In part one of this series we looked at what is dubbed the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution‘ through the eyes of the World Economic Forum and the International Monetary Fund. To broaden our understanding of what the revolution means from a globalist perspective, let’s now turn our attention to the Bank of England and governor Mark Carney.
A few months ago Carney delivered two keynote speeches which addressed specifically the revolution and the current trend of a rise in protectionism throughout Europe and in the United States.
The first of these speeches was on the 21st of June, 2018, at Mansion House in London. Titled, ‘New Economy, New Finance, New Bank‘, Carney outlined a brief history of globalisation over the past two hundred years. The first wave, which he credited as beginning in the 19th century, saw the development of banking and trade credit services, and with it a large expansion in global trade. In the 20th century came the second wave and the introduction of electronic trading, the creation of the Euro-Dollar market and the arrival of emerging markets around the world.
According to Carney, with the economy now ‘on the cusp‘ of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, the infrastructure underpinning the current financial system ‘must be overhauled‘ amidst a ‘rebalancing of the global order.’
- Profound change demands new finance – new finance demands a new bank.
Under the heading, ‘New UK Economy‘, Carney mapped out what this means. The new finance and new economy will revolve around intangible capital, meaning a rise in the use of digital money over physical coins and banknotes.
- Intangible capital is now more important than physical capital. Data is the new oil.
One of the most significant aspect to this ‘new economy‘ is how the Bank of England are re-building the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS). RTGS is a system that facilitates the transfer of funds from one bank to another and, in Carney’s own words, is the ‘backbone of every payment in the UK.’ New private payment systems will incorporate distributed ledger technology – the technology that is integrated within the blockchain system of cryptocurrencies.
Such a system of ‘instantaneous electronic payments‘ means that checkout ‘can be eliminated‘.
- The customer, not cash, will reign supreme.
The new RTGS will be able to ‘capture richer data on every payment made‘, with the BOE looking at using the corporate identifier ‘The Legal Entity Indentifier (LEI)’ in all UK payment systems. This would mean every transaction undertaken through these new systems could be traced directly back to its users. The LEI works to a global standard and would be a format that ‘defines international best practice‘. To deflect concerns of a breach of privacy, Carney used the excuses of combating terrorism financing and preventing money laundering to justify the inclusion of LEI.
The globalist push for an overhaul of the payments system, in which intangible capital becomes more important than tangible capital, is designed to restrict anonymity and lead to the gradual abolition of physical money. Cash payments are not traceable to the individual. For globalists to gain further control of the financial system, digital money must become the leading choice of payment.
It is perhaps no coincidence, then, that billboards like these are becoming more common place in the UK:
The overriding theme in Carney’s Mansion House speech is one of change, in so far as ‘a new economy, a new world and new demographics demand a new financial system.’
- That’s why we are building the infrastructure so that UK households and businesses can transact anywhere, anytime with anyone whether around the corner or around the world.
- That means connections between small businesses in Scunthorpe and their clients in Shanghai and between households in Belfast and firms in Bangalore.
In return for participating in this new financial system, the individual will have no option but to relinquish their right to anonymity. Transactions will take place through this new system (‘Data is the new oil‘), and given that physical money is gradually being made obsolete, those unwilling to take part risk rendering themselves destitute. The eventuality of a cashless society is essential for the new system to function as globalists intend.
In conclusion, Carney explicitly stated that the Bank of England ‘now have a balance sheet fit for a new world order, with greater reliance on markets in a wider range of reserve currencies.’
Two weeks on from Mansion House, Carney attended the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit to deliver a speech called, ‘From Protectionism to Prosperity.’
Repeating how the global economy is on the cusp of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, Carney also emphasised that this decade has seen the first fall in real incomes since the middle of the 19th century,’in the wake of a global financial crisis, and in the midst of a technological revolution that will change the very nature of work.’
Technological revolutions of the magnitude that Carney describes mean that ‘painful periods of adjustment‘ are unavoidable. Multiple jobs will be permanently lost because of automation and artificial intelligence.
- It can take more than a generation for new skills to be acquired. And decades can pass before gains in productivity flow through to the wages of all workers.
According to Carney, the main lesson from the first three Industrial Revolutions is that in order to create opportunities for everyone, ‘fundamental changes‘ to labour markets, social welfare and the education system are a necessity.
Important to recognise here is that this speech was specifically focused on two areas – finance and trade – with both perceived by Carney as ‘critical to determining the extent to which the new technologies can bring opportunity for all.’
Here is a summary of the main points covered by Carney in relation to protectionism and monetary policy.
- The benefits of globalised trade have not been spread equally, resulting in citizens from advanced countries feeling left behind. From this protectionist sentiment has risen, prompting Carney to ask the question – ‘what could a period of de-globalisation mean for the economic outlook‘?
- Up until now, protectionism has been resisted by the G20 group of nations.
- The effects of protectionism challenging globalisation are three fold – reduced trade flows, disrupted supply chains and higher import costs. Carney warned that tariffs implemented by the Trump administration could see them rise to levels not seen in over fifty years.
- The initial impact of higher tariffs would be inflationary.
- Global and UK GDP would weaken if tariffs are widespread.
- Over the long term, ‘reduced productivity growth would be expected to compound output losses from a sustained trade war.’
- Historically there is a strong relationship between trade openness and productivity. A reduction in trade drags on productivity.
- In a general trade war, it is ‘unlikely that financial conditions would prove as robust as in previous years, or that monetary policy could be as supportive.’
- Trade uncertainty could ‘crystallise longstanding risks of a snap back in long term interest rates’ and see a ‘general tightening in global financial conditions.’
- The implications of protectionist measures will depend on the ‘balance of their effects on demand, supply, the exchange rate and import prices.’
- Carney asked if what we are witnessing on trade is a ‘temporary skirmish or the new normal.’ Implications will hinge on how quickly tariffs are passed through to prices, and whether they impact on productivity.
Despite the warnings of tighter monetary policy and a rise in prices, Carney affirmed that the Fourth Industrial Revolution provided ‘the opportunities to pursue new approaches to trade.’ Recall at this point how in part one of this series we learnt of IMF head Christine Lagarde’s perspective on a ‘new era of trade.’
For Carney, the opportunities forged by the revolution include scenarios where the future may ‘belong to small and medium sized firms, with platforms like Amazon giving direct stakes in local and global markets.’ Rather than small businesses gaining the ascendancy, this creates the impression that the future economic model envisioned by central banks will be channelled through major corporations and not independent enterprise.
As well as this, international service providers could gain entry into domestic markets. This would, in Carney’s view, improve customer choice, lower prices and result in a likely increase in productivity.
This does not change the fact, however, that severe disruption will be caused as the revolution is implemented. Large swathes of people (estimated to be in the hundreds of millions) ‘could be forced to change where and how they work.’ The potential disruption to growth could lead to ‘rising inequality‘. But the globalist standpoint is that the benefits will in the end out-way the drawbacks. The opportunities that Carney speaks of include changing the trading system to become ‘more inclusive by bringing freer trade to SMEs (small and medium sized enterprises) and to services, and for all businesses to be supported by a new finance which harnesses the promises of the 4th Industrial Revolution.’
With the Fourth Industrial Revolution being a global concept, it is quite probable that the direction of Mark Carney’s speeches was shaped by two significant events that came before Mansion House and the Northern Powerhouse Business Summit.
From May 31st to June 2nd, Carney was present at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting in Charlevoix, Canada. Topics up for discussion were: Addressing Global Risks and Promoting a More Level International Playing Field, Adapting to Change in a Modern Economy (challenges associated with technological change), and Balancing the Risks and Potential Benefits of Crypto-Assets.
It was during this meeting where bankers raised concerns over how the implementation of trade tariffs would ‘undermine open trade and confidence in the global economy.’ Cooperation between nations was also seen to be at risk by ‘trade actions against other members.’
The second event – from the 7th to the 10th of June – saw Carney attend the latest Bilderberg meeting in Turin, Italy. The agenda included: Populism in Europe, The Inequality challenge, The future of work, Artificial intelligence and Free trade.
Whether Carney’s subsequent communications were influenced by these events or not, it is beyond doubt that a majority of the subjects raised in Charlevoix and Turin tie directly in with the Fourth Industrial Revolution narrative.
In part three of this series, we will look at how the subjects of productivity and a Universal Basic Income are intrinsically linked to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We will also weigh up the latest communications from central bank officials.