This Week in the New Normal #49

Our successor to This Week in the Guardian, This Week in the New Normal is our weekly chart of the progress of autocracy, authoritarianism and economic restructuring around the world.

1. Swift outlines potential CBDC network

The international payment network SWIFT announced this week they have plans in place to creat a global network of central bank digital currencies, according to a report from Reuters.

Financial messaging system SWIFT has laid out its blueprint for a global central bank digital currency (CBDC) network following an 8-month experiment on different technologies and currencies. The trial, which for the last month has involved both France and Germany’s national central banks as well as global lenders like HSBC, Standard Chartered and UBS, looked at how CBDCs could be used internationally and even converted into fiat money if needed.

The report goes on to say:

Around 90% of the world’s central banks are now using, trialling or looking into CBDCs. Most don’t want to be left behind by bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but are grappling with technological complexities.

Somewhat unusually for a mainstream article, Reuters actually mentions “programmability”, although they do somewhat downplay its significance:

CBDCs are being seen as a step forward as they could effectively be programmed to meet both governments’ and individuals’ specific needs, although they have also raised concerns about privacy and surveillance.

For those who don’t know, “programmability” means banks issuing currency, or companies paying it as wages, could effectively put limits and controls over how and where it is spent, as well as what it is spent on.

So yes, many of us are indeed “concerned” by that idea.

You can read our past work detailing potential abuses and dangers of CBDCs here, here and here.

2. Guardian Double-Dips on Climate

Yesterday, the Guardian published a  long opinion piece supposedly written by Greta Thunberg, apparently it’s an extract from The Climate Book, which was “created” by Greta Thunberg.

We’re well past the point of knowing one way or the other who actually wrote it, but it doesn’t really matter. Her picture is there above her name. It’s branded, that’s the point.

Whoever wrote it, the content is predictable…but interesting. For one thing, she’s honest (and right) about this:

Maybe it is the name that is the problem. Climate change. It doesn’t sound that bad.

The name climate change doesn’t scare people, which is why they keep trying to change it. “Global heating”, “climate crisis”, “climate emergency”…they’re desperately trying to rebrand as something alarming. It just hasn’t taken hold, yet.

Then there’s this…

Until now, Earth’s natural systems have been acting as a shock absorber, smoothing out the dramatic transformations that are taking place. But the planetary resilience that has been so vital to us will not last for ever, and the evidence seems to suggest more and more clearly that we are entering a new era of more dramatic change.

Which is a neat way of simply waving aside the fact that pretty much every major prediction of “a new ice age” or “new york will be underwater by 2015” or “our children won’t know what snow is” has been proven completely wrong.

Perhaps the most troubling little quote comes about halfway through:

there are no laws or restrictions in place that will force anyone to take the necessary steps towards safeguarding our future living conditions on planet Earth. This is troublesome from many perspectives

…she doesn’t use the words “for now”, but you can definitely feel them floating unsaid in the atmosphere.

The Guardian’s other climate change article this weekend is from Green Party UK MP Carolina Lucas, who says everything you expect Caroline Lucas to say.

She maintains that renewables are clean and safe and effective – they aren’t. And claims that we could stop using fossil fuels tomorrow – we couldn’t, at least not without completely breaking down our society and drastically reducing our standard of living.

Which, of course, is the whole point. The deeper message here is all about prepping the ground for more of the great reset, to go back to the article “created” by Greta Thunberg:

“We cannot live sustainably within today’s economic system.”

She doesn’t say precisely how the economic system needs to change, but we know, don’t we? We will own nothing and he happy*.

(*happiness optional.)

BONUS: Reminder they’re all in it together of the week

The United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) this week refused to hear an appeal from 9 states, challenging the Biden administration’s authority to impose a federal vaccine mandate for all healthcare workers. The states argued that the mandate both exceeded executive authority as detailed in the constitution, and had led to a shortage of healthcare workers.

The SCOTUS is stacked 6-3 Republican appointees vs Democrats, so notionally should be a barrier to Biden’s “liberal” policies, and yet they refused to uphold states’ rights or to even hear the case at all.

Fake binaries, “It’s a great big club” etc. etc.

BONUS II: Climate change and identity politics

Back to the global warming well for a second deep drink, this time pointing out a concerted effort to try and fuse identity politics with the climate change narrative.

Firstly, in the Guardian yet again, we have this article:

People of colour have been shut out of the climate debate. Social justice is the key to a greener world

Then we have the Secretary General of the United Nations tweeting this…

It’s not all bad…

In good news this week, PayPal has walked back their plan to fine users who share “misinformation” after massive backlash.

The Florida Surgeon General has issued revised guidance on mRNA vaccines – they are no longer recommended for males under the age of 40, after studies suggested a massive increase in cardiac events. Not exactly great news, but a potential first domino falling. Oh, and Twitter censored the official tweet announcing this.

In France, huge anti-government protests swept the country this weekend:

And Joe Biden continues to be hilarious.


All told a pretty hectic week for the new normal crowd, and we didn’t even mention VOX panicking about “anti-vaccine sentiment” or the Belgian woman euthanised due to PTSD.

There’s a lot of change in the air, a lot of agendas in the works, if you see a headline, article, post or interview you think is a sign of the times, post it in the comments, email us or share it on social media and we will add it to the next edition.


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