The concept of a New World Order is often parodied in the media as a clandestine assembly of elites all gathered around a table and plotting how to subjugate the world’s population through the implementation of a ‘One World Government‘. It is a parody that seeks to delegitimise the theory that world events are contrived as part of a globalist goal to fully centralise economic and political power at the expense of national sovereignty and individual liberty.
Whilst the mainstream portrayal of a New World Order is devised out of juvenility, the term itself is widespread within political spheres and global institutions, and cannot simply be marginalised as a baseless conspiracy.
To illustrate, in 1991 (post Cold War), former U.S. President George H. W. Bush (once a member of the Trilateral Commission) announced that the world now had an ‘opportunity to forge, for ourselves and for future generations, a New World Order.’
A world where the rule of law, not the law of the jungle, governs the conduct of nations. When we are successful – and we will be – we have a real chance at this New World Order. An order in which a credible United Nations can use its peace keeping role to fulfil the promise and vision of the UN’s founders.
After 1989 President Bush said – and it’s a phrase I often use myself – that we needed a New World Order. And instead it looks like we got a lot of disorder.
Former UK Prime Ministers Tony Blair has cited the phrase on numerous occasions when discussing the ‘transatlantic partnership‘ developed in the wake of World War Two.
Out of it came a new Europe. A New World Order. A new consensus as to how life should and could be lived.
Blair’s successor as Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has also spoken directly on the subject. Below is an extract from a speech Brown gave at the Confederation of British Industry in 2007 – a year before Lehman Brothers’ collapsed triggering the ‘Great Financial Crisis‘:
Two hundred years ago a famous British Foreign Secretary said that the new world had been called into existence to redress the balance of the old. In 1990 another old world ended, dominated by the Cold War, and people thought then of a New World Order. What they actually meant then was a new political order. And what was not foreseen then but is obvious now is the sheer scale and speed and scope of globalisation.
A new world is emerging. It is a New World Order with significantly different and radically new challenges for the future.
In the same speech, Brown commented on the ‘world order that globalisation brings‘. When you weigh this up against what the political leaders of today are saying – namely that the ‘rules based global order‘ is now under threat from a rise in nationalism and protectionism – it becomes evident that what Brown was conveying is how globalisation itself equates to the ‘rules based global order.’
One of the leading pillars of this global order rests upon free trade between nations, something which is now being challenged by the Trump administration and brought under increasing focus with the ongoing Brexit negotiations.
Whilst these and other geopolitical fall-outs influence how people interpret events, it was prior to the supposed challenge to the ‘rules based global order‘ witnessed in 2016 that the groundwork for a 21st century variant of a ‘New World Order‘ was laid.
In December 2015, Foreign Affairs magazine (published by the Council on Foreign Relations) ran an article written by the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, titled, ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What it means, how to respond‘.
Schwab’s outline on the fundamentals of a so called Fourth Industrial Revolution can be summarised as follows:
- The revolution will be all encompassing, and involve all stakeholders of the global polity (stakeholders being the public and private sectors, academia and civil society).
- The first revolution, which began in the 1700s, used water and steam power to mechanise production. The second, between the 1800s and the First World War, progressed to electric power to create the mass production of goods. The third used electronics and information technology to begin the process of automating production.
- The fourth revolution seeks to build on the third, and is dubbed as a ‘digital revolution‘. Schwab describes this as a ‘fusion of technologies‘ that embodies the physical, digital and biological spheres.
- Technological breakthroughs will include fields such as artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, energy storage and quantum computing.
- The technology behind the revolution is already emerging and growing in notoriety – for instance, with driverless cars and the use of drones.
- The world can expect the revolution to be a symbiosis between micro-organisms, the human body, the products people consume and the buildings we inhabit.
In short, human beings will not just be mere users of this technology. Instead, they will converge with both the digital and biological worlds to become part of it.
As Schwab indicates, the revolution will mean ‘disrupting‘ virtually all industries in every nation on the planet, and see the systems of production, management and governance transformed.
It is this disruption that we will be focusing on, first through the communications of the WEF before expanding out to central bank officials and media coverage.
The technological innovation behind a Fourth Industrial Revolution will, according to Schwab, ‘lead to a supply-side miracle, with long-term gains in efficiency and productivity.’ Global supply chains (trade) would in theory become more effective, with the cost of doing business receding.
The professed destination point for this revolution, however, comes at a price – the displacement of workers by automation. Schwab speaks of how the future jobs market will become ‘increasingly segregated into “low-skill/low-pay” and “high-skill/high-pay” segments, which in turn will lead to an increase in social tensions.’
It is not only jobs that will be heavily impacted. Human identity, privacy, notions of ownership, consumption patterns, time devoted to work and leisure, how we develop as individuals and how we meet people and nurture relationships – all of this will change.
Schwab warns of two potential outcomes of the revolution. It could either ‘lift humanity into a new collective and moral consciousness based on a shared sense of destiny‘, or, ‘have the potential to “robotize” humanity and thus to deprive us of our heart and soul.’
Interconnected with people is the upheaval that will be caused to both business and the system of government.
Businesses will have no alternative but to adapt if they are to survive. The ‘emergence of global platforms means talent, culture and organisational forms will have to be rethought.’ Companies will therefore be forced to ‘reexamine the way they do business.’
Governments too must transform. Whilst they may acquire new technological powers to ‘increase their control over populations’ (in the shape of surveillance systems and digital infrastructure control), they will also have to keep up with the pace of technological change.
Schwab laments how ‘today’s decision-makers are too often trapped in traditional, linear thinking, or too absorbed by the multiple crises demanding their attention, to think strategically about the forces of disruption and innovation shaping our future.’
Ultimately, the ability of government and public authorities to adapt will determine if they are to survive.
Schwab is not the only WEF affiliate to comment on the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Head of the IMF, Christine Lagarde (who along with Bank of England governor Mark Carney is on the board of trustees at the World Economic Forum), penned an article in May 2018 that was published in a joint collaboration between both organisations.
Lagarde’s piece – ‘Here are 4 building blocks for the new era of trade which will benefit everyone‘ – spoke of how the global trading environment is changing in conjunction with the rise of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Lagarde’s position is that the revolution will bring with it new challenges, ‘putting further pressure on those workers who are less well-equipped to compete.’ She proposes that policy makers increase investment in re-training workers and also in ‘social safety nets‘ (by social safety nets, one assumes she is eluding to the future prospect of a Universal Basic Income scheme).
The nub of Lagarde’s argument is how the future of trade will require more cooperation on an international level.
Over the past 70 years, countries have worked together to create a multilateral trade system that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, while boosting incomes and living standards in all countries.
But this system needs improvement as it adapts to the new era of trade.
Because of this, Lagarde contests that now is the time for trade reforms to be implemented, ‘in a multilateral setting where rules are respected and where countries work in partnership.’ Out of these reforms will come ‘more prosperous and more peaceful communities across the world.’
The World Economic Forum published a separate article in August 2018 by Peter Engelke, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council (an institution that contains several current members of the Trilateral Commission).
In ‘Three ways the Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping geopolitics‘, Engelke argues that innovative systems create productivity, which serves to enhance technology and in the long run benefit society. As stressed by Klaus Schwab, though, ‘disruption‘ is an unavoidable consequence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Engelke asks whether nations in their current form are ‘sufficiently well prepared‘ for what is to come. He concludes that they are not, meaning ‘we can expect more upheavals in the future.’
Engelke makes the point that as industries are disrupted by the onset of new technology, ‘entire categories of work‘ could be made obsolete. His remedy? ‘States will need to adapt their educational, workforce and social welfare systems‘. But the technology emerging out of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is, according to Engelke, arriving ‘well ahead of the rules and standards needed to govern them.‘
In other words, global governance will be necessary to cope with the ferocity of change.
To demonstrate the true scale of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the World Economic Forum released a map detailing all of the major constructs throughout the world that will be affected. The key tenets to the revolution include disruption to jobs and skills, business disruption, innovation and productivity, agile governance, security and conflict, and the fusion of technologies.
Connecting through these tenets are a raft of concerns, some of which are blockchain, global governance, future of enterprise, workforce and employment, future of government, future of production, sustainable development, and public finance and social protection systems.
In part two of this series, we will look beyond the World Economic Forum and examine communications from the central banking community to see how they relate to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and most importantly the globalist vision for a New World Order.