July 5, 2022

AGAINST THE GREAT RESET: ‘China, Covid-19, Realpolitik, and the Great Reset.’

Within a little over a year, politicians themselves seemed to be laughing at the phrase, even as they could not stop using it. In October 2021, Boris Johnson’s office seemed to imagine that the British public had become so thrilled by the “build back better” tagline that it was time for some riffs on the theme. At this stage, somewhere between lockdowns umpteen and nineteen, Johnson released a number of videos on his social media pages in which the slogan build back better was posted on the screen. Johnson seemed to imagine that the British public was in a playful mood around the theme. The videos included one of him spreading butter on some pieces of toast and looking at the camera and saying “build back butter.” In a second video, with the build back better motif over it, the Prime Minister could be seen unrolling a packet of fish and chips. “Mmm” he says appreciatively, before looking at the camera and saying “Build back batter.” Terms like “pathetic” and “inadequate” would fail to do justice to such political moments.

The obvious comparison to make at this stage is with great plagues in history. And though most were of a degree of seriousness that far outweighs the effects of Covid, it is a sobering consideration. Who, for instance, viewed the so-called “Spanish flu” of a century ago as an opportunity? Who would have dared in the early months or years after that pandemic ravaged the planet to see it as an opportunity to rebuild the global economy in a different way?

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