The Great Reset Initiative is an economic recovery plan drawn up by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The project was launched in June 2020, with a video featuring the then-Prince of Wales Charles released to mark its launch. The initiative’s stated aim is to facilitate rebuilding from the global COVID-19 crisis in a way that prioritizes sustainable development.
WEF chief executive officer Klaus Schwab described three core components of the Great Reset: creating conditions for a “stakeholder economy”; building in a more “resilient, equitable, and sustainable” way, utilizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics; and “harness[ing] the innovations of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
In a speech introducing the initiative, International Monetary Fund director Kristalina Georgieva listed three key aspects of a sustainable response to COVID-19: green growth, smarter growth, and fairer growth.
“The Great Reset” was to be the theme of the 2021 World Economic Forum annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, scheduled for January 2021. Due to disruption from COVID-19, the summit was postponed to May 2021, and again to 2022. The Davos 2022 theme was “History at a Turning Point”, and the summit was dominated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Great Reset Initiative, and the World Economic Forum more generally, have been criticized by some commentators for promoting economic deregulation and a greater role in policy for unrepresentative private businesses, particularly large multinational corporations, at the expense of government institutions. Other commentators attacked the scheme for fixating on the concept of health and vastly overestimating the ability of a group of decision makers to bring about global change, or for promoting crony capitalism.
The initiative triggered a range of diverse conspiracy theories spread by conservative commentators on social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Such theories include that the COVID-19 pandemic was created by a secret group in order to seize control of the global economy, that lockdown restrictions were deliberately designed to induce economic meltdown, or that a global elite was attempting to abolish private property while using COVID-19 to enslave humanity with vaccines.
Great Reset conspiracy theories increased in intensity when leaders such as U.S. president Joe Biden, New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau incorporated ideas of a post-COVID-19 “reset” in their speeches.