so that you can direct it down the road; or at least claim credit for whatever happens.

    I am not an expert on the transnational thinking by any means but my read on these pages and their vague yet empty framing immediately makes me think of what has come to be called “woke insurance” that is rich companies trying to stave off actual change by performative virtue. Assembling incomprehensible yet deep sounding graphs is more the MBA way than say temporarily shelving Gone With the Wind, but it is equally vapid. And in this case they get bonus points for showing that they know that Air Pollution is connected to both the environment and sustainable business models. More importantly, by putting out these nifty charts and graphs they can also try to frame the debate in ways they like. I note for example that they call for “redesigning” the social contract not say, sharing the wealth or lifting people out of poverty etc.

    In some ways though it also reminds me of something else, the Belt And Road Initiative. If you look at the early reporting on it, the initiative, like Xi’s Core Thought, was mostly a high level notion, devoid of actual direction. Most of the initial projects in the project were things that were already going on but by branding them Xi was able to take “ownership” of them and thus claim that it was his doing. Over time that morphed into an attempt to impose a more centralize strategy on the whole thing for better or for worse.

    Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      Yes, to me it all looks like selling the idea of global stewardship and leadership without being encumbered by anything in the way of measurable outcomes, concrete actions, or success criteria. The big diagram with a lot of plausible-looking but spurious detail plays into that very nicely. So Lambert, you say that Future of Healthcare isn’t mapped to Social Contracts and perhaps should be. That’s interesting. Thanks for your contribution! Of course this is a work in progress and can always be improved. Anyone object if we add a line there? Great. Anything else you’d like to see changed? No problem, we can add those as well. This is your work as well now, Lambert! You’re showing Initiative and Ownership, and doing your part to shape the future! Give yourself a pat on the back. Surely our foresight in inviting you to this exclusive club of thought leaders was well justified.

      Reply
      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Title is “Can Davos Man Punch the Great Reset Button?”

        But I think Davos Man IS punching the Great Reset button. All while bafflegabbing the plebes with “inclusive” drivel and yarn diagrams to convince them they actually have a seat at the re-set table.

        Higher wages? No. Here, have some race-based hate instead.
        Political representation? Nope. Here, have a dementia patient with policies from the 1990s.
        Tax fairness? Don’t think so, zero is still the number the big end of town wants to pay.
        End the war? Unlikely! Did you not see that Russian/Iranian/Chinaman hiding under your bed?

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > stewardship and leadership without being encumbered by anything in the way of measurable outcomes, concrete actions, or success criteria.

        Rather like the Biden campaign. I don’t think that coming into office encumbered with only the promise that you’re not your opponent is such a bad idea.

        Reply
        1. Anders K

          For the new office holder, of course it is preferable to only have promised that whatever you are, you aren’t that other, bad/evil person.

          It sure makes it easier to explain away any policy flaws or “unintended effects” by claiming that “they” would’ve been worse.

          Reply
  2. Maritimer

    Excellent work. Would it be possible to see a list of attendees either official or via a whistleblower? I would love to see if any pols or bureaucrats from my jurisdiction are attending.

    Also, I had been wondering where such terms/memes as social distancing (actually anti-social distancing), flatten the curve, masking, bubble and “we’re all in this together” originated. It is done at conferences such as these where they get all ready so that when disaster opportunity knocks, they can grab the needed material off the shelf and go. Not a moment to waste.

    Also, I have noted through a number of interviews I have heard and books I have read that the socio/psycho researchers and academics do the necessary research to help market and spread such memes, sort of like an epidemic if you will. One great example being Nudge Theory/Opt Out as used by the Great Internet Pirates and now, in my jurisdiction, to mandate organ donation. Lots of these amoral academics present at Davos no doubt.

    Reply
    1. TimR

      I’m not sure where such propaganda originates specifically, but it would seem to be a little more backroom and shadowy than this thing. Part of domestic psychological operations I guess. Maybe our “free and independent media” should look into it, lol

      Reply
    2. Rhondda

      “I had been wondering…”

      Yarn diagrams, Lambert would probably say with a dismissive wave… But l do believe those “coordinated communications” originated with “Event 201.” Davos/WEF is basically the same group of participants as the Event 201 autumn 2019 coronavirus pandemic simulation exercise.

      Also, not for the faint-hearted but one of G. Maxwell’s sisters is all up in the WEF and another sis deeply implicated in FBI counter-terrorism database(s).

      WTF or WEF but seems legit. Not.

      Reply
      1. CoryP

        “We’re all in this together” clearly came from High School Musical which I think is like 15 years old by now.

        More so to your point I think the extremely focus tested and uniformly corporate sounding nature of all messaging these days is part of what causes people to be suspicious and make yarn diagrams. Not that they might not be right. But, for example “Medicare for all” suffers from this same malady.

        Then again, Clive has spoken often of the importance of consistent public health messaging so I guess it should be no surprise that we are inundated with new terms that become buzzwords overnight.

        But it drives me up the wall, and has enough plausibility that I still read what the Event 201/ID2020/plandemic people have to say. There are useful connections there, even if I think many people draw the wrong conclusions.

        (Edit: sorry meant to nest this comment one level up)

        Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Yarn diagrams, Lambert would probably say with a dismissive wave…

        Gotta prove it (or qualify the claim). No point wasting scarce ammo at shadows. And there are rather a lot of competing yarn diagrams out there. Which one to choose?

        For example, we should want epidemics simulated. We would need to know the entire attendee list for starters. Maybe some countries aren’t as stupid as we are, and found it useful!

        Reply
  3. Mr. House

    You don’t think what is happening at this very moment is the great reset? We’ve been talking about it only for a decade.

    Reply
  4. Synoia

    If one punches the reset button twice, or hold it down, does it all go away?

    If not the reset button is mis-labeled.

    Reply
    1. Idunno

      Well, about that reset button. See, we had this really cool role playing game called “Doing God’s Work” on our really cool Illiad streaming site and we chose to use the weapon that we thought defeats the oil monster called Greed. Well, we used it for everything and it worked great, until one player hacked the game and introduced a virus. Later named COVID. Of course, the game erased our score a little. To address this, we turned the system off, waited 3 months, then turned it back on again. But when the game came back, the home screen froze up in the store when we clicked on Race (the weapon we use whenever we’re backed into a corner) when the oil monster came back. Hey, will somebody tell me why the blue screen of death has appeared?

      Reply
  5. stefan

    You don’t need public relations when you are telling the truth; you need public relations when you are selling a lie.

    Reply
  6. Kfish

    It’s a rebranding exercise. They’re looking for the next avenue to extract wealth from the rest of us. The giant list is an exercise in throwing everything against the wall and seeing what sticks, to find the rationale that the majority will tolerate.

    Reply
    1. Grayce

      For-profit charter schools masquerading as “school choice” is untapped opportunity for working capital. The ground was tilled when the president’s state of the union address introduced the phrase, “failing government schools.” Failing! Failing? Who was giving the government’s report card just then. School tax dollars going for profit is not going to bring in the “excellence of competition.” Talk to any teacher.

      Reply
  7. Phil in KC

    No real work is done at Davos, right? Just kind of a mixer. When do folks sit down at conference tables and start dealing out assignments and deadlines? And is all of this for real, or just some kind of Potemkin Village to hide the real horror?

    Reply
    1. Rhondda

      And, I dunno– who put them in charge? Richesse oblige? Apologies to French speakers among the commentariat if that’s some hideous Frankenstein construction.

      Reply
  8. sd

    Did anyone click “Workforce & Employment” by any chance? No need to read anything else – it’s just one big *
    Workforce & Employment:
    New Work Models
    Labour Market Demographics
    Training & Certification Systems
    Inclusive Labour Markets
    Job Creation & Entrepreneurship
    Disruption to Jobs & Skills

    Reply
  9. Grenda Thunborg

    I work in this world (as a lowly comms peon) and have attended Davos numerous times. It is indeed entirely about various levels of exclusion, starting w the badge tiers and absurd security. If you don’t have the highest level badge you’re forced to walk a mile around the main building in the snow. In addition to that, lately there has been a “social purpose” greeenwashing sheen…merely shelling out hundred of thousands to build out a branded space is not enough, it has to serve as some kind of do gooder “solutions hub”. The side events and after parties are the real reasons to go, where you can network with the real bigwigs. Until you sit down and realize you’re obviously not at the most exclusive gig and commence shrieking at your aides (me) to find out why. It’s simply the Ne plus ultra of corporate conferences. The best thing last year was Greta showing up to address the Pluto/gerontocracy in a raggedy hoodie…people pay a lot of attention and money to achieve a moneyed Aspen look. The reason the WEF site is such nonsense is they have no idea to pivot their (absurdly priced) business model to this world and likely see the writing on the wall. Even the FT called for it to be done fully virtual or die out.

    Reply
    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “…they have no idea to pivot their (absurdly priced) business model to this world and likely see the writing on the wall.”

      Sad that we’re so far removed that we have to guess about simple things like motives and aspirations and even the mood of such people.
      I’ve bumped into the lower edges of this lot, too, in my time…as a grandson of a low end manufacturer who went along to a few “Backyard BBQ’s” at sprawling ranch estates…or accompanied bigwigs when grandad took them fishing as a sweetener.
      Then later, as the Help.
      Nothing concrete or perspectival, of course…except that “They” are very different than “Us”, in a sort of inchoate, sometimes smirking(why?) manner.
      Do They see the writing on the wall?
      How much of their stash have They been into…are their Silos as opaque as ours?
      I think those are very important questions…and I can speculate, and filter observations today from various utterances in Leading News Sources through the filter of my own long ago experiences with that bottom edge of this cohort(most of which is from before i had read any econ…or C Wright Mills, or had any coherent understanding of the World as it Is…)—
      but there’s really no way to know what goes on in those well appointed rooms, unless somebody spills the beans.
      Until rather recently, this demographic(the Aristocracy) had as it’s defining feature the camouflage/elven cloak of pretending real hard that it didn’t exist.
      …due in no small part from the wild success of that CIA Op, making “conspiracy” a shorthand for “crazy”…so that we cannot get together and discuss Power Relations seriously with our fellow serfs.
      This has been eroded a lot since the advent of the intertubes, and Davos Man has simultaneously begun to come a little out of the closet.
      But there’s still so much BS purposefully shovelled into our water that we can’t really see…as a species…who or what the Rulers are, and what they might be after.
      My sense is that They are just as deluded as we are, but with cleaner windshields, and better connected steering wheels…but in the end, they’re still reliant on this one planet, and still riding in the same Turnip Truck as the rest of us.
      It will be instructive to see how they try to get out in front of the parade into perdition.
      I hope that they’re having a moment of clarity about the whole “everything’s fine” thing, but don’t really expect that we’re that lucky.

      when i go sit at the cattle guard in the Falcon in the moonlight at 4am, and ruminate on the World beyond it, I see definite signs that some form of Neofeudalism is the preferred outcome(been feeling that under the rug for some time), and that it ain’t lost on those people that the fundamental Problem…the one that contains all the rest of humankind’s problems…is that there’s simply too many of us Humans.
      as self appointed Drovers and Husbandsmen, surely they’ve hit upon the idea of culling that herd as a solution to our global overgrazing problems(to extend the metaphor most uncomfortably).
      (rambling and hurried, today…off to cut firewood ere it heats up)

      Reply
  10. Jeremy Grimm

    I visited the WEF Great Reset and scouted around a little. My very first feeling is a horror that the stillborn TPP has borne monstrous children. I am still recovering from having watched “Planet of the Humans” the other day and the parallels between the scams it exposed and the WEF’s Great Reset initiatives are more than uncomfortable. [Actually I am not sure I can ever recover. I was already aware of most of what the documentary covered but had failed to comprehend the full picture of what all these horrors meant when presented as in single ‘image’ of the future.] I do not believe the Davos man-[person] can hear “the faint, far-off sound of blades being sharpened”, and even if he could hear the sound — I believe he retains faith that his dogs and clowns will keep us at bay and/or ‘entertained’. I believe all that the Davos man can hear are the ka-chings of profit from ‘Green’ ‘New’ deals on a global scale … and there are plenty of mountebanks at the WEF anxious to sell them to him.

    The Davos man is beyond clueless. He lives in an entirely different world.

    Reply
    1. CoryP

      If Planet of the Humans bent you out of shape then don’t go read Wrong Kind of Green which has been covering this stuff for ages in excruciating detail.

      Admittedly, some of their writers have damaged their credibility with respect to COVID, but looking at the NGO-industrial/PR/Big Green system has been very educational for me. And horribly horribly depressing.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > NGO-industrial/PR/Big Green system

        And WEF is the NGO di tutti NGO, AFAIK. Of course, I don’t know very far. Could be the Knights of Malta.

        Anyhow, euthanize the NGOs. They replace state functions with weak and inferior, looting-ready substitutes.

        Reply
    2. Off The Street

      As more disdeeds and shockingly repulsive, yet mundane, behavior of that set become known, their masks slip a bit. Ghislaine Maxwell and her entouragette await acknowledgement and badges, the ones that self-assign legitimacy as long as one doesn’t look too closely.

      Reply
  11. ambrit

    What I noticed right away was the node labeled: “Redesigning Social Contracts, Skills, and Jobs.”
    The underlying assumption here is that the ‘old’ Social Contract is in need of “modernization.”
    This begs several questions.
    One, why is the old New Deal Social Contract no longer adequate? I seem to remember that the New Deal Social contract was pretty comprehensive, as in Roosevelt’s “Four Freedoms.” If this is no longer valid, why? What is being jettisoned, and for whose benefit?
    Read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms
    Two, if the old Social Contract is broken, who is responsible for that? Could the ‘Davos Humans’ be using this “reset” as a screen to hide their complicity in wrecking for profit?
    Three, “Social Contracts” plural? If ‘Davos Human’ is truly transnational, why the need for more than one Global Social Contract? The very name used hints at a “Divide and Rule” strategy. So, more pitting low wage regions against each other and the ‘developed’ regions, with Davos Humans reaping the arbitrage.
    Four, why include “Skills and Jobs” in with Social Contracts? Rightly, Social Contracts should subsume skills and jobs. Indirectly, this subset of the section implies that jobs are the purview of Davos Human. I see no mention of the governmental dimension of supplying employment. The implications of this sub-point alone are far reaching. In a perfect Davos Human world, governments should go away to let the anointed ones do their godly works unimpeded.That is a Great Reset indeed!

    Reply
    1. CoryP

      I think there was a grammatical error. We need to redesign not only the social contract, but also our Social Skills to live in this new world. Social Jobs likely involves enforcing shaming and canceling of people engaged in wrongthink.

      At least, that was how I read that phrase initially. I’m only partly joking.

      Reply
    2. tegnost

      What I first noticed was “international public servants” and I’m still struggling to figure out who those people work for… must be NGO’s which I guess will replace governments. You’ll have a coalition of NGO’s that conference standards for each given identity, I guess….in the end deregulation is getting rid of government, literally. NGO’s would supposedly know who was buttering their bread and make rational demands of the global elite slumming around davos and spreading pathogen, both theoretical and physical…their benefactors.
      The second thing that got me was
      “Someone whose loyalties, identities and involvements are purely national is less likely to rise to the top in business, academia, the media and the professions than someone who transcends these limits”
      Can you say Donald Trump?
      Obviously making a global control structure is hard.

      Reply
  12. Jokerstein

    As so often, Orwell put it in a nutshell in Politics and the English Language:

    [P]olitical language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.

    Reply
  13. ShamanicFallout

    I love George Carlin. So much good stuff. But I always thought he should have said ‘it’s a small club, and you ain’t in it’. Because compared to all the rest of us schmucks and schnooks, it’s pretty small. Probably why I’m not a great comedian

    Reply
    1. Michael Fiorillo

      It’s a minor quibble, given Carlin’s genius, but I’ve always felt the same: it’s proportionately a tiny club.

      Reply
  14. Mikel

    Are they going to talk about economic fraud like Wirecard and Luckin Coffe?

    And does “The Great Reset” sound anything like the non-sensical “V-shaped” recovery that probably a great number of attendees have at one point or another fraudulently hyped this year? It doesn’t sound like a “return to normal” that some have the gall to pontificate about.

    When are they going to go on the biz shows and stop lying about a “V-shaped’ recovery to lull the populace to sleep?

    Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > does “The Great Reset” sound anything like the non-sensical “V-shaped” recovery

      Quite right. “Reset” assumes (a) that the computer is actually plugged in and (b) that the software isn’t borked (especially the operating system….)

      Reply
      1. Alex Cox

        Probably C. But how fascinating that militarism, war and the danger of nuclear annihilation don’t feature as worthy of discussion! Perhaps they’re all included under the catch-all of “Global Risks”?

        Reply
  15. jr

    Who designed that “interface?” I literally thought it was a diagram of COVID-19. This smacks of that intentional, onerous complexity so acutely noted in the Vampire Castle piece, methinks…

    Reply
    1. CoryP

      I want to know what the monolith-like quadrangle thing represents. Is it a file folder? Is it a stylized D for Davos? There’s some kind of branding going on here. If anyone puts up a bright blue rounded rectangle statue in my neighborhood I will be tearing it down.

      It was also hilarious to see Lambert say “no yarn diagrams” and then post an image which looks a lot like that very thing.

      But perhaps you’re right. It does sort of look like a virion. So then all of the topics on the circumference are spike proteins allowing these people to enter our lives without permission and commandeer our productive machinery to replicate their original plan. God, you can extend that metaphor out quite a bit.

      Reply
      1. jr

        “If anyone puts up a bright blue rounded rectangle statue in my neighborhood I will be tearing it down.”

        I can imagine it releasing a piercing noise, like the Monolith in Clarke’s “2001”, except it makes everyone dumber…

        Reply
        1. jr

          I was thinking of it as an occupying force but yeah, that wouldn’t be their branding. “Operational” is neutral, even benign, it’s seems good when things are operating…

          Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    Looking at the topics on that circle, I get the impression that some underling was tasked with going through newspapers since the last Davos meeting to see what came up in the news. All being on a circle indicates that they are of equal importance which obviously they are not. Most people cannot keep hold of more than five elements in their mind at onetime so having a shotgun blast of so many topics merely sews confusion. In short, it’s a grab-bag.

    If you had to concentrate on what is real importance, I would go with the present pandemic causing the global economy to be reconfigured into a more national based system. And the fact that the world economy is coming up against the planet’s inability to supply the resources needed or absorb the byproducts. But I suspect that these people think that they are in a big tent but off to the side, there is a smaller tent – and they ain’t in it.

    Reply
    1. ObjectiveFunction

      Dead on comments, RK, re those ‘flat’ (i.e. hierarchy/data/relationship-free) mandalas, yet another vapid totem of the consulting world. The idea is to get client heads nodding at the pitch deck (yup, these smart guys nailed the Key Issues), while hinting that the deeper thinking will follow. But somehow that never actually happens, and the ‘deliverables’ consist of echoing whatever groupthink pays the tab.

      But that said, this ex-consultant has been toying with a summary “mind map” that attempts to ‘bin’ and tie together some major themes and trends that are recurring in my readings and business life, and intensifying.

      … Taking the Financialization of Everything as an example. The trends seem to feed 4 global “whirlpools” or maelstroms (self-reinforcing feedback loops), which are themselves intertwined:

      🌪️1. massive fast-growing pools of rentier wealth (e.g. oil royalties, klepto-oligarch families, high net worth 0.1ers%) plus other funds, (e.g. sovereign wealth, pensions, AAPL cash hoard), mainly being ‘managed’ by a global apatrid caste of fee-driven middlemen;

      🌪️2. …all chasing a much slower growing pool of ‘safe’ investments, instruments and collateral. These are offering ever lower returns, compounded by the easy money addictions of central banks and their clientele;

      🌪️3. …driving investment into ever riskier and shortsighted schemes (structured to churn out quick payouts, while offloading long dated risks to greater fools, who are ultimately us. That’s pretty much all of ‘cleantech’, btw);

      🌪️4. …schemes increasingly located in low tax, low reg, cheap labor (or high ‘bailout’) states with opaque (read, corrupt) governance, paying off local elites (see 1) at least until greater fools are hooked (see 3).

      And sure, one might shrug this all away by declaring: so what? the planet/species is doomed, the Revolution is nigh, MMT will sponge it all away, etc. But until the deus ex machina arrives, it’s worth studying the forces that have been pummeling our fraying careers, property, societies and ecosystems.

      FWIW, it beats working….

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > ‘deliverables’ consist of echoing whatever groupthink pays the tab

        Consultants? Surely not.

        Adding, I think your points 1-4 points add to what the Bearded One would call an “overproduction crisis,” which is IIRC may manifest as a glut of goods but is in reality overproduction of capital, i.e. M-C-M’ at the highest level is stalled because there’s no place to invest (hence also bezzles like Uber and other such scams).

        Reply
        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Yep, or the TL:DR version: easy come, easy go.

          (OK, Rentier)

          … So long as the implosion of all that bubble wealth doesn’t take our food chains with it. Hey, maybe the gubmint can prevent that. Oh, wait.

          Reply
  17. albrt

    “driven by the younger generation” sounds very much to me like an invitation for ruthless, credentialed competition for virtual space by those aspirational identitarians who Adolph Reed calls “voices”

    I’m so old I remember when NPR fired Bob Edwards and sent a letter to those of us who complained. The letter said Ivy League grifters hired with Kroc money smart people at NPR had decided that NPR needed more diverse “voices.”

    I always thought “voices” meant “cheap stringers.” Thanks to Adolph Reed for enriching my understanding of this phenomenon.

    Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          It would be nice if the persons in authority (granted, the older, the more likely to be white males*) had exercised their authority more justly, on their long journey to the ice floes. That said, it really is like Tankus said: Identity = credential. I’m not sure if that’s an improvement, but I guess we’ll find out.

          * Man, I hate that term “cis.” I didn’t ask to be called that, and I don’t think that the rhyme with “piss” is coincidental at all.

          Reply
          1. caucus99percent

            I wonder how the field of mathematics will evolve when, as I surmise will happen sooner or later, concepts like “rigor,” “proof,” and “logic” start to be torn down as discriminatory tricks whose real significance (according to the indictment of the iconoclasts) is their historical role in upholding white supremacy.

            Reply
            1. hunkerdown

              I suspect the dynamic will be similar as with MMT. The ruling class will always get the real math, and see to it that real mathematicians are produced to maintain it, regardless of what blinkered irrelevant course Pearson Common Core distributes for the plebs. Good luck understanding cause and effect if you grow up in a working class school district, though.

              Reply
              1. caucus99percent

                Genuine mathematics becoming the purview only of a secret Deep State priesthood, with access to the most profound, potentially far-reaching findings restricted to the innermost core intel mission teams such as crypto at the NSA? — While teaching trivia and positive self-image validating, inspirational stories to the plebs? Yes, I too see that as a real possibility.

                Reply
    1. ChrisPacific

      Apparently the whole younger generation thing refers to the Global Shapers community . There are about 10,000 of them, not millions (still a lot to manage in a Zoom call though). You can search for city names in the Hubs tab and get linked to the membership list for the various locations. One of them had an apply link and listed the following criteria:

      between 18-27 years old
      residents of or live close to the hub city
      committed to working with peers to improve their community
      interested in developing their leadership potential
      willing to support fellow Shapers in their personal and professional development
      ready to engage in the community and follow our Community Charter

      Most of them looked like Davos mini-People. The only name I recognized was Sam Johnson, the founder of the Student Volunteer Army, which accomplished some good things in its time (they shoveled an immense quantity of silt following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, with many incidental positive effects on community resilience and morale, although I get the sense that he has struggled to replicate the phenomenon subsequently). A bit of Googling turns up numerous first hand accounts of people’s experiences as Global Shapers, which seem to mostly involve going on paid trips to places like Geneva, eating nice meals, participating in some rather artificial-sounding activities, and meeting a lot of influential people and ‘thought leaders.’ They generally seem energized and inspired by the experience, but it’s unclear whether it actually helps them accomplish anything that they wouldn’t have otherwise.

      Reply
  18. m sam

    Well, either these oligarchs really do know what change we need more than we do ourselves (and even without our input), or this is an example of what kind of hand waving high dollar amounts can buy.

    But really: “Agile Governance,” “Blockchain,” and “The Ocean.” Can dazzling graphics matched with words randomly cut out of an issue of Wired magazine say any less?

    Also, will anybody except politicians even listen to these people? Who really wants to hear that billionaires have decided to descend from on high and grace us with solutions to our problems in all their benevolence? And why do their solutions nowhere include 1) removing their hands from the leavers of power, 2) far more equal distribution of wealth, and 3) getting the heck out of the way? Because of course these are not part of any solution they would consider, and therefore this will inevitably be (at best) an exercise in how much can they can push the PR envelope without actually changing anything.

    Reply
  19. flora

    Reset. (I don’t think that word means what we hope it means, in Davos context.)

    This Stoller tweet is about the concentration of money and monopoly power and the rise of authoritarianism. The C-SPAN video clip link in the tweet is about that.

    Phenomenally interesting point from trade lawyer Beth Baltzan on the Havana Charter and trade testifying before the Senate Finance Committee.

    https://twitter.com/matthewstoller/status/1280258270859583490

    C-SPAN link. 3 minutes.

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4891054/user-clip-havana-charter

    Reply
  20. Sound of the Suburbs

    The Chinese first started causing trouble at Davos.
    Everyone was quite happily wallowing in their own ignorance, with no idea why globalisation was going down the tubes, when the Chinese started to learn from their own mistakes.
    The Chinese started to show everyone else up.

    Davos 2018 – The Chinese know financial crises come from the private debt-to-GDP ratio and inflated asset prices
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WOs6S0VrlA
    The black swan flies in under our policymakers’ radar.
    They are looking at public debt and consumer price inflation, while the problems are developing in private debt and asset price inflation.
    The PBoC knew how to spot a Minsky Moment coming, unlike the FED, BoE, ECB and BoJ.
    That ruffled a few feathers, I can tell you.

    The Chinese bloke then really sticks the boot in by bringing out a chart showing the US stock market is at 1929 levels.
    You know what the Americans are like, they like to think they’re exceptional; this wasn’t going to go down well at all.
    The Chinese were out to cause trouble.

    Davos 2019 – The Chinese know bank lending needs to be directed into areas that grow the economy and that their earlier stimulus went into the wrong places.
    They have now realised high housing costs eat into consumer spending and they want to increase internal consumption.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNBcIFu-_V0
    Disposable income = wages – (taxes + the cost of living)
    They let real estate rip and are just beginning to realise why that wasn’t a good idea.

    That was it.
    There was no way they were coming to Davos 2020, the Chinese had upset everyone with their superior problem solving skills.

    Reply
    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      I have been following the Chinese for a few years at Davos (on YouTube)
      They were progressing well.
      I was hoping at Davos 2020 they would tell me something I didn’t know already, but they weren’t there.

      Reply
  21. NowherefromNowheresville

    Every time I read multistakeholder I see mistake holder instead of multi-stakeholder. **

    If the CARES Act and the other Acts passed in the US during the initial Covid pandemic are examples of a Great Resetting, I’d say that it’s more smash and grab as well as go die than anything else. I’d say they are already pushing the reset button. Remember Davos happened before Covid hit the world media theater. I feel quite sure the virus was discussed as it was already a known during the conference.

    And those “topics” are just busy work to keep the minions busy and distract attention from certain goals of certain individuals while the wheels continue to turn unimpeded.

    Mass humiliation and paranoia. Oh, that’s easy. How many people have been “judged” by the quality of their video streams? I’m not just talking content but judging the lighting, art on the walls, books on the shelf, general contents of the rooms and the clothes / hair / makeup one wears. Faux paus one makes captured in gifs instead of lost to memories to those present at the bar.

    In a huge zoom feed, it can be those that show up with the speaker on the main screen (or the posted video afterward). Those called on. Etc., etc., etc. You can be sure that by the time the conference comes along hierarchy and dinging one another via stream will be easily done. Is probably already done. I would also imagine that there will be conference sites (possibly personal estates) hierarchies for the gatherings. Instead of flying into Davos, preferred groups fly “somewhere.” So so many ways to ding one another, especially amongst the bureaucracy / minion tier.

    * just read the notes at the bottom, I’m glad I’m not the only one seeing mistake holder.

    Reply
    1. NowherefromNowheresville

      Assuming a genuine desire for a “real” reset to benefit the majority: Can you imagine how difficult it will be to hit a reset button and redirect on 40 million people dedicated to the current status quo, especially when there are multiple factions with multiple cross-purpose agendas?

      Reply
  22. Sound of the Suburbs

    There are a number of factors at work here.

    Not considering debt is the Achilles’ heel of neoclassical economics.
    We’ve already established that.

    Our knowledge of banking has been going backwards since 1856.
    Credit creation theory -> fractional reserve theory -> financial intermediation theory
    “A lost century in economics: Three theories of banking and the conclusive evidence” Richard A. Werner
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1057521915001477
    Today’s policymakers could convince themselves “debt doesn’t matter” as it doesn’t appear to when banks are financial intermediaries, but they aren’t.

    This is why no one can see what is really happening as policymakers don’t know how banks work and how they create and destroy money.
    The central banks did start revealing the truth in 2014.
    https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf

    The belief in the markets and price discovery gets everyone thinking you are creating wealth by inflating asset prices, but you aren’t.

    In the 1930s, they pondered over where all that wealth had gone to in 1929 and realised inflating asset prices doesn’t create real wealth, they came up with the GDP measure to track real wealth creation in the economy.
    The transfer of existing assets, like stocks and real estate, doesn’t create real wealth and therefore does not add to GDP. The real wealth creation in the economy is measured by GDP.
    Inflated asset prices aren’t real wealth, and this can disappear almost over-night, as it did in 1929 and 2008.
    Real wealth creation involves real work, producing new goods and services in the economy.

    The UK is the best example:
    https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png

    What happened in 1979?
    The UK eliminated corset controls on banking in 1979 and the banks invaded the mortgage market and this is where the problem starts.
    The transfer of existing assets, like real estate, doesn’t add to GDP so debt rises faster than GDP
    Policymakers ran the economy on debt until they got a financial crisis.

    Before 1980 – banks lending into the right places that result in GDP growth (business and industry, creating new products and services in the economy)
    Debt grows with GDP
    After 1980 – banks lending into the wrong places that don’t result in GDP growth (real estate and financial speculation)
    Debt rises faster than GDP
    2008 – Minsky Moment, the financial crisis where debt has over whelmed the economy
    After 2008 – Balance sheet recession and the economy struggles as debt repayments to banks destroy money. We are making the repayments on the debt we built up from 1980 – 2008.
    Japan has been like this since 1991.

    Reply
    1. Sound of the Suburbs

      The real estate illusion.
      Japan boomed on real estate lending in the 1980s.
      They spent the next thirty years paying down the debt they had run up in the 1980s.

      We need to learn from past mistakes.
      Bank credit can always create the illusion of economic success, especially when no one is looking at the debt building up in the economy.

      In the US, the 1920s roared with debt based consumption and speculation until it all tipped over into the debt deflation of the Great Depression. No one realised the problems that were building up in the economy as they used an economics that doesn’t look at debt, neoclassical economics.

      In the 1920s, the markets soared, the economy roared and nearly everyone was making lots of money.
      The money creation of bank loans made the economy boom until they got a financial crisis in 1929.
      The bank loans were not going into activities that grew GDP and debt rose faster than GDP in an unsustainable way.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vAStZJCKmbU&list=PLmtuEaMvhDZZQLxg24CAiFgZYldtoCR-R&index=6
      At 18 mins.
      US policymakers didn’t really know what they were doing with neoclassical economics and ran the economy on debt, until they got financial crises in 1929 and 2008.

      UK policymakers didn’t really know what they were doing with neoclassical economics and ran the economy on debt from 1980 – 2008, until they got a financial crisis in 2008.
      https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png

      What is really going on in the real estate boom and bust?
      When you use bank credit to inflate asset prices, the debt rises faster than GDP.
      https://www.housepricecrash.co.uk/forum/uploads/monthly_2018_02/Screen-Shot-2017-04-21-at-13_53_09.png.e32e8fee4ffd68b566ed5235dc1266c2.png
      The bank credit of real estate lending is bringing future spending power into today.
      You spend the money today and pay it back in the future
      Bank loans create money and the repayment of debt to banks destroys money.
      https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
      Policymakers thought banks were financial intermediaries and so didn’t realise how we were impoverishing the future by running the economy on debt.
      They couldn’t see what had gone wrong in Japan and put it down to demographics, which seemed plausible, but wrong.

      In the real estate boom, new money pours into the economy from real estate lending, fuelling a boom in the real economy, which feeds back into the real estate boom.
      The Japanese real estate boom of the 1980s was so excessive the people even commented on the “excess money”, and everyone enjoyed spending that excess money in the economy.
      The money creation of bank loans causes the economy to boom, but this is only a secondary effect so debt rises faster than GDP.
      There is lots of new money going into the economy, but the inflation is only seen in asset prices, not consumer prices, so the central bankers and economists don’t see the problems developing.

      In the real estate bust, debt repayments to banks destroy money and push the economy towards debt deflation (a shrinking money supply).
      Japan has been like this for thirty years as they pay back the debts from their 1980s excesses, it’s called a balance sheet recession.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

      Using future spending power to inflate asset prices today is a mistake that comes from thinking inflating asset prices creates real wealth.
      GDP measures real wealth creation.

      Real estate is just one type of financial asset, the same thing applies elsewhere.

      Reply
      1. Sound of the Suburbs

        Why did it cause the US financial system to collapse in 1929?

        Bankers get to create money out of nothing, through bank loans, and get to charge interest on it.
        https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/-/media/boe/files/quarterly-bulletin/2014/money-creation-in-the-modern-economy.pdf
        What could possibly go wrong?
        Bankers do need to ensure the vast majority of that money gets paid back, and this is where they get into serious trouble.
        Banking requires prudent lending.

        If someone can’t repay a loan, they need to repossess that asset and sell it to recoup that money. If they use bank loans to inflate asset prices they get into a world of trouble when those asset prices collapse.
        As the real estate and stock market collapsed the banks became insolvent as their assets didn’t cover their liabilities.
        They could no longer repossess and sell those assets to cover the outstanding loans and they do need to get most of the money they lend out back again to balance their books.
        The banks become insolvent and collapsed, along with the US economy.

        When banks have been lending to inflate asset prices the financial system is in a precarious state and can easily collapse.
        “It’s nearly $14 trillion pyramid of super leveraged toxic assets was built on the back of $1.4 trillion of US sub-prime loans, and dispersed throughout the world” All the Presidents Bankers, Nomi Prins.
        When this little lot lost almost all its value overnight, the Western banking system became insolvent.
        Western taxpayers had to recapitalise the banks and make up for all the losses the bankers had made on bad loans they had made to inflate asset prices.

        If you don’t save the banks you get a Great Depression.

        In the Keynesian era they could still remember what GDP actually was and there were hardly any financial crises.
        The FT did a timeline of financial crises with each one marked by a vertical bar. There were lots before the Keynesian era, and lots after the Keynesian era, but hardly any during the Keynesian era.
        “This Time is Different” by Reinhart and Rogoff has a graph showing the same thing (Figure 13.1 – The proportion of countries with banking crises, 1900-2008).

        Reply

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