Why the Great Reset Is Not 'Socialism'

Article author: 
Michael Anton
Article publisher: 
Article date: 
8 April 2023
Article category: 
Our American Future
Article Body: 

[Originally published 30 November, 2022]

It has become increasingly common to hear those on what we may call the conventional right claim that the main threat facing the historic American nation and the American way of life is “socialism.” These warnings have grown with the rise of the so-called Great Reset, ostensibly a broad effort to reduce inequality, cool the planet (i.e., “address climate change”), and cure various social ills, all by decreasing alleged overconsumption. In other words, its mission is to persuade people, at least in the developed West, to accept lower standards of living in order to create a more just and equitable world. Since the conservative mind, not unreasonably, associates lower standards of living with socialism, many conservatives naturally intuit that the Great Reset must somehow be socialist.

I believe this fear is at least partly misplaced and that the warnings it gives rise to, however well-meaning, are counterproductive because they deflect attention from the truer, greater threat: specifically, the cabal of bankers, techies, corporate executives, politicians, senior bureaucrats, academics, and pundits who coalesce around the World Economic Forum and seek to change, reduce, restrict, and homogenize the Western way of life—but only for ordinary people. Their own way of life, along with the wealth and power that define it, they seek to entrench, augment, deepen, and extend.

This is why a strict or literal definition of socialism—public or government ownership and control of the means of production in order to equalize incomes and wealth across the population—is inapt to our situation. The Great Reset quietly but unmistakably redefines socialism to allow and even promote wealth and power concentration in certain hands. In the decisive sense, then, the West’s present economic system—really, its overarching regime—is the opposite of socialistic...

But to understand both the similarities and the differences, we must go back to socialism’s source, which is the thought of Karl Marx and his colleague, financial backer, and junior partner, Friedrich Engels...

The ultimate imperative of capitalism is growth. Hence, once the local market is conquered, and then the regional, the next inevitable frontier is the national, then the continental, the hemispheric, and finally the global...

For Marxism, the reason why capitalism, evil as it is, was both necessary and desirable is that it solves the problem of scarcity. Capitalism makes want a thing of the past...

The actual experience of communism, however, suggests that real human beings do not behave as Marxism predicts. If so, that might explain, in part, why those communist states that dispensed with the profit motive have mostly failed while those that liberalized their markets (if always under strict political supervision) have fared better. “To get rich is glorious,” Deng Xiaoping exhorted the Chinese people nearly two generations ago...

And then there’s immigration. What automation can’t yet do, or is taking too long to do—drive wages to the vanishing point—untrammeled immigration assists. Marxism does not formally contemplate this contemporary capitalist enthusiasm, but it’s implicit in the imperative for globalized markets. Labor, no less than capital markets, can and must be globalized...

The Great Reset turns out to be a kind of synthesis after all— just not the one Marx predicted and certainly not one he would have welcomed...

One of its few redeeming features is that it hasn’t built any gulags—yet


This essay originally appeared in Against the Great Reset: Eighteen Theses Contra the New World Order.

See: Resetting the Great Reset: a Book Review of: Against the Great Reset, by Fred Elbel, 19 March 2023.