Pandemic must lead to real change to avoid risk of conflicts and revolutions, WEF founder says

By | July 14, 2020

Participants in a demonstration against racism hold a sign with a clenched fist, the so-called “Black Power” symbol, at Neumarkt. The rally of the “Black Lives Matter Dresden” group wants to draw attention to structural racism after the violent death of George Floyd.

Sebastian Kahnert | picture alliance via Getty Images

The founder of the World Economic Forum has warned that a failure to tackle the deep-rooted ills of our society in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic could exacerbate the risk of “violent shocks,” such as conflicts and revolutions.

Professor Klaus Schwab and French author Thierry Malleret’s book, “Covid-19: The Great Reset,” looks ahead to what the post-coronavirus world could look like barely four months after the outbreak was first declared a pandemic.

They argue that the global health crisis has “magnified the fault lines that already beset our economies and societies,” noting a multitude of surveys have shown many “collectively desire change.”

The outrage following the police killing of George Floyd and the broader Black Lives Matter movement reflect the “urgent necessity” to embark on the so-called “Great Reset,” the authors said.

“George Floyd’s death was the spark that lit the fire of social unrest, but the underlying conditions created by the pandemic, in particular the racial inequalities that it laid bare and the rising levels of unemployment, were the fuel that amplified the protests and kept them going,” Schwab and Malleret added.

To date, nearly 13 million people have tested positive for Covid-19 around the world, and there have been 569,128 related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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The International Monetary Fund has previously warned that the world is heading towards the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, while the International Labour Organization has said nearly half of the global workforce could see their livelihoods destroyed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Many of us are pondering when things will return to normal. The short response is: never,” Schwab and Malleret write. “Nothing will ever return to the ‘broken’ sense of normalcy that prevailed prior to the crisis because the coronavirus pandemic marks a fundamental inflection point in our global trajectory.”

They add: “Some analysts call it a major bifurcation, others refer to a deep crisis of ‘biblical’ proportions, but the essence remains the same: the world as we knew it in the early months of 2020 is no more, dissolved in the context of the pandemic.”

The co-authors of the book, published Monday, insist the world needs to see, without delay, a reset that puts the world on a path toward a more inclusive, equitable and respectful future.

“This is not a ‘nice to have’ but an absolute necessity. If we fail to address and fix the deep-rooted ills of our societies and economies, there will be a heightened risk that, as throughout history, ultimately a reset will be imposed by violent shocks like conflicts and even revolutions,” Schwab and Malleret said.

“It is incumbent upon us to take the bull by the horns. The pandemic gives us this chance: it ‘represents a rare but narrow window of opportunity to reflect, reimagine and reset our world,'” they concluded.

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