The events of the last few years have resurrected a recurring worry among people mindful of their liberty, property, and personal dignity. This worry centers around the prospects of the emergence of the notorious “new world order,” a worldwide totalitarian plot hatched by globalist “elites” intent on destroying the surviving remains of free speech, free enterprise, and free thought.
Before asking how justified such worries are, let us note that the “new world order” narrative typically contains a “negative” and a “positive” element. The “negative” element describes how the global conspirators intend to bring about a worldwide socioeconomic collapse—i.e., eliminate the “old world order”—whereas the “positive” counterpart focuses on the nature of the global totalitarianism will be built on the ashes of destruction. In this connection, it is essential to note that new world order theorists almost always depict the totalitarianism under consideration as some form of technocratic feudalism with communist undertones, most closely reminiscent of present-day China coupled with Western-style “political correctness” and Malthusian eugenics.
When it comes to the “negative” part of the narrative in question, one can plausibly argue that far from consisting of conspiratorial speculation, it is blatantly unfolding before our eyes. Long-term coordinated global inflationism, persistent “stimulus spending,” the energy sector’s “environmentalist” strangulation, the destructive madness of lockdowns, and the relentless promotion of “woke” insanity clearly seem to be forming a perfect storm of worldwide planned chaos.
Obviously, none of these phenomena are spontaneous, and it does not take a genius to grasp the utterly ruinous consequences of their implementation. Thus, the ongoing devastation of the “old world order”—today most often referred to as the “Great Reset” or “building back better”—smacks of coordinated malevolence, giving rise to well-justified concerns.
The “positive” part of the new world order project, on the other hand, appears to be more of a bogeyman. This is because the kind of global totalitarianism that theorists typically envision is a praxeological impossibility.
First, comprehensive depopulation, far from centralizing nearly all productive resources in the hands of the parasitic “elite,” would vastly undercut its power by eliminating the bulk of the global economy’s productive potential. After all, as noted by Julian Simon, it is human beings, with their inventiveness and entrepreneurialism, that constitute the paramount driving force of economic development. Hence, by carrying out their Malthusian plans, elite globalists would saw off the branch on which they are sitting and eliminate themselves together with their victims.
Second, if the subjugated global population were to be literally enslaved rather than culled in a vast eugenic scheme, then the new world order would collapse in no time as well. This is because a stable, well-functioning international totalitarianism would have to rely on exceedingly complex technological solutions and massive amounts of high-quality capital goods.
However, armies of literal slaves cannot create or maintain such goods, nor devise and implement such solutions. After all, slaves are notoriously unproductive individuals, since they have no means and no incentive to invest in their talents, skills, contacts, and complementary resources. Furthermore, it is inconceivable that the masters would perform these tasks, since they would constitute a very small upper crust.
Third, if one were to suggest that the new world order could successfully operate based on highly advanced artificial intelligence solutions, then, once again, the natural question is who would devise and oversee the relevant infrastructure. The elite puppet masters, regardless of their cunning, would be too few to accomplish this task. Masses of slaves, as pointed out earlier, would be singularly ill-equipped to manage this feat.
Finally, a potential group of “semielite” middle management would also be of no use in this context. If today we are seeing how a full-blooded totalitarianism of this sort could look, members of this caste would have to be even more thoroughly indoctrinated in the “woke” ideology under such a system. And since this ideology can be summed up as a particularly deranged revolt against the nature of reality, it is a uniquely bad fit for technologically demanding environments.
Lastly, it must be pointed out that the new world order would be even more vulnerable to the Misesian calculation problem than its “classical” totalitarian predecessors. After all, political power and economic decision-making capacity would have to be much more heavily concentrated in the hands of a minuscule oligarchy than it was in the former Soviet bloc.
And while for a time, these countries’ rulers were able to maintain a semblance of economic rationality by calculating in terms of external prices and by tolerating the existence of internal black markets, no such solutions would be available in a global dictatorship of technocratic omnisurveillance. Thus, it turns out that such a dictatorship is a praxeological absurdity—a system that might look very menacing on paper but that is nothing more than a psychopathic pipe dream.
Thus, one has to wonder about the motives behind the globalist clique’s frenzied destruction of the present socioeconomic order. Surely, its members are cunning enough to realize the insurmountable nature of the challenges mentioned above. What, then, inspires their ruinous mania, if there is no additional money and power to be gained?
The only satisfactory answer is thoroughly chilling: it appears that having acquired all the money one can spend and all the power one can wield, the global elite remains capable of deriving perverse psychological satisfaction from engaging in large-scale acts of wanton destruction. In other words, its representatives do not seem to mind committing a spectacular suicide so long as it is a side effect of a vastly more spectacular democide.
While the realization that the new world order is a logically incoherent phantasmagoria might be soothing, the corollary awareness that the true goal of the ongoing worldwide ruination is no less insane should keep all right-minded people sober and watchful. Hence, even if one is not an enthusiast of the rapidly disintegrating “old world order,” one can steadfastly oppose the evil machinations of those responsible for that order’s dissolution.
Ludwig von Mises’s personal motto (also adopted by the Mises Institute) is instructive: “Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.”
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About the Author
Jakub Bożydar Wiśniewski is a Fellow of the Mises Institute, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Law, Administration, and Economics at the University of Wroclaw and an affiliated scholar and a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ludwig von Mises Institute Poland. He holds an MA in philosophy from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in political economy from King’s College London. He is the author of The Economics of Law, Order, and Action: The Logic of Public Goods, Libertarian Quandaries, and The Pith of Life: Aphorisms in Honor of Liberty.
He is a recipient of the Mises Institute’s Douglas E. French Prize and George and Joele Eddy Prize. His main research interests include the theory of entrepreneurship, the theory of public goods, the methodology of economics, and business ethics.
Article cross-posted from Mises.