The Sociable

The year is 2030. You own nothing, but you are happy about it. You do not need private property, possessions or privacy. Why would you? Everything you could ever need is provided to you by the government and big corporations. Life as we know it is now digitalised. All communication is digital; we have a cashless society, a digital identity. We do not need to worry either. We will be provided with a universal basic income so that we can acquire these services. We are completely dependent on the government. This isn’t Black Mirror or part of 1984 by George Orwell. This is the plan by the World Economic Forum (WEF) for the Great Reset. 

The Great Reset was proposed by the WEF in the 50th annual meeting held in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. An exclusive, invite-only event for politicians, billionaires and even royalty such as Prince Charles. This gathering is where the most powerful people discuss world issues and network out of the public’s eye. Klaus Schwab founded the WEF in 1971 with the mission “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas”. The proposed plan for the Great Reset is to rethink capitalism and rebuild society in a more equal, sustainable way and restart the financial system. The Fourth Industrial Revolution will help facilitate this through modern technological advances such as big data, AI, internet of things. The claim is by having a paradigm shift and moving away from our current system that supposedly addresses the greed of corporations to one that focuses on equality and preserving the planet. A society where we don’t actually own products but hire them as a service or with a subscription-based model. In other words, “You will own nothing but you will be happy about it”. If we are happy with owning nothing, then they, who own everything, must be ecstatic. 

This ideal is far from reality, over 100 000 small businesses in America and many others worldwide have shut down due to lockdown restrictions due to the pandemic. Families are suffering, and they are restricted while big corporations are profiting massively and markets are at all-time highs. Regulations are strangling small businesses, while the bargaining power of the big companies let them flourish and take over the market share even further. Most of us have suffered, so is it wise to give the government and big corporations all the power and control of our lives? Universal basic income will allow us to spend in this new world. We will be given our ration of income to access services such as kitchen equipment, clothes, transport. There is no need to own anything when you can just rent it. They can now control what we own.

Social media censorship has become more prominent in recent years. The banning of conservative politicians, terminating social media platforms like Parler and “cancel culture” that circulates in chat forums. This and more subtle practices like shadow banning make it more difficult to find certain accounts on platforms. The search algorithm is structured purposefully to minimalise exposure.. Is it really to protect from hate speech and misinformation or a crime against free speech? Everyone has the right to freedom of expression, but the internet has drastically changed how we experience this. The original idea was based on the premise that if you don’t like it, don’t look. Now, however, it seems that if you do not support the narrative, you aren’t allowed to speak. This raises the question of where do we draw the line? And most importantly, who are these ‘fact-checkers on social media platforms that judge what you can and cannot say? They are merely hired by third parties but are they truly qualified? They can now control what we see and think. 

How can they ensure that you will be behaving well and following their policies? We will be constantly monitored, and a social credit score will be in place because a non-obedient citizen is not wanted and needs to be dealt with. Does this seem far fetched? Well, this social credit score system has already been implemented for years in China. The way it works is that each citizen has an identity file, which records every transgression you have done. You are constantly surveilled, and in many cases, there is even automated face recognition. Bad behaviour such as jaywalking, crossing red lights, not paying bills will eventually get you blacklisted where you will start losing rights. A blacklist can stop you from buying plane tickets, taking certain trains, buying property or taking a loan. There is no reason this cannot be further implemented in Western society. A way to a brighter future or a path to enslavement? They can now see everything we do.

Universal basic income, censorship and a social credit score system. You can own nothing, say and think only what you are allowed to think. They will know exactly what you do at all times. We will become entirely dependent on the government and institutions that are organising this. This can be appealing to some as it allows you to avoid personal accountability, and you only need to follow what is instructed. If everyone can operate in unison and are happy to obey, then the system could work. It could be a utopia where we can all live as equals. Everything we need will be provided to us, and we will not have to worry. We can live life and enjoy it. 

However, this is fundamentally flawed; we as humans need a sense of purpose—something to be proud of, something to set ourselves apart from others. We are driven by ambition and the desire to better ourselves and those around us. We need to explore and welcome new ideas. If you suppress people long enough, they are not happy anymore even if conditions are perfect. To force equality of outcome, rather than providing all with equality of opportunity, risks society becoming more unequal and increases resentfulness. This has been seen historically in Cuba, USSR and Venezuela. With this level of control, you will not have freedom of choice, the right to ownership and private property. After all, humans have an innate build system of hierarchy that stems down to our nature. The flaws to such a system are quite prominent. You will have to give all you are as an individual and your freedom. Only if we can self-actualise can we then live together, united, belonging to a common goal.  A dystopian disaster or a universal utopia? You be the judge of that; after all, no one can take your opinion away… for now.