Anne Marie Waters
Tuesday 26th January 2021
It will come as no surprise to you that I am about to give bad news about the UK economy; particularly unemployment. Reports today claim that 1.72 million are now jobless, with a growing redundancy rate among the 25 to 34 age group. This is 5% unemployment, and it’s before the end of furlough, which as we know will inevitably mean more people out of work.
But there is something interesting that has happened this week that demonstrates more of that striking change in our economy – the collapse of high street shopping in favour of the internet.
Online fashion company Boohoo has bought Debenhams (another victim of coronavirus) but there’s a difference, it hasn’t bought any of its actual stores, just its name and website. Now the high street has been left with empty buildings, but more importantly, the company’s staff remain out of work. There will be no jobs for them at Boohoo. This is not a first. Boohoo has already bought Oasis, Coast and Karen Millen, but not the associated high street stores, and not saving any jobs.
It’s been said by many that COVID-19 will lead to a “great reset” and not everyone is pleased about it. That great reset is named by others as ‘the fourth industrial revolution’ – the age of super-technology. This technology, many fear, will lead to growing joblessness and therefore a loss of human independence from the state. Some people worry about a future where cash has disappeared and our buying power (such as it will be) will be dependent upon our behaviour and our compliance with state diktats. A ‘social credit score’ would determine what we can or can’t do or buy, and this is already very real in China for example.
This dystopian future is often dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but just browsing through this morning’s news confirms that this is no conspiracy. It is on its way, and in many respects, is already here. The collapse of the high street is only one example.
According to the UN, we are in the midst of a global joblessness crisis. The BBC reports this morning that “Employment also dropped by 114 million compared to 2019, as about 33 million people lost jobs, while the rest became “inactive” – either giving up work or looking for a job.”
Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, face recognition payment has begun. This is exactly as it sounds. A person merely looks at a screen to make a payment (and gives a thumbs up to provide a tip). This is already a regular occurrence in China (of course) but has also been introduced in the US, Denmark and Nigeria.
The use of QR codes has also exploded thanks to COVID. This allows people to order and pay by pointing their mobile phones at a code. It was used also when the bars and restaurants briefly re-opened in the UK last year. I myself experienced this when I was asked to aim my phone at a code while entering a restaurant. This recorded by presence there, and at what time. This is no conspiracy theory, our every move, and our payments, are already tracked and recorded. That ‘social credit score’ may well be just around the corner.
Finally, I reported last week that China was the only major economy to grow in 2020, while Western economies were flat-lining. This week, the totalitarian state has overtaken the United States as the world’s number one investment hub:
“China has overtaken the US as the world’s top destination for new foreign direct investment, according to UN figures released on Sunday.
New investments into America from overseas companies fell by almost half last year, leading to the loss of its number one status.
In contrast, UN figures show direct investment into Chinese firms climbed 4%, putting it number one globally.”
The US economy itself is not in a healthy place, although some are projecting recovery, the likelihood is that the ‘great reset’ will include a significant shift in global power. China up, the USA down.
Mainstream media outlets like the BBC may not be perturbed by this, but for those who believe the ‘reset’ will mean a reduction of our freedoms and independence in favour of technology-based control, the fall of the democratic USA in favour of communist China is further evidence of the approaching dystopia so often dismissed as conspiracy.
Anne Marie Waters
Text ‘Join’ to 60777