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Brownstone Institute

Did Lockdowns Signify the “End of Abundance?”

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From the Brownstone Institute

BY W. Aaron VandiverW. AARON VANDIVER

French President Emmanuel Macron gave a speech not long ago in which he made a rather shocking prediction about the future of his nation and presumably the rest of the world.

“What we are currently living through is a kind of major tipping point or a great upheaval … we are living the end of what could have seemed an era of abundance … the end of the abundance of products of technologies that seemed always available … the end of the abundance of land and materials including water….”

The G7 leader’s words of warning about the literal end of material prosperity caught my eye in a way that most headlines do not. I also noticed that Paris switched off the lights on the Eiffel Tower to save a meager amount of electricity, providing a potent symbol to underscore Macron’s message about the “End of Abundance.”

In this era of economic chaos, disrupted supply chains, ruinous inflation, a severe energy crunch in Europe, tensions between nuclear superpowers, and extreme political polarization, plus intense worries (in some quarters, at least) about climate change, there are emerging signs of a belief in the once unthinkable: the possibility that Progress with a capital “P” may no longer be assured.

It should be obvious at this point that Covid-19 lockdowns and related pandemic policies, including the printing of trillions of dollars to paper over the intentional disruption of society, played a major role in bringing about today’s negative economic conditions. These conditions could last a very long time, particularly considering the mild political blowback to Covid chaos that we saw during the midterm elections. Brownstone’s Jeffrey Tucker has written about the potentially far-reaching effects of lockdowns:

“But what if we aren’t really observing a cycle? What if we are living through a long shock in which our economic lives have been fundamentally upended? What if it will be many years before anything that we knew as prosperity returns if it ever does? … In other words, it is very possible that the lockdowns of March 2020 were the starting point of the greatest economic depression in our lifetimes or perhaps in hundreds of years.”

The worst depression in hundreds of years? That would be since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, more or less. The Bank of England, incidentally, just warned that the UK is facing the longest recession since records began. The historical forces we are living through now might be so big that most of us might not even recognize them until much later.

Taking the long view, we should ask ourselves: were lockdowns the initial cause of the chaos we are experiencing, or were they the unfortunate result of a larger historical phenomenon that we are just now beginning to understand? As Tucker noted, “[i]n the 1930s, no one knew that they were living through what came to be called the Great Depression.” So it is fair to ask, would you know if lockdowns were the first crisis of an era that will one day come to be called the “End of Abundance?”

Thinking the Unthinkable

The “End of Abundance” is a radical concept, but then again so is shutting down the whole world.

The utterly radical nature of the ideas that gave rise to Covid-19 lockdowns are striking. In August of 2020, Anthony Fauci wrote that the goal of his policies was nothing less than to “rebuild the infrastructure of human existence.”

During that time we heard the constant refrain from Joe Biden, Boris Johnson, and other world leaders: “Build Back Better.” And from the Davos technocrats at the World Economic Forum (WEF) we have heard talk of the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” which to them means “merging the physical, digital and biological world” in order to fundamentally change “what it means to be human.”

Locking down the population and subjecting it to draconian restrictions is, for some reason, absolutely central to their vision of changing “what it means to be human.” Bill Gates and other influential elites have pointed to the Covid-19 response as their template for addressing future challenges, and have even floated the possibility of future climate lockdowns (no, sadly this is not a conspiracy theory).

The million-dollar question that many have tried to answer is, “Why now?” Why, at this point in history, do elites insist on the power to lock down the world? Why, after decades of post-World War Two prosperity, have so many abandoned values that are fundamental to our civilization? Why, in the second decade of the 21st century, are we taking a nosedive off the elevator of “Progress?”

There is no shortage of theories as to “Why now?” There are many critics of the WEF’s “Fourth Industrial Revolution” and the “Great Reset,” for example, who say that elites have cooked up imaginary challenges like climate change and “saving the planet” as excuses for the exercise of tyrannical power, in what amounts to a big scam.

I am not satisfied with those kinds of answers, even though I think they contain elements of truth, given that elites obviously use certain issues as a pretext. To my mind, environmental concerns definitely are not a scam (although the “solutions” often are). What has been happening since March 2020 is much bigger than a scam. The radical ideas underlying the lockdown mentality simply must have a more radical motivation behind them. These people literally just tried to shut down the entire world and reboot it like a malfunctioning computer!

If you are looking for the most profound motivation possible for the incredibly radical lockdown mentality and the vast destruction it has wrought, I would submit that you could do no better than the “End of Abundance.” And what does “Abundance” mean exactly? I think it can be summarized in a single word: Growth. The “End of Abundance” means the End of Growth.

Imagining Limits to Growth

“We don’t know how to make a zero-growth society work,” conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel said in an interview for Unherd, in which he claimed that Covid-19 lockdowns resulted from the long-term stagnation of growth and innovation in our society. His argument is that as society has slowly stagnated over the past several decades, we have tacitly abandoned the aspiration to growth, leading to a sort of malaise that has “resulted in something like a societal and cultural lockdown; not just the last two years but in many ways the last 40 or 50.”

Thiel contends that limits to growth are not inevitable, but that the belief in limits is a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. He calls this “a long, slow victory of the Club of Rome,” the global think tank that published the famous book—some would call it infamous—The Limits to Growth fifty years ago.

His statement “We don’t know how to make a zero-growth society work” is spot on. Limits of any kind are anathema to growth-based, industrially developed countries in which everything is built on the premise of perpetual growth.

This is why, for most people, the end of economic growth is absolutely unimaginable. But not for everyone.

For me, the end of growth has been something of a preoccupation for about ten years, since I first read The Limits to Growth. My reaction to the book was similar to Thiel’s only in the sense that I agree that the end of growth would be a cataclysm for our growth-based society. Unlike him, I do not see the limits to growth as merely a self-fulfilling prophecy, but rather as an accurate description of the very real physical and biological limits of a finite planet.

The premise of The Limits to Growth, based on a major study conducted by researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is that natural resources and the capacity of the planet to absorb industrial pollution are limited, and therefore infinite economic growth on a finite planet is impossible. The original study, which has been reviewed and updated over the years, projected various scenarios in which an end to growth of the global industrial economy—a long-term decline in industrial output, the availability of non-renewable natural resources, industrial pollution, food production, and population—would start at some point in the first one-third to one-half of the 21st century. Right about now.

The Limits to Growth was extremely controversial from the moment it was published. Prominent Western leaders attacked the notion of limits as a dangerous delusion. The Right refused to accept limits, believing that human ingenuity and technological innovation will always overcome whatever ecological limits exist.

After briefly preaching limits, the progressive Left abandoned that faith, too, and now believes that limits can be overcome with some combination of activist government and “green” technologies like solar panels and wind turbines (e.g. the “Green New Deal”). Even climate-change models that predict catastrophic levels of warming this century assume global GDP growth through the year 2100.

The vast majority of people in our society, both Right and Left, have never taken the idea of limits to growth seriously. But what if you are in that small group of people who have taken the concept seriously? And what if you have stuck to the basic belief that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible? What might you have expected to see at this point in the 21st century?

Chaos, essentially. The breakdown of the social contract. Civil strife. A mental-health crisis. Declining life expectancy. The spread of irrational beliefs. The destructive urge to tear down rather than build up. Dangerous levels of inflation. A global food crisis. People eating crickets and drinking cockroach milk. The extinction of two-thirds of the Earth’s wildlife. The disruption of fragile supply chains. The rapid accumulation of debts.

The printing of vast amounts of money. A quarter of American adults so stressed they cannot function. Plastic pollution (like five billion Covid masks) filling the oceans. Wildfires and floods. Diesel fuel shortages. Unprecedented financial and economic dislocations. Scary new terms like “poly-crisis.” Desperate grasping for solutions. Warnings from the United Nations that we are at risk of “total societal collapse” due to climate change, ecosystem failure, and economic fragility, and urging the “rapid transformation of societies”. Add to that list a procession of global leaders making strange, grandiose declarations about the need to “rebuild human existence” and “change what it means to be human.”

In other words, if you were waiting for the limits to growth to start kicking in at this point in the second decade of the 21st century, you might have expected to see the kinds of disturbing things that we have been witnessing in recent years. Dennis Meadows, lead author of The Limits to Growth, has said that the projections of his fifty-year-old study “resemble what we are experiencing” in the world currently.

Meadows has not criticized Covid lockdowns, but he has confirmed that his study showed “growth was going to stop around 2020”—the year that the whole world just happened to shut down—and would be accompanied by all sorts of unpredictable and potentially extreme “psychological, social, and political factors.” It should be further noted that the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, gave a speech on October 1, 2019, mere months before global lockdowns, in which she warned of a “synchronized slowdown” of the global economy covering “90 percent of the world,” creating “a serious risk that services and consumption could soon be affected.”

The coincidences in timing are remarkable. The predicted end of growth, an actual slowdown in global growth, and the lockdown of the entire globe all converged in 2020. Does this necessarily mean The Limits to Growth was right, or that lockdowns were a direct response to limited growth? No, but again the current state of the world is eerily consistent with the pandemonium that you might have expected had you taken the concept of limits to growth seriously.

Speaking for myself, when I first became aware of the implications of the limits to growth in 2014 and 2015, I told my close friends and family, “The 2020s will be chaotic.” Three months into the start of the new decade, when the whole world suddenly came to a grinding halt, I began to recall the prediction I had made. Three years into one of the most chaotic decades in history, I am beginning to worry that I was onto something.

Interestingly, whether you believe that biological and physical limits to growth truly exist, as I do, or you believe that limits to growth are merely a figment of some fevered Malthusian imagination that has somehow manifested itself in the real world, as Thiel seems to think, the result is arguably the same: the “End of Abundance.”

Limits and Lockdowns

Thiel is not the only one who has linked lockdowns to the limits to growth. While almost everyone on the environmental Left supported lockdowns or at least refrained from speaking out against them, there are a handful of heterodox environmental thinkers—those who tend to be skeptical of partisan narratives, corporate power, and technocratic “solutions”—who have connected the dots between limits and lockdowns.

The British novelist and essayist Paul Kingsnorth, for example, has written that “we have no idea what to do about the coming end of the brief age of abundance, and the reappearance, armed and dangerous, of what we could get away with denying for a few decades: limits.”

Kingsnorth, an Orthodox Christian and an unorthodox environmentalist (he calls himself a “recovering environmentalist”), has vigorously criticized the technocratic response to the pandemic, observing that Covid “was used as a trial run for precisely the kind of technologies…which are now increasingly sold to us as a means of ‘saving the planet.’” He says that the Brave New World that the technocrats are trying to build, with its machine-like desire to exert control over everyone and everything, is unable to recognize limits of any kind, whether natural or moral.

Professor Jem Bendell of the University of Cumbria is one of the few on the environmental Left who has spoken out against authoritarian Covid policies. He is known for his “Deep Adaptation” paper describing the severe disruptions to society that he believes will result from climate change. He has criticized lockdowns, mandates, and other non-democratic responses to the pandemic, suggesting they are a form of “Elite Panic”—a panicked reaction of a social elite to a disaster event, with a focus on measures of command and control—which parallels a potentially similar panic among elites regarding climate change that “could inspire leaders to curtail personal freedoms.”

Panic, the desire for control, and the curtailment of personal freedoms. Yes, I find that to be a very good summary of the story we have been living for two and a half years.

If we dig deeper into the assumptions and beliefs of Western elites, it becomes clear that they are afraid that the global economy, especially their own way of life, is threatened by “limiting” factors. This fear is a driving force behind their support for lockdowns and other radical ideas they have concocted in an attempt to overcome those limits and protect themselves. Panicking elites in Western society may not specifically believe in the “limits to growth,” or use those words, but they feel in their bones that systemic global risks are getting worse.

Lockdowns, it is crucial to recognize, are not a mere sideshow in the “End of Abundance” drama. They play a starring role. Remember, as Thiel said, we do not know how to make a no-growth or even a low-growth society work. Only through some radical new approach to governance can a stagnant or declining economy be managed.

When the economic pie is growing everyone can get a larger slice, but when the pie is shrinking everyone must share the pain, unless a small number of powerful people find a way to seize a bigger slice of a smaller pie at the expense of everyone else. That is what lockdowns were all about.

Lockdowns and “The Mindset” for Coping with the “End of Abundance”

In the novel, Gone with the Wind, the Southern aristocrat Rhett Butler described his philosophy of profiting from the disintegration of the Old South. “I told you once before that there were two times for making big money,” he said to Scarlett, “one in the up-building of a country and the other in its destruction. Slow money on the up-building, fast money in the crack-up.”

Western elites appear to have a similar attitude toward the “crack-up” of the Old Normal.

For years the elite Davos crowd has been active in making plans for the end of the world as we know it. They have extensive plans to profit from “green” energy and other ostensibly “sustainable” responses to environmental limits: insect protein, fake meat, gene-edited crops, factory foods, capture of carbon dioxide, etc. They also tend to own “doomsday” compounds and underground bunkers—Thiel has a luxury bolthole in New Zealand—and spend substantial time and resources planning for catastrophic end-of-civilization scenarios.

The Italian scientist Ugo Bardi, a member of the Club of Rome who co-edited the fifty-year update to The Limits to Growth, has compared bunker-owning elites to those of the collapsing Roman Empire. “We see a pattern,” he says. “When the rich Romans saw that things were going really out of control, they scrambled to save themselves while, at the same time, denying that things were so bad.” Many elites fled to their bunkers during the pandemic, as Covid-19 brought their long-simmering fears of social disruption to the forefront.

Technology writer Douglas Rushkoff’s recent book, Survival of the Richest, documents in detail the habits of mind of uber-elites who have been prepping for social collapse. His book is based on a talk he was invited to give to a group of five ultra-wealthy men, including two billionaires, in 2017. Rushkoff thought he had been invited to speak about the future of technology, so he was surprised when the men only wanted to ask questions about something they called “The Event.”

“The Event,” wrote Rushkoff. “That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.” Read that again. Unstoppable virus. This was over two years before Covid-19.

The five powerful men’s interest revolved around a key question asked by one of them, the CEO of a brokerage house. He was desperate to know, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after The Event?”

“This single question occupied up for the rest of the hour . . . . [H]ow would he pay the guards once even his crypto was worthless? What would stop the guards from eventually choosing their own leader?

The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers – if that technology could be developed “in time.”

I tried to reason with them. I made pro-social arguments for partnership and solidarity as the best approaches to our collective, long-term challenges . . . . They rolled their eyes at what must have sounded to them like hippy philosophy.

Rushkoff calls the outlook of these five men—a representative slice of the power elite in Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Washington, DC, and Davos—The Mindset. “The Mindset,” he writes, “allows for the easy externalization of harm to others, and inspires a corresponding longing for transcendence and separation from the people and places that have been abused.” Those with The Mindset, he says, believe that they can use their wealth, power, and technology to somehow “leave the rest of us behind.”

Does The Mindset sound familiar? It should, because it is a great description of how global elites (and their white-collar functionaries in the laptop class) responded to Covid-19. They pushed all the pain of locking down society onto average people, while seeking to avoid the catastrophic consequences. (Rushkoff has not criticized Covid-19 lockdowns in these terms, as far as I can tell, even though he deftly described “The Mindset” behind them).

In 2020 and 2021, the richest and most powerful huddled in their luxury compounds as they used their influence to shut down large swathes of society and declare a “high-tech war” on the virus.

The world’s ten richest men literally doubled their massive personal fortunes in one year, as did Fauci—“fast money on the crack-up” remember—even as their lockdowns caused economic conditions to crater, undermining everyone’s prospects over the longer term, including their own. Average people suffered the collateral damage of a non-functioning world. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide were pushed into hunger and dire poverty.

In short, a powerful class of panicked elites used lockdowns to seize larger slices of a shrinking pie, and they used technology to keep the masses from getting too rowdy as their slices got smaller. The tech-enabled social controls that regular citizens were subjected to—contact tracing apps, QR codes, vaccine passports, social-media censorship, etc.—served as the sort of technological “disciplinary collar” that the men at Rushkoff’s meeting had dreamed of.

Lockdowns were a perfect expression of The Mindset for handling a major disruption to the global economy that prevails in ultra-elite circles (no, this is not a “conspiracy theory,” it is just how these people think). And like it or not, most of the people in these circles believe that humanity is now faced to one degree or another with the mother of all crises: the “End of Abundance.”

They are looking to a future of lockdowns, mandates, mass surveillance, censorship, underground bunkers, fake meat, factory-farmed bugs, and digital “disciplinary collars” as they “change what it means to be human” and “rebuild the infrastructure of human existence.”

These are not the words, ideas, and plans of confident leaders who believe in a bright future for their people. These are the words, ideas, and plans of self-interested leaders who are preparing to profit from a dystopian future of some kind, and above all to protect themselves.

This is the kind of thinking that attends the decline or collapse of a nation, empire, or civilization. If Western leaders had confidence in a future of robust growth, they would not be trying so furiously to tear down existing social, economic, and cultural arrangements and build them back “Better.”

How to Respond to the “End of Abundance?”

So what is the correct response to the potential “End of Abundance” and the lockdown mentality it has spawned? Right now, there are two general responses.

Those who resisted Covid-19 lockdowns, mostly on the Right, want to beat back the worst excesses of the New Normal. They have been disappointed by the relatively mild political blowback to the Covid fiasco, and ultimately hope for a political movement that will facilitate a return to a golden age of post-World War Two growth, freedom, and the American Dream. The last thing they want to do is give the people who foisted lockdowns on us more power, or adapt to a world of no growth.

Those on the progressive Left who supported lockdowns actually long for a New Normal. They are losing sleep about climate change, Covid-19, new pandemics, worsening inequality, the dreaded MAGAs, and an uncertain future. They are believers in the Brave New World sold to them by the woke technocrats. Progressives believe that future limitations can be overcome if we trust “Experts” and “The Science” and mercilessly punish “Deniers.”

Can either of these strategies prevail? The Right’s strategy of returning to the good ‘ol days neglects the fact that social, economic, and environmental conditions have drastically deteriorated in the last 50 years. This deterioration is precisely why most Western elites and virtually all of the biggest players in the market—Big Tech, Big Pharma, Big Finance, Big Media, Big Ag—have gotten on board with the New Normal, i.e. profiting from some kind of crack-up of the Old Normal.

The Left’s strategy of trusting in new technologies and grand central plans is no more realistic. “Green” energy cannot “solve” climate change because it is probably impossible to convert the world to green energy, or power the economy with it, and attempting to do so would itself cause enormous damage to the planet. All the elaborate technocratic plans for saving the planet—smart cities, cricket cakes, solar farms, sun-reflecting chemical clouds, social credit systems, misinformation task forces, stay-at-home orders—will surely solve nothing and can only bring about a centralized tech-enabled dystopia that primarily benefits elites.

Personally, I am sticking with the view that The Limits to Growth got it pretty much right fifty years ago. Infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. Nothing can change that. Not “The Science,” not the “Free Market,” not the “Green New Deal,” not the “Great Reset,” not Lockdowns, and not any technology, ideology, grandiose philosophy, or radical scheme. This fundamental reality—the clash between our finite existence and our infinite material ambitions—is why we are in an unprecedented social, economic, and ecological crisis.

And even if I am wrong about that, “The Mindset” of a panicked elite class which no longer believes in a future worth striving for, and which aims primarily to protect itself at the expense of everyone else, virtually ensures societal decline. “Great civilizations die by suicide,” wrote the famed historian Arnold Toynbee, an act that he said was usually committed by a small class of elites who shift from leading to “dominating” everyone else.

So I cannot imagine a lasting return to the Golden Age of growth that conservatives dream of, or the birth of a Brave New World that progressives fantasize about. I think we will all be living in a world that few dream of and even fewer fantasize about: a world of limits.

As Paul Kingsnorth has written, “[w]hatever we think our politics are…we have no idea what to do” about the problem of limits. To the extent any positive outcome is possible, I think it can only emerge from a long, slow process of decentralization. As the global economy strains under the weight of limits, a network of local economies, cultures, and political systems may arise that will serve human needs, and the needs of the planet, better than the centralized dystopia that most Western elites envision.

If some sort of humane decentralized response to a world of limits fails to emerge, we have already had a preview over the last two and a half years of a centralized response to the “End of Abundance.” As Macron put it in his speech, “Freedom has a cost.” He and his allies in the halls of power intend to eliminate that cost from their bottom line. This is their only vision for a future of limits.

But perhaps you feel that all talk about “limits to growth” or the “End of Abundance” is hogwash. Maybe you are convinced that anything less than growth forever and ever is unthinkable. Maybe you believe that the global economy will triple in size over the next three decades and US GDP will smoothly expand from $25 trillion to nearly $75 trillion by 2052 (with a serviceable $140 trillion national debt), as the Congressional Budget Office projects, without any serious damage to the planet or nasty “Fourth Industrial Revolution” to spoil the fun.

Over the long term, regardless of temporary ups and downs, the underlying realities that gave rise to the radical lockdown “Mindset” are not going away. If your understanding of freedom, democracy, and the good life depends on perpetual growth, the constant march of Progress, and ever-rising material standards of living, I hope that you do not eventually find yourself with no choice but to open wide, hold your nose, and eat the bugs.

Better to swallow the bitter reality of limits.

Of course, I could be wrong. Maybe infinite growth on a finite planet is possible, and a return to a golden age of growth is just around the corner.

Author

  • W. Aaron Vandiver

    W. Aaron Vandiver is a writer, former litigator, and wildlife conservationist. He is the author of the novel, Under a Poacher’s Moon.

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Brownstone Institute

How Did a Small Group Do This?

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By JEFFREY A. TUCKER

“You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.”

A very interesting study appeared last week by two researchers looking into the pandemic policy response around the world. They are Drs. Eran Bendavid and Chirag Patel of Stanford and Harvard, respectively. Their ambition was straightforward. They wanted to examine the effects of government policy on the virus.

In this ambition, after all, researchers have access to an unprecedented amount of information. We have global data on strategies and stringencies. We have global data on infections and mortality. We can look at it all according to the timeline. We have precise dating of stay-at-home orders, business closures, meeting bans, masking, and every other physical intervention you can imagine.

The researchers merely wanted to track what worked and what did not, as a way of informing future responses to viral outbreaks so that public health can learn lessons and do better next time. They presumed from the outset they would discover that at least some mitigation tactics achieved the aim.

It is hardly the first such study. I’ve seen dozens of such efforts, and there are probably hundreds or thousands of these. The data is like catnip to anyone in this field who is empirically minded. So far, not even one empirical examination has shown any effect of anything but that seems like a hard conclusion to swallow. So these two decided to take a look for themselves.

They even went to the next step. They assembled and reassembled all existing data in every conceivable way, running fully 100,000 possible combinations of tests that all future researchers could run. They found some correlations in some policies but the problem is that every time they found one, they found another instance in which the reverse seemed to be true.

You cannot infer causation if the effects are not stable.

After vast data manipulation and looking at every conceivable policy and outcome, the researchers reluctantly come to an incredible conclusion. They conclude that nothing that governments did had any effect. There was only cost, no benefit. Everywhere in the world.

Please just let that sink in.

The policy response destroyed countless millions of small businesses, ruined a generation in learning losses, spread ill health with substance abuse, wrecked churches that could not hold holiday services, decimated arts and cultural institutions, broke trade, unleashed inflation that is nowhere near done with us yet, provoked new forms of online censorship, built government power in a way without precedent, led to new levels of surveillance, spread vaccine injury and death, and otherwise shattered liberties and laws the world over, not to mention leading to frightening levels of political instability.

And for what?

Apparently, it was all for nought.

Nor has there been any sort of serious reckoning. The European Commission elections are perhaps a start, and heavily influenced by public opposition to Covid controls, in addition to other policies that are robbing nations of their histories and identities. The major media can call the victors “far right” all they want but this is really about common people simply wanting their lives back.

It’s interesting to speculate about precisely how many people were involved in setting the world on fire. We know the paradigm was tried first in Wuhan, then blessed by the World Health Organization. As regards the rest of the world, we know some names, and there were many cohorts in public health and gain-of-function research.

Let’s say there are 300 of them, plus many national security and intelligence officials plus their sister agencies around the world. Let’s just add a zero plus multiply that by the large countries, presuming that so many others were copycats.

What are we talking about here? Maybe 3,000 to 5,000 people total in a decision-making capacity? That might be far too high. Regardless, compared with the sheer number of people around the world affected, we are talking about a tiny number, a mico-percent of the world’s population or less making new rules for the whole of humanity.

The experiment was without precedent on this scale. Even Deborah Birx admitted it. “You know, it’s kind of our own science experiment that we’re doing in real time.” The experiment was on whole societies.

How in the world did this come to be? There are explanations that rely on mass psychology, the influence of pharma, the role of the intelligence services, and other theories of cabals and conspiracies. Even with every explanation, the whole thing seems wildly implausible. Surely it would have been impossible without global communications and media, which amplified the entire agenda in every respect.

Because of this, kids could not go to school. People in public parks had to stay within circles. Businesses could not open at full capacity. We developed insane rituals like masking when walking and unmasking when sitting. Oceans of sanitizer would be dumped on all people and things. People were made to be afraid of leaving their homes and clicked buttons to make groceries arrive on their doorsteps.

It was a global science experiment without any foundation in evidence. And the experience utterly transformed our legal systems and lives, introducing uncertainties and anxieties as never before and unleashing a level of crime in major cities that provoked residential, business, and capital flight.

This is a scandal for the ages. And yet hardly anyone in major media seems to be interested in getting to the bottom of it. That’s because, for bizarre reasons, looking too carefully at the culprits and policies here is regarded as being for Trump. And the hate and fear of Trump is so beyond reason at this point that whole institutions have decided to sit back and watch the world burn rather than be curious about what provoked this in the first place.

Instead of an honest accounting of the global upheaval, we are getting the truth in dribs and drabs. Anthony Fauci continues to testify for Congressional hearings and this extremely clever man threw his longtime collaborator under the bus, acting like David Morens was a rogue employee. That action seemed to provoke ex-CDC director Robert Redfield to go public, saying that it was a lab leak from a US-funded lab doing “dual purpose” research into vaccines and viruses, and strongly suggesting that Fauci himself was involved in the cover-up.

Among this group, we are quickly approaching the point of “Every man for himself.” It is fascinating to watch, for those of us who are deeply interested in this question. But for the mainstream media, none of this gets any coverage at all. They act like we should just accept what happened and not think anything about it.

This great game of pretend is not sustainable. To be sure, maybe the world is more broken than we know but something about cosmic justice suggests that when a global policy this egregious, this damaging, this preposterously wrongheaded, does all harm and no good, there are going to be consequences.

Not immediately but eventually.

When will the whole truth emerge? It could be decades from now but we already know this much for sure. Nothing we were promised about the great mitigation efforts by governments turned out to achieve anything remotely what they promised. And yet even now, the World Health Organization continues to uphold such interventions as the only way forward.

Meanwhile, the paradigm of bad science backed by force pervades nearly everything these days, from climate change to medical services to information controls.

When will evidence matter again?


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Author

  • Jeffrey A. Tucker

    Jeffrey Tucker is Founder, Author, and President at Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Life After Lockdown, and many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.

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Agriculture

The Enemies of Food Freedom

Published on

From the Brownstone Institute

By TRACY THURMAN  

In every war, there is necessarily an enemy force, and the war on our food supply is no exception.

My previous article addressed the ongoing attacks on farmers across the globe. In today’s article, we will look at some of the culprits behind this agenda. For anyone who delved into the entities behind the tyrannical Covid policies, many names on the list below will seem quite familiar.

Bayer/Monsanto

Bayer merged with Monsanto in 2018, combining the companies responsible for Agent Orange and pioneering chemical warfare. In 1999, Monsanto’s CEO Robert Shapiro bragged that the company planned to control “three of the largest industries in the world—agriculture, food, and health—that now operate as separate businesses. But there are a set of changes that will lead to their integration.” Today these chemical manufacturers control a huge percentage of the world’s food supply.

Cargill and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Cargill is a World Economic Forum partner and the largest private company in the United States. This behemoth monopolizes unimaginably vast swaths of the global food industry, including meat processing in the United States. Cargill’s business practices, along with bigger-is-better policies enforced by their cronies at the United States Department of Agriculture, have led to the closures of many local abattoirs which forced farmers to depend on a few corporate mega-slaughterhouses. This leaves farmers waiting 14 months or longer for butchering slots, for which they often must transport their animals hundreds of miles—indeed, farmers and ranchers must book processing dates up to a year before the animal is even born. The high fees charged by Cargill’s slaughterhouses contribute to the skyrocketing price of meat—all while the farmers themselves are barely paid enough to cover the cost of raising the livestock. The USDA, meanwhile, makes sure their policies prevent farmers from processing meat themselves on their own farms.

Wellcome Trust

The Wellcome Trust, the former owner of Glaxo before it merged with SmithKline, played a major role in Britain’s Covid debacle and is unapologetic about its goal of reducing your food sovereignty. Wellcome Trust funds Livestock, Environment and People (LEAP), an organization dedicated to developing and testing behavioral modifications to coerce the public into removing meat and dairy from their diets. LEAP’s co-director Susan Jeffs bemoans that motivating people with environmental impact labels on their foods does not seem to work: “People are already settled into very established habits” and suggests instead altering what the industry provides, thereby forcing consumer choice. Wellcome Trust researchers recommend “availability interventions” that “rely less on individual agency” to reduce access to animal food products. Researcher Rachel Pechey opines that “meat taxes show a promising evidence for effectiveness but have been less acceptable in survey work…we don’t want to just go for the most acceptable [solutions].”

The World Health Organization

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s Director-General, would like you to believe that food production is responsible for almost one-third of the global burden of disease. He calls for transforming the global food system toward plant-based foods, reducing meat and dairy in our intake, and enforcing policies to save the climate through restricting diet. A WHO 2022 report concluded that “considerable evidence supports shifting populations towards healthful plant-based diets that reduce or eliminate intake of animal products.”

World Economic Forum

You are likely familiar with the World Economic Forum and their Great Reset agenda. Visit their webpage and treat yourself to such morsels as 5 reasons why eating insects could reduce climate changewhy we need to give insects the role they deserve in our food systems, and why we might be eating insects soon. Suffice it to say that their plans for your dietary future are clear.

EAT Forum, the Lancet, and their Big Tech and Big Chemical Partners

The EAT Forum is “dedicated to transforming our global food system through sound science, impatient disruption and novel partnerships.” It was co-founded by the aforementioned Wellcome Trust, the Strawberry Foundation, and the Stockholm Resilience Centre. Their FRESH initiative—Food Reform for Sustainability and Health—aims to transform the global food system. Partners in the FRESH initiative include Google, Cargill, Syngenta, Unilever, Pepsico, and many chemical processors such as BASF, Bayer, and DuPont—a rather odd cast of characters for developing a healthy and sustainable dietary plan. EAT’s Shifting Urban Diets Initiative advocates for cities to adopt the Lancet-endorsed Planetary Health Diet, in which plant-based proteins are set to replace meat and dairy. Red meat is limited to 30 calories per day. A report drafted by EAT found that the transformation they want to foist upon our diets is “unlikely to be successful if left up to the individual,” and “require(s) reframing at the systemic level with hard policy interventions that include laws, fiscal measures, subsidies and penalties, trade reconfiguration and other economic and structural measures.”

The Rockefeller Foundation

Members of the Rockefeller family may carry more blame than anyone else in history for turning agriculture away from independent family farms towards corporate conglomerates.

In 1947, Nelson Rockefeller founded the International Basic Economy Corporation to modernize and corporatize agriculture in South America, particularly in Brazil and Venezuela. IBEC transformed farming to depend on expensive machinery and inputs that priced subsistence peasant farmers out of viability. The American International Association for Economic and Social Development (AIA), a Rockefeller-funded philanthropic organization, helped build the market through which IBEC could enrich its owners. While IBEC’s promotional literature claimed that the company was generously assisting the Third World by providing necessary consumer products while turning a profit, on closer examination, it was simply a business enterprise built on the Rockefellers’ old Standard Oil model, in which smaller competitors are forced out using monopolistic practices before prices are raised.

This tactic was taken to a whole new level with the so-called Green Revolution, first in Mexico in the 1940s, then in the Philippines and India in the 1960s, as well as in the United States. Traditional farming practices such as the use of manure as fertilizer for heirloom native crops were replaced with a model of mechanized chemical farming, using Rockefeller-funded new seed varieties which had been developed to require petrochemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce significantly increased crop yields compared to the traditional crops grown by peasant farmers in these countries.

It is worth noting that the Rockefellers, as oil oligarchs, stood to profit handsomely from the petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides that this new method demanded. The crops grown were almost all cereal crops like rice and replaced more nutrient-dense, traditional crops like millet. India experienced an increase in food but a decrease in nutrition: with more empty calories but fewer fruits, vegetables, and animal proteins, micronutrients disappeared from the diet. Anemia, blindness, fertility problems, low birth weight, and immune impairment increased.

While the Green Revolution was hailed as the solution to world hunger and poverty, it also poisoned local water supplies, depleted the soil, and left farmers drowning in debt as they could no longer independently produce the fertilizer and seeds they needed. Informed readers can see how the later Monsanto GMO Roundup-Ready seed model followed this playbook established by the Rockefellers.

In 2006, the Rockefeller Foundation, Bill Gates, and others pushed the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, or AGRA, and they again followed this proven playbook. Since AGRA’s launch, African biodiversity has been lost, and the number of severely undernourished people in sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 50 percent, even by the UN’s own reports. Just as in India, farmers are being tricked into abandoning nutrient-dense, drought-resistant crops like heirloom millet in exchange for the empty calories of GMO corn. Hundreds of African organizations have demanded that this neocolonial project end, leaving the future of African agriculture in the hands of the native farmers who know the land best.

Now the Rockefeller Foundation has set its sights on the US food system with its Reset the Table agenda, handily launched in 2020 just weeks after the Great Reset was announced. Under rosy language calling for inclusivity and equity, the report states that “success will require numerous changes to policies, practices, and norms.” This includes a major focus on data collection and objectives that align closely with the One Health Agenda—more on that in a future article.

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Bill Gates has followed the Rockefeller playbook for fumigating his fortune and transforming his image—while building more wealth—through the cynical ploy of philanthrocapitalism.

His fingers are deep in every public health pie, and his influence is nearly equal in the food wars. Besides financing the development of fake meats, he is behind the aforementioned AGRA program, is investing in geoengineering programs to dim the sun, and as of January 2021, owned 242,000 acres of prime US farmland, making him the largest private owner of farmland in the US. It is disconcerting to think that a man who believes we should phase out real meat controls so much of the method of production.

USAID and BIFAD

Another organization pushing you to eat bugs is USAID. This may surprise some of you who think of USAID as an organization dedicated to helping third-world countries, rather than as a longtime Trojan horse for CIA operations. (Skeptical of that claim? Go down the rabbit hole here and here and here and here.) Their Board for International Food and Agricultural Development, known as BIFAD, released a report titled “Systemic Solutions for Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.” This report calls for a complete transformation of the food supply and global agriculture. They propose to do this through ESG scores, carbon tracking, and eating insects.

So how do these organizations manage to push their agenda on the global population? We will cover that in a future article.

Author

Tracy Thurman is an advocate for regenerative farming, food sovereignty, decentralized food systems, and medical freedom. She works with the Barnes Law Firm’s public interest division to safeguard the right to purchase food directly from farmers without government interference.

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