Why “The Great Reset”…Will Fail

Systemic Frog
8 min readOct 6, 2020


Why The Great Reset Will Fail

As a grounding premise from which to start…it is believed, that more than any other factor, timely access, to quality, reliable information, is a sine qua non of democracy. That means open and transparent access to any information, for all concerned.

In order, for citizens to make virtuous judgements about their brands, favoured organisations, healthcare provider, elected officials et al, they must be able to form an informed opinion on matters of importance, in the context of the capabilities of their Government.

Corrupt countries never have incorruptible processes. Therefore, sound democracies have always gone hand in hand, with reputable journalists, newspapers, television media and those able to carry the narrative as representatives of the people, with integrity. It is also increasingly true (demonstrably so) that the democratic majority rarely engage with these sources, but have chosen to rely on the automation of social media platforms and topical communities, suffering under a political system which acts as middle management between corporate interests and access to resources.

In the vast majority of “developed Nations”, a trend can be seen to flow back as far as the 1980s, originating in the U.S. under the Reagan presidency. A rule was created, forbidding one corporation from owning newspapers, radio, and television all in one metropolitan area. Hence, no one had a monopoly on the news in any one geographic area. Following the Telecommunications Act of 1996, opportunistic corporations, began buying up all media outlets in major American cities.

This allowed them to preach the news, as they saw it, so that everyone in the area got only one view. Needless to say, this view supported large corporations, was phrased in highly emotional language, and anyone with a good education would immediately see that it was terribly biased in support of the owner of the local television, radio, and newspapers. However, for the majority this meant that politics and governance became an emotive and anti-intellectual pursuit.

The Internet has exacerbated this problem beyond belief. Google and other internet companies are now actively being accused, of infringing the copyrights of newspapers and other news producing agencies by clipping their journalist work, to create a news montages on their websites. For instance, the home pages of some internet providers seem to think that its subscribers are about 16 years old and only interested in what female rock star de jour has been arrested for public drunkenness, rather than reflecting the pivotal or even remotely influential events of any given day. As it pertains to “civilisation”. This, in turn has impinged upon the effectiveness of politicians in pandering to those interests, in lieu of “getting things done”.

When social media platforms arrived, activity quickly focused on the emotive, anti-intellectual pass-times now reflected across other emerging media channels. MySpace predominantly served as a casual chat, dating and music sharing site, eventually replaced by Facebook which deliberately designed processes and features of their platform, to create and leverage addiction of its users and become a place where they needed to be with increasing regularity. Mainstream media adapted to their new situation, struggling to gain the attention of the populace, through trying to be “first with the news” delivered in short form and geared toward inciting an emotive response, which became the norm in such environments.

Newspapers have never been widely profitable. They have always made their way in the world by mixing advertising revenue with the price of the paper itself. If there was no advertising the real cost of the paper would be too great for anyone to pay it. Google, Facebook et al…now providing newspapers’ news for free and taking advertising revenue from them as well, a business model that is highly encouraged by business schools and management consultancies. It distinguishes between those who make things and provide services and those who exchange these goods/services. Clearly, one can profit more by trading the output of others, than by producing the output itself.

This gives rise to a major issue, over the sustainability of such an approach. If those who exchange, appropriate more value than those who make, the makers will not survive. When this happens, then companies will no doubt create the content; effectively making up the news. This situation would already appear to exist, alongside the strange occurrence of self-proclaimed “fact-checking” entities now prevalent in content environments, which demonstrates that it is possible to make things up and also be officially accredited with a version of “the truth”. A demonstration as to why it is also important to realise, that the “goodwill” of those making up a democracy, is a finite resource. Those who consistently trade on the goodwill of others, soon face the issue of having none of their own, with which to trade.

This suggests that traditional “journalism” has been removed from public scrutiny, and in turn traditional “political accountability”. Moreover, detached from reality. This is dangerous, if not fatal for democracy and dangerous for any country that attempts, or even intends, to pursue democratic government. The connection between these points, has in fact, undermined the “democratisation of knowledge”.

Modern formal education is supposed to teach us, that free inquiry is the key to knowledge creation. If we are fortunate, or equally as driven, this type of activity may provide the smallest wisdom, leading to insight and thus innovation. A “meme” upon which progress depends (see Matt Freud’s Facebook Page). The development of knowledge arises from a free and open conversation where ideas are thrust upon the world and survive or die depending on whether they are useful. This is a romantic notion, which would be true if all disciplines were truly democratic. Of course, this increasingly is not the case and it is beginning to tell.

So, why are these actors, with high degrees of formal education and immense intellective skills, unable to operate an intellectual democracy better? The reason, of course, is that they benefit more from authoritarian intellectual communities, on the condition they hold the authority. Of course, just like misrepresented democracies, the rest of us do not benefit.

There are differing perceptions of Facebook, Twitter and You Tube et al, along with the perceptions of citizens, over their politicians around the globe. However useful or entertaining they might be…could they be categorised as driven by a purpose to serve the “end user” or “voter”? Or can they be relied upon to provide unbiased information? Maybe it is more relevant to offer the opinion, that existing techniques, aim to support and reinforce pre-existing bias, for ease of managing agendas?

In other words, while there should be no doubt that capitalistic values (and those of Aristotle), can and should go hand in hand, do current operations in such a context, strike the reader as useful to civilisation? This leads to the opportunity to ask many questions, including but not limited to:

• Are they capable of being transformed in a meaningful manner?

• Is it too much to expect them to deliver policy that people, may find challenging to their personal opinions, worldviews or beliefs?

• Can it be addressed through legislation or accountable governance?

If one returns to the foundations of democracy, one finds a clear agreement, on what are essential requirements. Aristotle, writing in the context of Athenian democracy, supposedly the first in history, wrote two significant books about the nature of democracy. One was his Rhetoric which aimed to instruct us how to make a persuasive argument to one’s peers. In this book he places as much emphasis on the beliefs of the audience and the reputation of the speaker as he does on the logical form of the argument.

This recognises the irrational elements of any argument are real and that they can be overcome only in a group of people who each are both rational and ethical. The other is his Ethics which argues that ethics are the foundation of a good life, one that is “well lived”. He regards ethics as habits of “thought” and of “conduct”. He refers to the former as “intellectual virtues” and the latter as “moral virtues”. The essential moral virtue is moderation and the essential intellectual virtue is prudence or intellectual moderation. Democracies arise from groups of individuals who have these virtues. Moreover, employ them as a matter of habit and practice.

Not from those who put them to one side, when it is convenient.

After Athens the rebirth of democratic government did not occur until the commercial rise of the Tuscan Renaissance cities, such as Florence and Sienna. The central political innovation during this period was the notion of civic virtues. That is to say, the virtues practised by the city, the polity, the governing body of the municipality. Instead of focusing on the virtues of individuals the notion was promoted that the prosperity and enlightenment of the city rested on the collective virtue of the city itself.

We could appropriate this notion within the current climate of “The Great Reset” (a term that fills me with existential dread), to that of the virtue of the “global virtual community” or by extension any community or group of communities, brought together through irresponsible use of technologies. Civic virtues are identified closely with the individual moral virtues identified by Aristotle. However, the focus should be to extend the notion of these virtues, to affect policy making on any given scale, be it local, national, or global. Not to define behaviours, or stifle creative thinking and innovation, not to impose a “Great Reset”, but to enable a “Great Redress”.

Such techniques should be dedicated to the creation and dissemination of knowledge, as opposed to unproductive speculation or agenda driven objectives. Safeguards should be in place to protect the community against poor quality journalism and bad decisions, not individual opinions, or the exchange of ideas.

Instead, agenda driven reporting is presented as fact-checking, a service that can only be described as presenting zero benefit to a virtuous community. Agenda driven politics presented as “necessary”, supported through the marketing of a terrible outcome, if non-compliant. This encourages and even supports behaviours, that are counter-productive to democracy. Behaviours that could be avoided, through the adoption of moral and intellectual virtues in a general sense and acted out in a crucible of governance, upheld through transparency and a focus on representing the greater good.

Evidently, intellectual virtues are required to operate in such an abstract space and moral virtues are required to ground the community in the human world. Even more so, a world subjected to a “New Normal”, with no clear meaning or purpose. Agenda driven social media platforms, dysfunctional media institutions and lobbyist ridden political environments; all of which suffer a similar disconnect from reality and would be prevalent under such a “New Normal”. All of which, present neither the required level of operation or grounding and therefore, can not be seen to be virtuous.

Long story short, a new iteration of cultural thinking is required, to bring value to a valueless system. Rather than enabling the current, ironically unsustainable approach, regardless of the marketing and branding that approach is given. An approach, which from the lessons of history tell us, also from professional experience, will not end well.

The prudent use of technology to amplify the process of knowledge creation and dissemination will be key, that much I agree with. However, I would rather explore cost-effective, people driven consensus forming through referenda, over simulated outcomes by artificial intelligence.

That said, this approach will be beneficial to communities, only in so far as they support virtuous intellectual and moral values.

A premise which is being undermined by too many bad actors.

A situation that is unacceptable and one which urgently needs to be “redressed” and certainly not “reset”, whilst making the very same mistakes, the activity claims to fix.

But…you know. One thing at a time.



Systemic Frog

Systemic Frog is a non-profit organisation, dedicated to the consideration of what comes next for the shared values and ethical practices of the world at large