Conspiracy Theories Aside, There Is Something Fishy About the Great Reset

Yves here. It’s gratifying to see other commentators wake up to the push underway to further corporatize food production despite growing evidence that smaller scale production can be as or even more productive and more sustainable, particularly in soil quality terms. Jomo Kwame Sundaram has been writing regularly on this issue, focusing on the Gates Foundation angle. This post discusses many of the same issues, but puts the Great Reset, and as a result, the World Economic Forum and its allied NGOs, in the spotlight.

By Ivan Wecke, a political scientist and writer. Originally published at openDemocracy

‘The Great Reset’ conspiracy theories don’t seem to want to die. The theories were triggered by the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) summit last year, which had the theme ‘The Great Reset’ and argued that the COVID crisis was an opportunity to address the burning issues facing the world. According to the BBC, the term ‘Great Reset’ has received more than eight million interactions on Facebook and has been shared almost two million times on Twitter since the WEF initiative was launched.

The set of conspiracy theories around the Great Reset are nebulous and hard to pin down, but piecing them together gives us something like this: the Great Reset is the global elite’s plan to instate a communist world order by abolishing private property while using COVID-19 to solve overpopulation and enslaving what remains of humanity with vaccines.

Intrigued by the palaver around last year’s summit, I decided to find out what the WEF’s Great Reset plan was really about. At the heart of conspiracy theories are supposed secret agendas and malicious intent. While these may be absent from the WEF’s Great Reset initiative, what I found was something almost as sinister hiding in plain sight. In fact, more sinister because it’s real and it’s happening now. And it involves things as fundamental as our food, our data and our vaccines.

The Real Great Reset

The magic words are ‘stakeholder capitalism’, a concept that WEF chairman Klaus Schwab has been hammering for decades and which occupies pride of place in the WEF’s Great Reset plan from June 2020. The idea is that global capitalism should be transformed so that corporations no longer focus solely on serving shareholders but become custodians of society by creating value for customers, suppliers, employees, communities and other ‘stakeholders’. The way the WEF sees stakeholder capitalism being carried out is through a range of ‘multi-stakeholder partnerships’ bringing together the private sector, governments and civil society across all areas of global governance.

The idea of stakeholder capitalism and multi-stakeholder partnerships might sound warm and fuzzy, until we dig deeper and realise that this actually means giving corporations more power over society, and democratic institutions less.

The plan from which the Great Reset originated was called the Global Redesign Initiative. Drafted by the WEF after the 2008 economic crisis, the initiative contains a 600-page report on transforming global governance. In the WEF’s vision, “the government voice would be one among many, without always being the final arbiter.” Governments would be just one stakeholder in a multi-stakeholder model of global governance. Harris Gleckman, senior fellow at the University of Massachusetts, describes the report as “the most comprehensive proposal for re-designing global governance since the formulation of the United Nations during World War II.”

Who are these other, non-governmental stakeholders? The WEF, best known for its annual meeting of high-net-worth individuals in Davos, Switzerland, describes itself as an international organization for public-private cooperation. WEF partners include some of the biggest companies in oil (Saudi Aramco, Shell, Chevron, BP), food (Unilever, The Coca-Cola Company, Nestlé), technology (Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple) and pharmaceuticals (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna).

Instead of corporations serving many stakeholders, in the multi-stakeholder model of global governance, corporations are promoted to being official stakeholders in global decision-making, while governments are relegated to being one of many stakeholders. In practice, corporations become the main stakeholders, while governments take a backseat role, and civil society is mainly window dressing.

The Multi-Stakeholder Ecosystem

Perhaps the most symbolic example of this shift is the controversialstrategic partnership agreement the United Nations (UN) signed with the WEF in 2019. Harris Gleckman describes this as a move to turn the UN into a public-private partnership, creating a special place for corporations inside the UN.

The multi-stakeholder model is already being built. In recent years, anever-expanding ecosystem of multi-stakeholder groups has spread across all sectors of the global governance system. There are now more than 45 global multi-stakeholder groups that set standards and establish guidelines and rules in a range of areas. According to Gleckman, these groups, which lack any democratic accountability, consist of private stakeholders (big corporations) who “recruit their friends in government, civil society and universities to join them in solving public problems”.

Multi-stakeholderism is the WEF’s update of multilateralism, which is the current system through which countries work together to achieve common goals. The multilateral system’s core institution is the UN. The multilateral system is often rightly accused of being ineffective, too bureaucratic and skewed towards the most powerful nations. But it is at least theoretically democratic because it brings together democratically elected leaders of countries to make decisions in the global arena. Instead of reforming the multilateral system to deepen democracy, the WEF’s vision of multi-stakeholder governance entails further removing democracy by sidelining governments and putting unelected ‘stakeholders’ – mainly corporations – in their place when it comes to global decision-making.

Put bluntly, multi-stakeholder partnerships are public-private partnerships on the global stage. And they have real-world implications for the way our food systems are organized, how big tech is governed and how our vaccines and medicines are distributed.

The Future of Food

In autumn 2021, the UN is set to host the World Summit on Food Systems(FSS) in Rome. This is necessary, given that 3.9 billion people – more than half of the world’s population – are currently battling hunger and malnutrition, even though there is enough food to feed the world. But this year’s summit differs significantly from past UN food summits, embracing ‘multi-stakeholder inclusivity’, in which the private sector has ‘an important role’. A concept note from 2019 showed that the WEF was set to be involved in organising the summit, though it is not now clear what the role of the WEF will be.

“Abandoning pesticides is not on the table. How come?” asks Sofia Monsalve of FIAN International, a human rights organisation focused on food and nutrition. “There is no discussion on land concentration or holding companies accountable for their environmental and labour abuses.” This fits into a bigger picture Monsalve sees of large corporations, which dominate the food sector, being reluctant to fix the production system. “They just want to come up with new investment opportunities.”

FIAN International together with 300 other organizations have expressed their concerns about the multi-stakeholder setup in an open letter to the secretary general of the UN, António Guterres. In a meeting with civil society groups who signed the letter, Amina Mohammed, the UN deputy secretary general, assured them that strong safeguards would prevent a corporate capture of the event, “by allowing only platforms or networks and no single corporation to the summit.”

But for Monsalve, “this only makes it worse. Now corporations can protect their interests and hide behind these platforms because it’s unclear who is in there.” Indeed, a corporate partner list is nowhere to be found on the official website. The FSS organisers were contacted for comment but had not responded by the time of publication.

The signatories to the letter fear that, with corporate involvement in the summit, food will continue to be treated “as a commodity and not as a human right”. If unchanged, industrial food systems will continue to haveirreversible impacts on our health and the health of our planet.

Big Tech Governing Big Tech

Another landmark in the development of stakeholder capitalism can be found in the Big Tech sector. As a part of his 2020 Roadmap for Digital Cooperation the UN Secretary-General called for the formation of a new‘strategic and empowered multi-stakeholder high-level body’. Again it’s not easy to find a list of stakeholders but after some digging a long list of ‘roundtable participants’ for the roadmap includes Facebook, Google, Microsoft and the WEF.

Although the functions laid out for this new body are quite vague, civil society organizations fear it will come down to Big Tech creating a global body to govern itself. This risks institutionalising these companies’ resistance against effective regulation both globally and nationally and increasing their power over governments and multilateral organizations. If the body comes to fruition, it could be a decisive victory in the ongoing war GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft) is waging with governments over tax evasion, antitrust rules, and their ever-expanding power over society.

More than 170 civil society groups worldwide have signed another open letter to the secretary general of the UN – this time to prevent the digital governance body from forming. The secretary general was approached for comment but had not replied at the time of publication.


Then there’s COVAX. The COVAX initiative aims to “accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world”. That, again, sounds wonderful, especially given the staggering inequalities in vaccination levelsbetween rich and developing countries.

But why is the World Health Organization (WHO), which is part of the UN, not calling the shots? “Countries together, through multilateral agencies like the WHO, were supposed to take decisions about global health issues, with maybe some technical support by others,” says Sulakshana Nandi from NGO People’s Health Movement, which has recently brought out aPolicy Brief on COVAX.

COVAX was set up as a multi-stakeholder group by two other multi-stakeholder groups, GAVI (the Vaccine Alliance) and CEPI (the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations), in partnership with the WHO. BothGAVI and CEPI have strong ties with the World Economic Forum (which was one of the founders of CEPI) as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and both are also connected to companies like Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson throughmanufacturer partnerships (GAVI) or as ‘supporters’ (CEPI). Even though COVAX is funded predominantly by governments, it is these corporate-centred coalitions that are overseeing its roll-out.

The contrast between the multi-stakeholder approach and a ‘classic’ multilateral one came to the surface when South Africa and India proposed the so-called TRIPS waiver at the end of last year. They requested a temporary lifting of intellectual property rules on all COVID-19 technologies in order to boost the manufacturing and distribution of vaccines and other essential medical products in mainly developing countries. WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a speech that he backed the proposal. “But GAVI, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – even Bill Gates himself – and Big Pharma opposed this proposal very strongly,” said Nandi. “It’s more important for them to protect their interests and market mechanisms than to protect universal health or protect people from COVID.” The WHO was approached for comment but has not replied.

Again, there is a stark choice between a human rights-led approach carried out by the UN and a profit-led approach carried out by multistakeholder bodies representing the interests of corporations. In the case of COVAX – which is failing to meet its modest aim of vaccinating 20% of the populations of low- and middle-income countries – the former has won out.

Stake Out Stakeholder Capitalism

So even if the WEF (or Bill Gates) is not responsible for the COVID pandemic, even if the vaccines are not laced with microchips to control our thoughts, something fishy really is going on in the realm of global governance. If you value your right to public health, to privacy, to access healthy food or to democratic representation, be wary of the words ‘stakeholder capitalism’ when they pop up at the next Davos summit.

The WEF was approached for comment on the issues raised in this article, but had not replied at the time of publication.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    (ex-western) agricultural and global residential homes are the last two frontiers in which corporations/private equity funds have relatively little ownership and control.

    Klaus is just following the money to untouched fields like a swarm of locusts….all on the name of a greater good of course

    1. PHLDenizen

      I wouldn’t say that’s true. Off the top of my head, i can think of a few examples:

      1) No right to repair for modern farm equipment. Mandatory software updates that render it dead in the water, no user-serviceable parts in the field, requiring delivery to and from an authorized dealer to fix them. Rentier capitalism that endangers the ability to plant and harvest at critical moments, possible ruining a farmer’s entire revenue stream for the year. Farms are already low margin as they are. At least for crops that aren’t almonds, pistachios, avocados, etc. And even that might not be true.

      2) IP rights being flexed to the degree that seed companies actually hire goons to patrol fields, fining and threatening farmers whose fields are the victim of wind blown genetically modified seeds from adjacent farms. For farmers who do use things like Round Up Ready crops, they sign licenses and pay yearly licensing fees for new seed every season. These are more expensive than traditional seed. And then there’s the added cost of weed killers, insecticides, etc in ever larger quantities because they exert natural selection pressure, making the GMO crops’ foes more resilient.

      3) Vertical integration in poultry and pork industries. Beef to a lesser degree. Chicken farmers are forced to pay huge outlays for equipment that the processors like Perdue mandate, but whose income is subject to the whims of the processors. You can spend a million dollars on grow houses and discover that Perdue might be paying so little you lose money. The processors externalize all their costs, putting it on the backs of growers. And the contracts are so imbalanced that the farmers have zero control over pricing and zero control on how to raise their animals. They’re now machine operators handed algorithms from processors, deviation from which is grounds for contract termination. They’re sharecroppers and many end up completely bankrupt.

      Some of these are US specific. But in places like Brazil, you see JBS bribing local government to ignore safety violations. In the US, they’ve just captured regulatory agencies like the FDA. IIRC, the FDA had no mandatory recall power until 2011. Even then, it had to be dragged kicking and screaming into actually using it. The USDA, in charge of inspecting packing plants, doesn’t actually give its inspectors power to shut down a plant. And, by design much like the IRS, the ag industry ensures that there are many fewer inspectors than actually needed to enforce standards.

      Western companies also have the ability to use crop subsidies to decimate local ag industries. The billions handed to US corn growers made it impossible for Mexico’s local farmers to compete, putting them out of business. The large diversity of corn strains has been lost.

      Participation in global trade makes you a hostage to the bullies. Most countries view their inclusion in the system as the only means of survival, regardless of exploitative the terms are.

      In the 1960s, Indian farmers switched to industrial farming practices, requiring large loans to purchase equipment, GM seed, etc. Fluctuations in the cotton markets could leave them bankrupt. Suicides have been widespread in response.

      Coca Cola routinely dries out local water supplies in 3rd world countries.

      If you look at global agriculture, IMHO, there is almost no untouched locale. Europe is still a holdout, but only due to concerted action and how well that endures — especially with climate change causing the desertification of Southern Europe — remains to be seen. France, I believe, is already having problems with grapes ripening too quickly, changing the flavor profile of Merlot. Local biotech industries are also pretty pissed about CRISPR edited organisms being included under the GMO ban, arguing that it kills the incentive for “innovation”. If Macron is the future, it’s not a stretch to see him privilege free market capitalism over protections of local food traditions.

      Relying on NGOs and a conspiracy of plutocrats to do the necessary downsizing and rearrangement of the way we live is entirely too naive. Being wary isn’t enough. They simply need to be eradicated and rendered powerless. I don’t see anyone outside of a small minority willing to go that route, as it’s nothing less than war demanding unconditional surrender.

        1. Kevin Carhart

          It’s a stunning film, including the remarkable Peter Tosh song, “Fools Die (For Want of Wisdom)”. The film stays with you because Black brings out the perversity while what is on screen is restrained a lot of the time.
          A lot of fintech promotes borrowing, and I have been curious whether it could be looked at as a miniaturization of structural adjustment programs to smaller scales, like people-sized. Listening to Michael Manley and Professor Witter in Life & Debt has really gotten the wheels going around for me.

      1. heresy101

        There may be hope against Bayer/Monsanto thru laser killing robots.

        “In the corner of an Ohio field, a laser-armed robot inches through a sea of onions, zapping weeds as it goes. He began using two robots last year to weed his 12-hectare (30-acre) crop. The robots – which are nearly three metres long, weigh 4,300kg (9,500lb), and resemble a small car – clamber slowly across a field, scanning beneath them for weeds which they then target with laser bursts.

        “For microseconds you watch these reddish color bursts. You see the weed, it lights up as the laser hits, and it’s just gone,” said Myers. “Ten years ago this was science fiction.” Other than engine sounds, the robots are almost silent and each one can destroy 100,000 weeds an hour.”

        If NGOs were to persuade movie stars or co-ops to put together about $50 million, this company could be bought out or another company/co-op set up to make these machines for family farms.
        Most of weed killers, gmo seeds, and insecticides would be made obsolete. Food would be for eating and not just profit.

      2. lance ringquist

        Participation in global trade makes you a hostage to the bullies.” BINGO! almost all of these civil society groups and individuals like this author, are standing in a forest, and cannot find a tree.

        wanna know where all of those billionaire oligarchs came from, free trade, where did all of these huge global corporations come from? free trade.

        those corporations and the oligarchy that controls them can roam the world with almost with complete impunity, almost free of taxation, democratic and civil control.

        you cannot have a democracy and free trade, you cannot have democratic control and free trade, you cannot have a equitable economy and free trade.

        you cannot be a free trader and a humanitarian, you cannot be a environmentalist and a free trader.

        pickettys simple graph showing that 1993, the year billy clinton sold america down the river with all of his outrageous claims about free trade, happens to be the same year on pickettys graph showing inequality sky rocketing.

        keynes had it right,

        the real left: An organizing framework for the community option was succinctly outlined in 1933 by economist John Maynard Keynes: “I sympathize, therefore, with those who would minimize, rather than with those who would maximize, economic entanglement among nations. Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel—these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily national.”

  2. AE90

    I was looking for a moderate site on the role of central banks and the banking system in the Great Reset–I confess I do not know what to believe. Anyone have a coherent understanding on how the banking system is behind this push?

  3. bassmule

    Way, way back when “I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke” was the jingle-du-jour, we used to joke about Coca-Cola getting a seat at the UN. Not so funny anymore.

  4. Henry Moon Pie

    Thanks for this, Yves. Tragically, a “great reset” is not a bad phrase for what we need right now, but the last thing we need is to hand over more power to the billionaires and their lackeys. Good old NC keeping us forewarned and forearmed across an amazingly wide variety of topics.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most of these people are mentally ill, Gates in particular. Their vision for the world is sick.

    1. Isotope_C14

      “Their vision for the world is sick.”

      Well said Henry.

      These guys want to turn the world into a black mirror episode.

      Hopefully the righteous prevail, but I’m not betting on it.

    2. jr

      “I’ve come to the conclusion that most of these people are mentally ill, Gates in particular. Their vision for the world is sick.”

      Agreed. Look at that “smile” on Bezos the Space Cowboy’s face from a few weeks ago. There is nothing to smile about behind that weird grimace, it’s a void, a bottomless pit. How can you still crave the notoriety, the power, and the wealth when you have so much already? What is the point? Degenerates.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        Indeed, they are not careless. What they do is not accidental. Instead, they are completely alienated from Nature, from their fellow human beings and ultimately, from their real selves. They are madly pursuing the warped desires of some twisted ego that’s been formed inside them, with their ongoing complicity at a certain point.

  5. LawnDart

    Democratic representation is so twentieth century– I’m sure that minor stakeholders will have access to arbitration as a means to address grievances. And governments certainly won’t become irrelevant since rules need enforcement in order to be effective.

    1. Greg

      This is an important point. We’re already seeing a rise in the cases of legislated violence being used on behalf of corporate interests – although this has been going on since corporations were first invented, it definitely seems to be increasing post 2001/8. Dakota pipeline was a big loud USian case, but there are myriad examples around the world.
      Relegation of governments to being thugs on behalf of business interests and nothing else is totally black mirror.

      1. MichaelSF

        Smedley Butler, in his book “War is a Racket” said that he, as a U.S. Marine, largely acted as “muscle” for corporate interests.

  6. ilpalazzo

    So this thing is like a neoliberal Internationale, replicating state level methods of eroding democratic oversight but on a higher level.

    I was curious what’s the fuss about since the term has been popping up on computer gaming sites and last week my mom wanted to discuss and article in a popular weekly that was about it.

    NC as usual has the information laid out clearly and on point, thanks.

    BTW the funny thing (or maybe not so funny) is that there is a cult classic PC computer game that seems to predict current events with surprising accuracy – a global conspiracy, a disease, vaccines and all that. It’s Deus Ex, developed by Ion Storm in 2000. Check it out if you are into that sort of thing.

  7. JTMcPhee

    Looks like NC was way ahead on describing and calling out the manifestation of this horror, too.

    Back in November 2011 Yves put out the first of a “trolling” series of articles titled “Journey into a Libertarian Future.”–the-vision.html Looks to me like this “stakeholder” sh!t is a big part of the means and methods of bringing about the Great Collapse that to my mind is the inevitable endgame of the Great Reset.

    It’s a cancerous disease, converting healthy tissue to proliferating, unchecked growth of deadly tumors, able to conceal itself from the immune system and to trigger angiogenesis of “blood channels” to funnel all the living wealth to feed the tumors…

    Effing stupid humans — not fit for purpose.s

    1. Susan the other

      We need new social equations, like if there is no democratic government there can by logic be no profits for corporations. Because decision making requires that there be no vested or conflicting interests. If there are no human rights, animal rights or environmental rights there can by logic be no corporate rights. Corporations must be prevented from making unilateral decisions. There must be tribunals or courts to decide disputes – these institutions cannot be compromised by corporations in any way. Local communities must have coalitions and decision making forums with other local communities. Corporations, by their very nature cannot coalesce unless they give up profits; they must not ask for special tax treatment from any governing body as they put themselves in the sole position of decision maker and provider. And on and on. Corporations are antithetical to sovereign government as well as to democracy which they seem to want control over. Corporations can not be the taxing authority. Corporations can not be sovereign in any way. Corporations cannot deal in any currency except that which has taxing authority. There are so many problems with this whole nonsensical hallucination of the future that it would be a tragedy to even let it think it can go forward. Unless corporations give up all profits and revenue. Then, of course, they are not corporations. Grief.

  8. roguescholar

    Honestly this sounds like what’s been happening for years already. New terms used as PR to make it appear as good corporate governance.


    I was watching a David Graeber interview the other day where he discussed the idea of “deregulation” in banking being similar to lawyers to rush to file suit first. In reality there is no such think as banks being deregulated as they have the ability to create money out of thin air – there are only changes to the rules under which they operate. But when this idea of “deregulation” came up as an economic order in the 80’s/90’s -> the banks were quick to “file suit” first to make sure they were the ones who were able to define what this new order would look like.

    So when the World Economic Forum comes out and says we need “stakeholder capitalism” -> makes sense that every corporation is going to rush in and define this new order to their advantage. I think it might be that simple here. Corporations are hearing that there is new economic order and are rushing to define it. And of course their definition will be one of greater corporate power, increased privatization, less government interference, etc.

  10. JohnA

    Abolishing private property for everyone? Including Obama’s shorefront pile? Bezo’s with his how many bathrooms mansion again? Gates as the largest farming landowner in the US? Branson’s Necker Island? To name a handful. Or only making it illegal for the great unwashed to own anything? And what about Blackstock busy hoovering up rental properties left right and centre? Cannot imagine any of that gang releasing their clammy hands from their ill gotten property empires. Or is it a case of all stakeholders being equal, but some stakeholders are more equal than others?

    1. AE90

      I was always told that we only “hold title” to real estate. All land belongs to the government through eminent domain, with “just compensation” of course. The Reset seems to be taking the power of central governments’ right to eminent domain, and sucking it up to “stakeholders,” who will be our new masters, with no pesky “just compensation” requirement. Of course, I have also heard that this country was founded through corporate entity contracts. I guess all of those Bills of Rights were a surprise maybe for a while.

        1. AE90

          Fascinating. Scalia, Thomas, Rehnquist dissenting in favor of plaintiff, Ginsburg, Souter, Breyer in favor of New London. Hmmm. Reading down, the long fight did have some salutory effects in the long run, and New London ended up with mud on its face. Whoever got bribed into this in the beginning probably made out all right.

    2. Duke of Prunes

      I could wrong, but I think Blackrock and their ilk are buying up the housing stock to RENT it back the unwashed. Thus being completely in line with the WEF’s Great Reset, and the elimination of “private” property (“private” newly defined as not owned by a corporation / multi-stakeholder). A neat side effect is that it also eliminates one of the classic methods for unwashed wealth accumulation. Don’t want any more upstart new money throwing sand into the gears. Turn the world into a giant Potterville slum (see: It’s a Wonderful Life).

      1. Sue inSoCal

        The dissent at that time sounds like old fashioned conservatives, or at least evidence of reasonable thinking fwiw. It’s hard to even wrap my head around this now, given the present high court’s foibles, if that’s an apt word. Or more like present ongoing corporate friendliness? Who’da thought?

  11. lyman alpha blob

    If this already existing trend of corporations controlling everything continues, get ready to eat your Soylent Green three meals a day.

    And people wonder why ammunition doesn’t stay on the shelves anymore. Fears may still be inchoate, but people aren’t completely blind to what’s happening either.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Bullets were currency in the Russian science fiction novel “METRO 2033”. They are heavier and bulkier than paper money.

  12. Glen

    Well, we are seriously behind schedule for the Great Reset. Blade Runner was originally set for 2019, and we didn’t make it so they had to make Blade Runner 2049.

    So get with it people! The PMC’s bonus is in danger. We are behind schedule turning Earth into a gigantic mega corporate hellhole!

  13. Sean gorman

    So, spit balling here, we need sustainable, not endless growth? Remove limited liability. A return to responsibility in both gov’t and econ?

    1. synoia

      The Billionaires want endless growth, and they will get it.

      All else will become wage slaves. Not real slaves, they need feeding.

      Imagine hoe the Romans would have behaved if their slaves earned wages but had to pay their masters for food, lodging, and clothe, and modernize this with costly education.

  14. polar donkey

    When I worked for the division of housing and community development, my boss always had stakeholder meetings about intiatives or projects. Stakeholders weren’t regular citizens, they were banks, hospitals, FedEx, the chamber of commerce, etc. These stakeholders never contributed anything. They were there to be kept in the loop no crazy socialist stuff was happening. I guess that worked ok and now corporations just want to move on to neofeudalism.

  15. Wukchumni

    Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.


  16. Duke of Prunes

    To me, it seems like the corporations are looking to remove the middle man – that is, government. Today, the corps have to develop relationships with politicians to influence to get their way. This is messy and costly. I’m sure the MBAs have calculated how much money has been wasted on candidates who lose and/or don’t hold up their end of the bargain by voting against their interests.

    Government was necessary in the olden days to present a democratic facade to keep the masses involved and invested. Who has time to pay attention to civic matters when one is struggling for survival in an rent-seeking, value extraction, high tech panopticon? I guess our betters have determined that this charade is obsolete.

    1. Michaelmas

      Government was necessary in the olden days to present a democratic facade to keep the masses involved and invested. Who has time to pay attention to civic matters when one is struggling for survival in an rent-seeking, value extraction, high tech panopticon? I guess our betters have determined that this charade is obsolete.

      Lots of science fiction back in the 1950s predicted exactly this endgame, from Pohl & Kornbluth through Philip K. Dick to Alfred Bester’s The Stars My Destination.

      “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way, and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
      — Frank Zappa

    2. tegnost

      TPP and ISDS for sure was global corps determining what govs could do.
      We dodged that bullet but they’re still shooting so duck.

  17. John

    I think the Chinese might have a different idea of how things should go.
    Jack Ma, how is that western corporatism, master of the universe stuff working out for you?
    One never knows.
    Mother Nature might have some ideas about globalism and who’s running the show.
    It might not even include humans, masters and serfs.
    Clueless capitalists might end up the best epithet.

  18. drumlin woodchuckles

    You know what they say about conspiracy theories . . .

    It’s not a theory if its actually happening.

    1. ChrisRUEcon

      Was about to say, w.r.t. the sub-lede “The Great Reset is a planned corporate takeover of global governance that affects our food, our data and our vaccines.”, I think the plan is already being executed.

      1. Questa Nota

        We know it works in practice, but does it work in theory?

        Get people onto those dissertations and the theory will fall into place.
        Which people?
        Top people.

        Just like in Raiders of the Lost Ark, only updated to today’s modern sensibilities.

  19. Eustachedesaintpierre

    It makes sense I suppose for the insatiable & at least for me the pandemic has been revealing, with it’s unified TINA chorus from governments, the MSM, & tech godzillas as to what Nurse Ratched Big Pharma decides which meds are best for us for a juicy price, which I also suppose is the method they mean to apply to just about everything else that they can use in the same way, to extract from those who would otherwise likely be surplus to requirements.

    I don’t think they will ever arrive at a sufficient enough for their greeds El Dorado, but like the Conquistadors they will create a lot of damage trying.

  20. saywhat?

    Sounds like the corps are taking over.

    But hey, aren’t corporations the most so-called “worthy” of the public’s* credit but for private gain?

    Sounds like someone shot themselves in the foot?

    Ya can’t cheat an honest man?

    *because of, for example, government insurance of private, including privately created, bank deposits.

  21. JCC

    I’ve been pointing out to my friends for years that stakeholder capitalism is just another name for a version of modern, technocratic, corporate-run feudalism.

    Now we get to call it “The Great Reset” … to feudalism. History may or may not repeat itself, but power always does, and it always calls it “progress”.

  22. MonkeyBusiness

    Isn’t the world running out of cheap energy? The Great Reset might turn out to be nothing more than “electricity will only be available from 3 pm to 7 pm everyday”.

  23. David Mills

    Technofeudalism (per Varoufakis) of the Casino Gulag (per Keiser).

    Stakeholder Capitalism is the woke way of saying Corporatism.

  24. begob

    Is the historical model the 100 years of rule by the British East India Company? It employed its own liberal philosopher, John Stuart Mill, and was opposed tooth and nail by a conservative philosopher, Edmund Burke, who drove a parliamentary inquiry against the abuses of Warren Hastings for the best part of two decades. In the end, there was a bloody revolt and the British state took control. The shares were redeemed after compensation paid from taxes raised in India (beginning 25 years after the state had paid compensation to slave owners); the legacy debt was only extinguished during WWII.

    Corporations and the limitation of the liability of their shareholders are creatures of statute, so in principle their built-in advantage can be wiped out in an afternoon’s vote on the floor of the House of Commons, with the only existing safeguard against that in human rights law. I wonder if a workaround has been conceived.

    JSTOR has The Corporation That Changed the World: How the East India Company Shaped the Modern Multinational:

    1. Johny Conspiranoid

      ‘their built-in advantage can be wiped out in an afternoon’s vote on the floor of the House of Commons,’

      What is the purpose of the City of London’s ‘Rememberancer’ in the H of C? He has his own chair facing the speaker.

  25. Johny Conspiranoid

    I can’t understand why people feel the need to say things like ‘conspiracy theories aside’ before they tell you their conspiracy theory. Which part of your entirely convincing description does not fit the ordinary definition of the word conspiracy? Its true that all your sources are in the public domain but the obvious effort that has gone into limiting the circulation of this information means it is intended that it remain unknown to the bulk of the population, so meeting the ‘secret agenda’ part of that definition. The ‘malicious intent’ part of the definition is obviously, from the writer’s description, the global elite’s plan to instate a capitalist world order by turning everything into private property which they will own. “Hiding in plain sight” means ‘secret agenda’ and ‘more sinister because it’s real and it’s happening now’ means ‘malicious intent’.

  26. Kouros

    Some good Sci-Fi books present a future, or societies that even if technologically advanced, are feudalist in nature: Maddaddam, The mote in the god’s eye/The Griping hand, Dune, etc.

    And Ms. Templeton has shown how to take cattle to slaughter…

  27. Michael von Plato

    The article and comments, all very enlightening.
    The rich and powerful are planning to become richer and more powerful. How surprising.
    They, and just about all of us, are engaged in rearranging the deck chairs on planet Earth.
    In the end (yes, nigh-ish) none of this will matter very much.
    No, I’m not a hippie; I’m a retired meteorologist who keeps abreast of the science, and a somewhat competent armchair economist.
    What’s here: forest fires. In Spain, in Greece, in California, in Canada. Ten million acres of forest in flames and out of control in Russia. Floods. Erosion. Loss of soil.
    And those trees are not coming back.
    What’s coming, baked in the cake, inescapable: More of the same – because nothing is being done. Results? Crop failures, famine, Völkerwanderung, war. Of necessity, increasingly autocratic governments.
    If anybody out there can contradict my bleak outlook and support it with logic and evidence, please, I’d like to hear from you.
    Meanwhile, let’s entertain ourselves and speak of interest rates and housing prices.

  28. Amfortas the hippie

    late to this party.
    this:”…civil society organizations fear it will come down to Big Tech creating a global body to govern itself….”

    that phenomenon….giant megacorps(e) rushing to form a global governing structure…while teabilly morons have kittens over “agenda 21′ and “global communism” in “world government” for fifty frelling years…has been on my radar since the first clinton term.
    it was easy to see this coming if you didn’t trust anybody on the radio or the then still gestating cable and intertube information environments.

    as ive said, after i figured out that i was having a catastrophic herbicidal manure event…and given the weird weather we’ve had out here all year…i gave up on having a real garden this year…focusing, instead, on finishing all the infrastructure projects i’ve been plodding away at for a year and a half…and maintaining a couple of pocket gardens….around the cowboy pool at the bar, and in the “Panyard” outside the greenhouse, where the big bust of Pan/Curnunnos lives.
    (i impale grasshoppers on his deer antlers)
    nevertheless,without much effort, i managed to accumulate a shitton of eggs, and a whole world of trombocini zukes..much more than we can absorb.
    so i called around and found the woman who runs the foodbank, and gave it all away.
    and that, my friends, is how you beat the damned corps(e)-monopoly…growing and giving away food as a Civil Right…one that is to be defended with vigor…even iff we must mostly operate in alleyways like heroin dealers
    —both i and she technically broke numerous state and federal laws in this non-transaction–she knew it, i knew it, and did it anyway
    (raises fist, recites a certain NWA song that’s been in his head from 30+ years ago…puffs splif defiantly, while , sitting naked at the Wilderness Bar, listening to Art Pepper, and watching chickens run around chasing grasshoppers)

  29. Christopher Horne

    “Although the functions laid out for this new body are quite vague, civil society organizations fear it will come down to Big Tech creating a global body to govern itself.”

    I have just been reading a book on the history of Eastern Californian Agriculture. Since the 19th Century, very little has changed. Big Ag
    still gets 75% of all of California’s water, in spite of a doomsday scenario
    for the groundwater there. Greed (and almonds) still rule the region.
    In quintessence, power and avarice are the primary catalyst.
    I have the very good fortune to be old. I grew up during the 70-odd years
    of the now fast-decaying American Century. I have concluded I was destined to live out, in one lifetime, the entire life-span of one of the
    greatest empires of history. But consider the underlying implications.
    This is not a matter of politics, it is the essence of Human Nature.
    We have always been a highly destructive species. That didn’t matter so
    much as long as humans were busy establishing their ‘territory’ (the Earth).
    Now this peculiar trait has simply run out of running room.
    The next logical step, of course, is for Corporations to establish their own
    caliphate, with maybe Elon Musk or his equivalent to be de-facto ‘Emperor
    of the World.’ Normally, species evolution takes place over millions of years.
    It took many millions of years for windblown pigeons from India to turn
    into flightless dodos. As a species, we have hardly changed at all since
    Cro Magnon man. We are cavemen to this day.

  30. Steve Ruis

    I think the idea of shareholders is there only to foment a secondary market for the rich to play in. I one looked at what Apple Computer’s initial stock offer was and how much money that generated. Then I compared what was paid in dividends for that money and what would have happened if Apple had borrowed that amount from a bank (or banks). Basically, Apple is still paying dividends to those shareholders (having added a great many more, of course) but the amount of money paid to the shareholders would have paid off the bank loan(s) many, many, many times.

    What we are taught in school about how companies “go public” to generate capital to help their companies grow is true and about 0.5% of the whole picture. The rest of it is massive rent extraction by people working the market and whatnot. We would be better off without stock markets as they are a net drag on the economy (by extracting rents and producing nothing).

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