While it has taken on all sorts of different meanings, a concept known as The Great Reset did actually begin as an earnest way to restart the global economy and backfill it with greener industries. The idea comes from a 2020 video narrated by Prince Charles and supported by The World Economic Forum, which claims that “investing in nature” could become the “true engine” of the economy. It’s a well-meaning but essentially aimless message, in other words.
In the USA, the cost of a gallon of gasoline reached $5 for the first time ever back in June. Similarly, in the UK, inflation has reached 9.4%, as essentials such as dog food, spaghetti, and milk continue to increase in price to unaffordable levels. The cost of some brands of butter has climbed to almost comical levels in recent months – £9.35, up from £3.06 – prompting some Brits to make the stuff at home instead. Unfortunately, as wages have stagnated too, there’s little respite from hardship to be found anywhere.
The one good thing emerging out of turmoil is that banks, the government, and even some private companies are finding ways to assist people with the ballooning cost of simply staying alive. A new Cost of Living hub now exists on most banks’ websites, including Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, whereas Barclays has pledged to adjust mortgage payments to reflect the growth in interest rates. Santander has reportedly hired hundreds of new call center staff to deal with cost of living-related calls.
All the above makes an idea like The Great Reset seem like a good one yet its goals are as nebulous as they come. In brief, there’s a lot of talk about climate change and reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, as well as a tax on the wealthy. You may have also heard The Great Reset referred to as The New Normal and other things that suggest that everybody’s lives are about to change in some way or another. We can now fold in working from home, a reduced emphasis on cars for travel, and a reduction in household waste as part of the same idea.
In 2020, emissions around the world dropped by 7%. Current models suggest that humanity needs to reduce pollution by 7.6% every year to 2030 just so that environmental and ecological destruction doesn’t become unrepairable. To this end, the World Economic Forum holds an annual retreat for the world’s most influential people in order to increase awareness of its goals and, hopefully, spur governments into action. This summit usually takes place in Davos, Switzerland.
This brings us right back around to how other entities are providing assistance, albeit without the seemingly overconfident aims of The Great Reset. A quarter of people in the UK have already received the first part of a financial support package from the Treasury (£326) but businesses such as Bird & Bird, a law firm in London have actually taken the extra step of giving all employees earning under £50,000 a £1,000 gift. This has become a bit of a running theme with law companies, as Irwin Mitchell also gave £900 to non-partner employees back in April.
While this kind of help does assist with overcoming the cost of living crisis, it also has the added benefit of creating loyalty among workers. Due to a number of factors, such as non-competitive wages and lack of flexibility, plenty of businesses are struggling to attract fresh employees and competing with other companies to address staff shortages. In lieu of financial bonuses, though, some businesses use gestures of faith to retain employees. The credit card issuer Moss claims that giving corporate cards to workers can “strengthen” a team.
The previous is most commonly associated with higher-ups and travelling salespeople, Moss notes that a corporate card for business expenses is relevant to interns, CMOs, and everything in between. It does still allow monitoring, with real-time updates that help maintain an overview of costs. This kind of perk sits in the same bracket as company cars and laptops, in that it suggests at least a modicum of trust in the employee, even though their actions are surveilled.
The Great Reset
Employee retention isn’t going to be helped by The Great Reset. To paraphrase World Economic Forum founder Professor Klaus Schwab, the opportunity to create a more sustainable environment, both in terms of the natural and economic worlds, is on a timer. Schwab described a “rare but narrow window” to change the trajectory of humanity. Sadly, the fact that the UK recently faced temperatures that weren’t expected to occur for another thirty years suggests that a tipping point has already been reached, with major polluters still doing exactly that, polluting.
Overall, stating that The Great Reset will not happen how the rich and famous envision it isn’t really all that bold of a statement. The concept is crippled by the fact that it requires multiple problems to be solved at once, all of which are dependent on other fixes occurring at about the same time. However, its fame is growing among ordinary people. In terms of Facebook posts, mentions of the World Economic Forum’s plans jumped from just over 10,000 to almost 35,000 following its mention by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in late 2020.
There’s still a sense that The Great Reset needs more concrete goals, though, especially as the world struggles with summer wildfires and even burning buildings. Time magazine has an entire section on its website that’s dedicated to World Economic Forum’s initiative but even this repository of articles is full of generalizations that offer to ‘drive change’ and ‘build better’. In Time’s defense, it’s far from a scientific journal.
The risk is that we may spend more time talking than doing, even despite the presence of the small window we have left to restore our environment. Ongoing resistance to greener industries is also holding back campaigns like The Great Reset, as e.g. Poland struggles to abandon its coal industry. Sadly, we may find out sooner rather than later just how much longer the environment can withstand our hesitancy to change.