It’s the Great Neo-liberal Utopia Show!
Norbert Häring is a financial journalist at the German daily business newspaper Handelsblatt, blogger, and an award-winning author of popular books on economics and finance.
You can read the original version in German here
Merkel, Macron, von der Leyen and other international leaders have described the Corona crisis as an opportunity to reorder world politics on the basis of multilateralism. The timing, shortly after the World Economic Forum’s meeting, and the echoes of the Great Reset proclaimed by the forum, are probably no coincidence, as an analysis of key passages will show.
In a joint plea printed in a number of important international newspapers, António Guterres, Ursula von der Leyen, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, Charles Michel and Macky Sall call for “Multilateral cooperation for Global Recovery”
Guterres is secretary-general of the UN. As a member of the “World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Humanitarian Assistance,” he has co-written texts with such fine titles as “A New Business Model for Humanitarian Assistance?” As the title suggests, one of the issues is how to let the private sector earn more from post-disaster reconstruction.
German Prime Minister Angela Merkel was discovered and promoted early on by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader, as was her French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. We know Ursula von der Leyern as EU Commission President, Belgian Charles Michel is EU Council President, and Senegalese President Macky Sall gets to bring the Global South to the table so the round would look at least a little multilateral.
At the World Economic Forum’s digital meeting Jan. 26-29, von der Leyen, Macron and Merkel were the first three of the 10 keynote speakers presented on the forum’s website; Guterres was the eighth. In the forum’s report on the event, Sall features with a long piece in which he praises his governments Covid response. A spokesman for the World Economic Forum said upon request that there was “no connection whatsoever” between the joint paper of the six “and the World Economic Forum and / or our Davos Agenda Event.
Be that as it may: after giving their speeches to the wealthy and mighty, they joined together to address the lower ranks. “Multilateralism for the masses” is the cynical seeming name of the web link under which the work is available at Project Syndicate. Project Syndicate is a publication financed by billionaire and global democratization supporter George Soros, through which the messages of the powerful are disseminated to newspapers around the world, to those in developing countries for free.
Multilaterally unsuccessful in the past
The Project Syndicate article begins with “…. Millennium Declaration … Common goals …. multilateral order … Hunger and extreme poverty, environmental degradation, disease, economic shocks, and conflict prevention … 2015 UN Agenda 2030 …”, then concedes that what has been done and agreed upon to meet those challenges has not been very successful. And now Corona, too! But now we absolutely have to do it multilaterally and do it right this time, is the message “for the masses”:
We believe that this pandemic crisis can be an opportunity to rebuild consensus on an international order – an order based on multilateralism and the rule of law – through effective cooperation, solidarity, and coordination.”
The Covid 19 crisis, as the greatest test of global solidarity in generations, reminds the six that in the face of a pandemic, our own health protection is only as strong as the weakest link in the global chain.
The pandemic, they say, requires accelerated and broader access to tests, treatments and vaccines. In this context, the six fully support the ACT Accelerator platform launched in April by WHO and G-20 partners, which (whoever) should provide stronger political and financial support.
Liberally translated this says:
We are not even considering the demand put forward in tiresome persistence by South Africa and India to suspend patent protection for COVID vaccines and medicines so that they can also benefit people in poorer countries. Our friends at the World Economic Forum and our own pharmaceutical companies, accustomed to extremely high profit margins, would give us hell if we allowed such a precedent to be set. We would then be confronted again and again with the demands that patent protection, which is so lucrative for our companies, be revoked or relaxed. At some point, this could even lead – God forbid – to the poorer countries narrowing the technology gap and producing things themselves that they have been buying from us at a high price up to now. No, we’d rather give a little money so that the very poor countries can at least get the small amounts of vaccines we haven’t secured for our own people at a discount or for free.’
The six also “encourage the free flow of data between partners and voluntary licensing of intellectual property.” Voluntary is the key word.
They also admit that “in the long term,” there is a need for an “independent and comprehensive evaluation of our crisis response” so that they can learn the necessary lessons from this pandemic and better prepare for the next one.
It’s crisis and we’re all out for ourselves. Nothing to be done about it. In the long run, (political term for “when we are no longer in office”) we are perfectly willing to concede that. So leave us alone now with your fruitless short-term criticism.’
It continues with environmental issues: ‘… emergency … UN climate conference in Glasgow … sustainability … ambitious commitments to carbon reductions…” All governments, businesses, cities and financial institutions should now join the global coalition to reduce CO2 emissions to net zero as envisioned by the Paris climate agreement – and develop concrete plans and actions, the six urge.
Take a cue from the world’s largest financial investor, Blackrock, which sets extremely ambitious CO2 targets for some of its funds and writes letters to CEOs to that effect, while financing the biggest polluters and climate sinners with other funds. Join in the big eco-bluffs “climate neutrality” and “net-zero” that allow us and our corporations to show a green facade to the masses without hurting the bottom line.’
Then the economic crisis is deplored, and in many words the widening gap between rich and poor, always diluted and equated with the gender equality issue: ‘In many countries, the gap between rich and poor has become unsustainable; women still don’t have equal rights, and many people need to be convinced of the benefits of globalization.’”
After that it gets interesting. Helping the world economy out of the crisis that is leaving millions starving and impoverished is can only be pursued to the degree that we can keep globalization going in the process and make sure intellectual property rights are respected:
As we help our economies overcome the worst recession since 1945, it remains our core priority to ensure rules-based free trade as an important engine of inclusive, sustainable growth. We must, therefore, strengthen the World Trade Organization and fully use the potential of international trade for our economic recovery.”
“Rules-based free trade,” means trade according to the rules of rich countries and their corporations, while fully respecting excessive rights to very long-term protection of patented intellectual property and the ability of corporations to pay no taxes where they do business. It rules out trade and capital controls or preferences for domestic producers based on development goals.
They also see a need to ensure that the global recovery reaches everyone, by strengthening support for developing countries, particularly in Africa: “This involves leveraging and building on existing partnerships such as the G-20 Compact with Africa initiative and its joint efforts with the Paris Club under the Debt Service Suspension Initiative.”
Yes, we leave the developing countries and Africa alone with their problems, but at least we talk about helping them. For example, we talk again about the “Compact for Africa”, which was announced in a big way under the German G20 presidency and then forgotten and not funded, with which we only wanted to improve the conditions for foreign investors there anyway. And we praise the activities of the Paris Club of sovereign creditors, which is prepared to temporarily suspend the bad debt service of states suffering particularly from the covid crisis.”
Silicon Valley to the rescue
The six high-ranking authors devote the final and arguably most important part of their article to propaganda for Silicon Valley, i.e. the globally dominating IT-companies from the West Coast of the US:
The rise of new technologies has been a great asset for progress and inclusion, contributing to the openness and resilience of societies, economies, and states, while proving lifesaving during the pandemic. Yet, almost half the world’s population – and more than half the world’s women and girls – remain offline and unable to access their benefits.”
So, to address the crisis, one of the top priorities of the heads of the EU Commission, the UN, and the governments of Germany, France is to help Silicon Valley corporations connect the rest of the world to the internet in order to make even more profit with their data and to amass even more power.
However, they caution that, to prevent abuse, it is necessary to “involve the relevant stakeholders toward effectively regulating the Internet in order to create a safe, free, and open digital environment, where the flow of data in a trusted environment is guaranteed. ” There is a need to ensure “that data flows in a trusted environment,” they say. In other words, the masses and their rulers in Africa and elsewhere should be given enough trust do not resist and resent the swelling outflow of their data to Silicon Valley and the power over them that accumulates there as a result.
A plea for “inclusive pluralism” follows to address humanity’s crisis and problems, and then an explanation of what is meant by that, namely institutions like the “Paris Peace Forum” that they say served to “address these challenges with a clear vision of the future.” Leaders from politics, business, religion and other fields were invited to participate in this global exchange of ideas, they add. That sounds like Klaus Schwab’s global governance of stakeholder capitalism. And indeed, in a promotional-sounding article on Wikipedia about the “Paris Peace Forum,” there is a revealing sentence in the first paragraph:
The Paris Peace Forum completes the existing world agenda of multilateral meetings by creating a special event for global governance issues, just as economic and financial issues are addressed at the Davos World Economic Forum and security issues at the Munich Security Conference.”
So this is what is meant by multilateral global governance, World Economic Forum, Munich Security Conference, and now the Paris Peace Forum. Events at which global corporations from the IT, military and other industries and associated foundations are given the opportunity to bring their globalization concerns to the attention of decision-makers in transnational institutions – far removed from any oversight by elected representatives and without any accountability to them. That, after all, is the main purpose of global governance: to establish stable guardrails for the actions of democratically controlled and legitimized institutions.
According to Wikipedia, the steering committee of the Paris Peace Forum includes the director of the Global Governance Program of the Council on Foreign Relations and the president of George Soros’ Open Society Foundation.