When we first saw this headline in 2016, we were skeptical. Indeed, we believed it might be a parody written to make fun of neo-Luddites pining for a pre-industrial future.
But we then read the article from which the headline was inspired. It’s written by Ida Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament. It appears to be a sincere appeal for what we could only characterize as a dystopian future. Auken now says it’s a scenario showing where we could be heading – for better or worse.
We suggest you decide for yourself how attractive you find Auken’s vision to be. Certainly, there are elements that appeal to us, even if they currently appear wildly unrealistic: free communication, free transportation, free housing, and free food. For instance, Auken suggests that free housing could be made possible by a universal sharing economy. As Auken writes:
In our city we don’t pay any rent because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.
One potential downside of this future, Auken admits, is zero privacy:
Nowhere I can go and not be registered. I know that, somewhere, everything I do, think and dream of is recorded. I just hope that nobody will use it against me.
Recently, one of our clients sent us a link to an article published earlier this month that contained a reference to Auken’s view of the future. Apparently, owning nothing and having zero privacy is the top prediction (although perhaps not official policy) of a highly influential organization called the World Economic Forum (WEF). But one initiative championed by Klaus Schwab, the founder and head of the WEF, is to end democracy. In its place, Schwab envisions a “globalized world” run by a “self-selected coalition of multinational corporations, governments … and select civil society organizations.” Schwab also wants to “penetrate governments” and lists Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau, Emmanuel Macron, and even Vladimir Putin as supporting the WEF agenda.
To top it off, the WEF also backs a concept it calls “the Great Reset.” Indeed, that was the theme of the WEF’s 2020 conference. “Capitalism as we know it is dead,” announced Marc Benioff, the co-founder and chairman of Salesforce, in his presentation. It has led to, as he put it, a “planetary emergency.” In its place, the WEF suggests we’ll have something Schwab calls “shareholder capitalism” that puts “well-being before growth.”
Another WEF goal is to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or sooner to combat climate change. Any human-caused greenhouse gas emissions would need to be balanced out by an equal or greater quantity of those gases being removed from the atmosphere.
To reach that goal, we wrote last year:
There would be no vehicles (although electric cars and trucks might be okay if they’re charged with renewable energy). No air travel or shipping, although wind or solar-powered planes and ships might be acceptable. Very little international trade in physical goods since most physical products are transported in fossil-fuel consuming planes or ships. No heating or cooling of our homes or offices with fossil fuels. No manufacturing of any product requiring fossil fuel use. No new construction. And presumably, these requirements would be enforced by a swarm of armed bureaucrats fanning out across the globe.
Admittedly, we published this article in response to a call by a group calling itself “Extinction Rebellion” advocating for humanity to reach net zero by 2025, a quarter century earlier than the WEF’s 2050 goal. Yet the means to achieve net zero, even by 2050, will be the same as to reaching it by 2025, even if the timeline is extended.
And while that future would definitely entail less growth, we’re not convinced it would enhance our well-being. Indeed, we predicted it would lead to billions of human deaths. While genocide isn’t an official WEF goal, Yuval Harari, a regular speaker at WEF conferences, has written that one of humanity’s biggest future challenges will be deciding what to do with an ever-growing number of “useless people.”
To achieve its objectives, the WEF suggests that global crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic offer an opportunity to “reset and reshape the world in a more sustainable way,” including “our chosen brand of capitalism.” It’s not hard to connect the dots to suggest that the WEF’s objectives could lead to a time where billions fewer of us owning nothing, having zero privacy, and shivering in our dilapidated homes.
To be frank, this future doesn’t appeal to us. We agree that democracy isn’t perfect. Neither is capitalism. And there’s no question in our minds that humanity has to make some fundamental shifts in the way we live in order to continue prospering on our planet. But we shouldn’t have to end democracy or shut down the global economy to achieve that goal.
Fortunately for those billions of non-elites who don’t endorse the WEF’s plans, the organization itself admits its goals suffer from a key vulnerability. As Ajay Banga, the CEO of Mastercard put it in his speech at the WEF’s 2020 conference:
We need enormous trust between the private sector and the public sector for this to actually work.
To put it mildly, that trust is sorely lacking. And the trust gap is growing, not falling. But that won’t stop the likes of Klaus Schwab and the elites he’s entrusted to reshape the world from continuing their efforts to do so.
We’ll be the first to admit that we don’t have the power to thwart the WEF agenda. But we do have a few suggestions to prepare for it. The first is to become as self-sufficient as you can, but in ways that won’t make you an enemy of the state.
For instance, we’re huge advocates of renewable energy for homes and businesses, because it makes their owners more resilient. Substantial tax and other financial incentives also exist for making investments in renewable energy technologies. And while we don’t believe anyone should be forced into making renewable energy investments, they’ll help you prepare for a possible future where fossil fuels are either unavailable or priced beyond practical affordability.
Two years ago, at the early stages of the COVID pandemic, we also made suggestions for coping with (as we put it), “the end of the world as we know it.” Our top suggestion was community: building networks of people you trust that can help you and that you can help in a crisis.
Preparing for the end of the world as we know it isn’t something you can do overnight. But start your preparations now, before a future crisis – or politicians spouting WEF platitudes – forces your hand.