“Unequal Equals, Helots Egalités”

John Martin, Pandemonium

“Unequal Equals, …Helots Egalités”

A. R. Kneen on the ‘great reset’

On 29th September 2020, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated:

Building back better means getting support to the most vulnerable while maintaining our momentum on reaching the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and the SDGs. Canada is here to listen and to help.[…] This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset. This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality[1], and climate change[2].[3]

Other public figures, including Boris Johnson[4], Joe Biden[5] and Prince Charles[6], have linked the idea of achieving ‘equality’ through a ‘reset’ with the 2020 declaration of a pandemic. As with Trudeau, this is often called ‘building back better’.

A number of commentators consider the ‘great reset’ a form of communism – The Washington Times published an article titled ‘Great Reset is Corporate Communism, and It’s Coming to America’[7]:

It’s a takeover of free markets and an imposition of behavioral, political and economic standards on entire countries, by unelected, unaccountable, often even unseen and unknown billionaire elites. And it’s coming to America. It’s communism dressed as social justice capitalism. […] Build back better means something. The great reset is real. And Americans must fight the communism these soft-sounding phrases are actually selling.

Much of the marketing of ‘the great reset’ makes use of the term ‘equality’ – a term that holds great power over people and is held by many as a moral value and/or a goal and/or a policy. However, as will be demonstrated below, the term ‘equality’ is actually a nebulous-power-word and hence acts to obscure truth – and to manipulate and control people. Nebulous-power-words are terms that possess low referentiality but hold high emotional force and are (incorrectly) perceived by most people to be rational; their power is contingent upon their lack of referentiality – and if people were to realise that the terms possessed low referentiality their power and ability to control would diminish accordingly[8].

In terms of measurement, in either a quantitative or a qualitative sense, the term ‘equality’ is meaningful. For example, in a quantitative sense, one could state that two locations were both an equal distance from a third location. Also, in a qualitative sense, one could state that one enjoyed two specific restaurants equally. In both of these senses of the term ‘equality’, one is referring to the idea of the measurement being the same – and hence ‘equal’ in that sense. The definition of ‘equality’ as ‘the same’ is not problematic: if ‘equality’ is defined as ‘being the same’, then this is perfectly rational definition and holds high referentiality.

Referentiality is a concept that refers to the extent to which a term is rationally defined – the extent to which a word clearly denotes a phenomenon. If a concept does not clearly represent a phenomenon, then one cannot be certain what exactly is being referred to. This is a problem when nebulous-power-words are used in discourse (and/or thinking). Referentiality does not denote the quantity of members of the category of phenomena designated by a term, nor the variety of phenomena represented by a term. For example, the term ‘animal’ clearly distinguishes a phenomenon although this term refers to billions of exemplars. ‘Animal’ also refers to a wide variety of members of subgroups of this category (e.g., lions, sheep, dogs, etc.) and although these also can be labelled separately, these are all accurately and precisely referred to by the term ‘animal’.

Low referentiality can be caused by a number of factors. Ones such factor is when there is a variety of definitions available for a term; if so, then one cannot be sure which definition is being used in any particular discourse. In a social representations[9]study of the term ‘equality’, many different definitions were found to exist. These definitions can be divided into 2, not unrelated, categories, headed: ‘sameness’; and ‘fairness/morality’. These 2 types of definition are frequently conflated and often what is fair is determined by whether there is ‘sameness’.

Fairness is a moral and subjective judgement. Sameness does not necessarily result in fairness (definition-dependant). Also, attempts to achieve sameness can have detrimental consequences and in these instances, this would vitiate the idea of it being a moral and/or an aim, goal or policy[10]. Of course, whether such attempts are harmful or not would be dependent upon, inter alia, which definition of ‘equality’ was being used – and in some cases, the attempts to achieve one form of ‘equality’ preclude the achievement of other forms of ‘equality’, meaning that ‘equality’ is unachievable. In other senses of the term ‘equality’, such an end state is unachievable in itself. These are factors that render use of the term ‘equality’ problematic.

In the social and political sense, ‘equality’ is used in often over-lapping, ways, including: equality of treatment (equality of opportunity, equality before the law, etc.); equality of outcome (including equality of wealth, equality of income, equality of representation, etc.); the claim that ‘we are all the same’; ontological equality; equality of rights[11]; equality of recognition; and yet others. Turner identifies four commonly used types of ‘equality’: ontological equality; equality of opportunity; equality of condition; and equality of outcome/result (Turner, 1986[12]).

Some of these forms of ‘equality’ are incompatible with each other. For example, if equality of process exists, this can result in inequalities of result: equality of treatment can result in inequalities of outcome. If groups or individuals differ on a relevant criterion (or criteria), then the same (equal) process will result in unequal results. One form of ‘equality’ can hence only be achieved at the expense of another form of ‘equality’. Such inconsistencies[13] present a problem whether the term is used as a description, an aim/policy or a moral value; ‘equality’ cannot be attained without inequality. Hence one cannot, in these contexts, be ‘for equality’ or for ‘achieving equality’, etc. If some types of ‘equality’ preclude others, then how could ‘equality’ ever be achieved?

Other definitions of ‘equality’ are simply untrue: we are not ‘all the same’. Others might be true but if so, how could this be a moral or an aim or a policy if it is merely a true (or false) statement? For example, if we are all equal in the sight of God, then this cannot be a political policy nor an aim, etc. – this is merely a descriptive statement.

Some distinguished commentators have emphasised the harms caused by attempts to implement various forms of ‘equality’, most notably the attempts to equalise wealth[14]. Such harms have included: reductions in the quality of life; increases in poverty; increases in feelings of injustice; reductions in rights (especially freedoms and property rights). Removal of incentives for people to be more productive tends to reduce productivity and the quality of life for most people. Without the carrot, there is still the stick – and such equalisation attempts can result in tyranny. The amount of government-control over people that would be required to attempt to achieve such ‘equality’ is held by some analysts to entail totalitarianism[15]. Hence there is an inversionist[16] nature to the claims made by proponents of ‘equality’ in this context. Stove notes that attempts to equalise wealth can cause the opposite of the happiness that such attempts purport to achieve, (e.g., see Stove, 2011[17]). This renders the idea of such ‘equality’ being a goal, policy, moral, value, etc. problematic.

Inconsistency is also evidenced by the fact that such attempts to equalise wealth require immense government-power to be granted to a small group of people. Ironically, in some of these attempts, this same small minority gained an unequal amount of wealth[18]. Hence, such ‘equality’ measures are held by many to be unfair; harmful; and, inversionistly, ‘unequal’.

Apropos economic inequality, the declaration of a pandemic in March 2020 facilitated a massive increase of wealth and power for the few. The richest people in the world, including billionaires such as Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk[19] increased their already immense wealth. Pharmaceutical companies will profit by billions from vaccines. Already wealthy people, notably in pharmaceuticals, medicine and technology, have become billionaires due to pandemic policies[20]. Taxpayer-funded government contracts for track and trace technologies, testing procedures, Nightingale hospital contracts etc are worth millions. Those in the government-corporate-complex, including their friends and relatives, have figured amongst the beneficiaries.

Conversely, numerous small and medium-sized businesses have been inadvertently destroyed by pandemic policies, notably lockdowns. Unemployment has increased and wealth transferred from the middle classes to the very wealthy – and this will continue as businesses are sold at discount rates. Working people, likewise, have been burdened with a large tax liability that will require eventual repayment[21]. Extreme poverty has not been addressed, but has increased[22], albeit  the very poorest are now possibly slightly more equal to those who are merely poor.

On the 6th April 2020, universal credit was increased by £20 a week[23]. The number of people claiming this benefit increased during 2020 by several millions[24]. In contrast, those involved in the implementation and enforcement of government policies, namely the police, the media, academics, government bureaucrats and other public sector employees have maintained their incomes. Indeed, during 2020, some public sector workers have benefitted financially from lockdowns[25], which may explain their support for lockdown policies.

Since lockdown, universal basic income (UBI) has been touted as a means of achieving ‘equality’. Those promoting the great reset generally support UBI. Yet although this is sold as promoting ‘equality’ and ‘addressing poverty’, UBI is a means of control – and also, ironically, a means of increasing both poverty and inequality[26]. Initially at least, UBI would only apply to those on benefits and the very low paid, but would then be extended. If introduced and extended, this will result in a reduction in income for most of the implementation/enforcement class (and for many others too), causing them to be more equal to those already thrown into poverty. The amount of UBI paid would probably decrease over time[27] – and will also be contingent upon compliance with the government-corporate-complex. These factors would doubtless act synergistically to increase the power of the ruling elite. Dependency confers power and control to those on whom the people depend.

In his 2020 book Covid 19: The Great Reset[28], Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, predicted that ‘the pandemic’ would cause an increase in government control, in particular a permanent increase in technological surveillance of people. With various forms of modern technology, control and surveillance can be conducted in ways that previous authoritarian governments could only dream of. Schwab observes that even people’s bodies can incorporate technology to facilitate such surveillance (a ‘fusion of our physical, digital and biological identity’). He notes how important it is that the control exists at a global level,

If no one power can enforce order, our world will suffer from a ‘’global order deficit’[29]. […] There cannot be a recovery without a global strategic framework of governance[30].

The WEF duly released their ‘Predictions for 2030’. It stated that by 2030, ‘You will own nothing. And you will be happy’[31]. Of course, part of the communist agenda, if not its main definitional tenet, is the abolition of private property – although the very wealthy retain theirs. The idea of the masses owning nothing and living under totalitarian control was also discussed in a 2016 article by Ida Auken of the WEF, entitled, indicatively, ‘Welcome To 2030, I Own Nothing, Have No Privacy and Life Has Never Been Better’[32].

In his Discourse sur l’origine, et les fondements de l’inégalité, Rousseau distinguishes between two distinct forms of inequality. On one hand, we have the differences in strength, ability, morality etc established by nature. But on the other, there are differences in power and wealth established by society. The rich and powerful perenially conflate the two. But so does the use of the nebulous power-word ‘equality’.  Use of this term in discourse can facilitate support of policies to which, were the language clearer, people would probably not consent.

[Editorial note; Samuel Taylor Coleridge spoke scathingly about “unequal equals, …Helots Egalités”. And W A Speck, in Robert Southey, Entire Man of Letters, refers likewise to these servants in utopia”, ch 3, ‘Pantisocrat (1794-1795)’, p 51]

Dr A R Kneen is the author of  ‘Multiculturalism’: What Does it Mean?


[1] In some ways, the idea of addressing actual poverty per se (as opposed to relative poverty) is incompatible with the idea of achieving ‘equality’ qv and this renders some statements (such as those of Trudeau) inconsistent; this is similar to the inconsistency between ‘equality’ and liberty, (e.g. as in the French Revolution). The use of nebulous-power-words is one reason for these inconsistencies going largely unnoticed. Addressing ‘climate’ change can also be viewed as incompatible with addressing poverty – it is likely that if the policies proposed to ‘address climate change’ are implemented, poverty will increase (as well as many other detrimental consequences occurring).
[2] The whole issue of climate change deserves close and honest examination.
[3] E.g., view online at:
[4] E.g., see: Guardian 2nd October 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/oct/02/build-back-better-boris-johnson-public-service  
[5] E.g., see: CNBC 10th November 2020: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/10/president-elect-joe-bidens-plan-for-the-economy-jobs-and-covid-19-.html
[6] https://www.princeofwales.gov.uk/thegreatreset
[7] The Washington Times 9th January 2021: https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/jan/9/great-reset-corporate-communism-and-its-coming-ame/
[8] And they would no longer qualify as nebulous-power-words.
[9] For social representation theory reading see, e.g.:
Moscovici, S. (2000) Social Representations: Explorations in Social Psychology. Translated by G. Duveen. Polity Press, Cambridge University
Marková, I. (2003) Dialogicality and Social Representations. The Dynamics of Mind. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
[10] For most people – although not for everyone. There are those who would benefit from many people suffering detrimental consequences qv.
[11] The concept of rights is worthy of much discussion, but space does not permit here. However, it is fully acknowledged that this term/idea is problematic.
[12] Turner, B. S. (1986) Equality. Tavistock Publications Limited: London, UK.
[13] Even within the categories such inconsistencies can be identified. For example, within ‘equality of outcome’ one could view equality of income as being inconsistent with equality of wealth, (e.g. since all people if earning the same amount of money will not end up with the same amount of wealth at the end of a set time period).
[14] Also see:
Hayek, F. A. (2001) The Road to Serfdom. Routledge: London (first published in 1944)
Mises, L. (1981) Socialism. An Economic and Sociological Analysis. Liberty Fund: Indianapolis, USA
[15] Relatedly, see Turner ibid.
[16] ‘Inversionism’ is term referring to the phenomenon whereby the truth is the opposite of what is portrayed.
[17] David Stove (2011), What’s Wrong with Benevolence. Happiness, Private Property and the Limits of Enlightenment. Encounter Books: New York
[18] Usually, another minority are found to be kept slightly above extreme poverty levels suffered by the majority by acting as the enforcers and implementors of these polices for those controlling it, (e.g. police, armed forces, government bureaucrats, state health workers, etc.).
[19] RT 22nd May 2020:
[20] E.g., see: Forbes 23rd December 2020: https://www.forbes.com/sites/giacomotognini/2020/12/23/meet-the-50-doctors-scientists-and-healthcare-entrepreneurs-who-became-pandemic-billionaires-in-2020/?sh=13122c825cd9
[21] Government borrowing will require tax payers to pay into the future. Not only do all the government schemes cost the tax payer (e.g. the dining out scheme, etc.), but the costs of testing procedures, vaccines, unused Nightingale hospitals, etc. create a liability for tax payers. Some of these matters are causing a massive debt on tax payers, e.g. the proposed Operation Moonshot testing programme is estimated to cost 100 billion pounds – a cost to the British taxpayer but to the benefit of various others, e.g. see https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8887035/Operation-Moonshot-result-tens-thousands-self-isolating-needlessly-experts-warn.html
[22] On many sensible measures poverty has increased world-wide as result of the policies in 2020.
[23] Hence, after the increase, the amounts payable to claimants are:
£342.72 per month for single claimants under 25
£409.89 per month for single claimants aged 25 or over
£488.59 per month for joint claimants both under 25
£594.04 per month for joint claimants with either aged 25 or over
[24] E.g. see:
[25] This financial gain is a result of various factors. For example, NHS employees have been granted free goods and services by many companies, and discounts by many others – all of which represents a financial gain by these government employees.
[26] More inequality when those on UBI are compared to those in the government-corporate-complex. UBI would also tend to decrease the wages of the enforcers/implementors qv and so there will be a greater gap between them and the government-corporate-complex too.
[27] With no small or medium private businesses left, and the only work available being for the government-corporate-complex, then why would they not reduce the UBI?
[28] Covid-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab and Thieryy Malleret. World Economic Forum 2020
This book and Schwab’s other speeches and book, including his Fourth Industrial Revolution (2017), will be discussed in more detail in a forthcoming article.
[29] Schwab 2020 ibid Page 105.
[30] Schwab 2020 ibid Page 113.
[31] E.g., see video online at:
[32] E.g., see: Forbes 10th November 2016: https://www.forbes.com/sites/worldeconomicforum/2016/11/10/shopping-i-cant-really-remember-what-that-is-or-how-differently-well-live-in-2030/

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1 Response to “Unequal Equals, Helots Egalités”

  1. David Ashton says:

    “Joe Biden won the US presidency as a ‘woke guy’ who proudly defended trans rights and Black Lives matter…the shadow foreign secretary, Lisa Nandy, has said as Labour seeks to build new alliances with the US Democrats”- The Guardian, 20 January 2021, p.19. The full article is worth studying re “culture war in northern towns” &c.

    Biden has chosen e.g. “openly transgender” Rachel Levine as assistant Secretary of Health to get people through the pandemic “no matter their zip code, race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability” &c, and Kamala Harris will be “sworn in by Justice Sonia Sotomayor, meaning that the first woman [not Lady] of colour to become vice president will take her oath from the first woman of colour to sit on the supreme court” (op.cit. p.8).

    Biden, though only vocally inconvenienced by structural oralism, may yet ensure that the US JCS are sufficiently diverse and “equally” representative of the differently abled community (except when brains, brawn, good sight and hearing are required internally to eliminate any “right-wing” residual resistance). After all, “disability” looks like transitioning from a disadvantage to be treated or assisted to a socio-economic entitlement today, and a genetic aspiration for tomorrow.

    Reminiscent of Nietzsche looking into the abyss.

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