Some Christians believe the World Economic Forum (WEF) is nudging events forward in a way which could fulfil end time prophecy. But is this mindless fake news, or are the concerns genuine? Heather Tomlinson investigates


Source:  IB Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Is there a sinister cabal in control of the world’s politicians and business leaders, its goal the domination and subjection of ordinary people to serve its own power and financial self-interests?

It sounds like the plot of a James Bond film. But many people are taking such claims seriously, and the culprit is named as the World Economic Forum.

International figures such as King Charles III, US President Joe Biden, our prime minister Rishi Sunak and Microsoft founder Bill Gates are claimed to be in its clutches, their loyalty allegedly towards global power and not the wellbeing of citizens.

Well, that’s the story being told. The WEF claims it is much more benevolent. It says it wants to reform capitalism so that large companies tackle ethical problems such as poverty and climate change, for the betterment of humankind. The Covid-19 crisis prompted it to suggest a program of recovery called the “Great Reset”. It says that it just explores the potential of technology to address the world’s problems. So why has it become the target of so much suspicion?

The WEF began as a forum for the world’s largest companies to discuss world problems, created by German businessman Klaus Schwab in 1973. It does not run any government or even an institution, other than itself. It has become powerful over the years, as its annual meeting has become an essential forum for the leaders of countries, large corporations, and all governmental and non-governmental bodies. The “talking shop” has taken place in Davos, Switzerland, each January: except for a hiatus during Covid.

It has always been controversial, and the target of numerous protests, especially against climate change, globalisation and corporate power. However in recent years the narrative about the WEF has changed. The internet is awash with conspiracy theories. There are some that have grains of truth, and others that seem outlandish. Some recent examples found on social media: the WEF deliberately caused mass storms and flooding in Italy because its leader is not pro-WEF; it is deliberately bankrupting Canada; it has a dastardly plan to take over all food production and property so that we will be forced to submit to it; it plans to make us all eat insects. It is also often seen as behind other conspiracies, especially related to Covid and vaccines.

Despite the bizarre nature of these ideas, they are no longer just a fringe belief for cranks and extremists. Some well-known people are cautious. Businessman Elon Musk tweeted: “WEF does kinda give me the willies though, but I’m sure everything is fine”. Influential psychologist and conservative campaigner Jordan Peterson said on Twitter: “Who is Klaus Schwab, anyway, and why are elected world “leaders” accepting and promoting his vision? Stakeholder capitalism sounds a lot like “socialist Utopianism” to me and to plenty of others.” He’s even helped create a rival organisation, The Alliance for Responsible Citizenship, which counts prominent Christians among its members including UK Parliamentarian Baroness Stroud.

It does appear that plenty of prominent Christians have issues with the WEF. Evangelical bellwether The Gospel Coalition says: “The World Economic Forum has some strange, naïve and alarming ideas.” Calvary Chapel wrote: “The implications of having our understanding of humanity shaped by the WEF technological revolution will almost certainly be a departure from the biblical truth of humanity as revealed in the Word of God.” The UK’s controversial conservative Christian pastor and GB News presenter Calvin Robinson has gone much further, calling it: “a shadowy cabal of the global elite.”

Being suspicious of the WEF may tie in with popular end time beliefs. Plenty of Christians believe the Bible teaches that a “one world government” will eventually rule the Earth, and be in opposition to people who believe in Christ. According to this view, the global government’s power will make it difficult to resist. The “Mark of the Beast” on the right hand or forehead prophesied in Revelation 13 is predicted by some to be an implanted microchip from this government, and anyone without it will not be able to buy or sell anything.

Speculation about this particular prophesy has accelerated since the advent of credit cards and moves toward a “cashless society”, where banks and governments now have the power to prevent someone from being part of the economy, if they wish to do so. The global nature of the WEF, its influence on the powerful, and the ideas it is advocating, have made it a potential candidate to be the forthcoming “one world government”. But is there any truth to the claims?

Does it want to rule the world?

It’s true that the WEF is openly advocating for large global corporations being more involved in how we are ruled and how we live. It positions this as being more ethical. In an article on the WEF website, founder Klaus Schwab describes it as “stakeholder capitalism,” which says that private companies should be “trustees of society” and are the “best response to today’s social and environmental challenges”. As an entity it is not necessarily the power enacting such ideas: but its influence over the world’s politicians and business leaders could give it such a role.

Is it planning to remove all property rights and take control of our land?

This idea is not a plan – it was a prediction made in 2016 by the WEF and used in its own promotional video. It declares that in 2030 “you’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy…whatever you want, you’ll rent.” While Reuters Fact Check argues that it isn’t a goal of the WEF, watching the video, it does give a positive sheen to this idea. Tempting perhaps, if you’re plagued by poor housing and unaffordable homes. But as with many good ideas, the danger of the required concentration of power causes legitimate concern (see below).

Is it planning to take over the global food supply?

There are big changes to farming proposed, though whether the WEF has influenced them is unclear. For example, in Holland, the government has planned to meet EU greenhouse emissions targets by radically reducing the amount of food, especially meat, that is farmed in the country. They are doing this by offering to buy farms in order to shut them down – and it’s feared they’ll do it by force if necessary. There have been widespread protests, and even a new political party against the proposal. Publicly, WEF advocates for sustainable agriculture that has reduced impact on climate change.

Do they really want us to eat insects?

Yes. But to be honest, this idea is gaining traction among environmentalists who believe we need to reduce the amount of meat we eat. Even the UN has advocated for bugs to become part of our diet. The WEF says on its website: “This is an important year for all of us to respond to the challenges of our time to preserve our planet while feeding an additional 2 billion individuals… Let’s not forget the power and role that these small critters can play in helping us achieve this big goal.” Like many of its ideas – the concern is, will this be a choice? If there is widespread shutdown of meat and dairy production, as described in the previous question, there might not be an alternative.

Surely the microchip conspiracy theory is a bit wild?

The WEF has published a number of positive articles about microchips: it described paying by cash via an implanted microchip a “tantalising prospect”. Given this is arguably what is prophesied in Revelation 13 and described as the “mark of the Beast”, it’s not surprised it’s raised eyebrows among Christians. The WEF has also said that people should have a “digital identity” which “if designed right…can provide countries with economic value equal to as much as 13 per cent of their GDP, save hundreds of billions of hours through streamlined e-government, and cut trillions of dollars in costs for businesses by 2030.”

Like other WEF ideas they are presented as more of a prediction than a plan. But they describe potential benefits, with little discussion of the dangers.

But don’t we need a global solution to serious problems such as climate change, poverty and the risk of further pandemics. Isn’t all this a good idea?

The intentions of the WEF sound well-meaning – and perhaps they are.

The major concern is that most of the proposed solutions to our world problems could start to consolidate power in the hands of a few powerful people or entities, so that ordinary people would find it very difficult to disagree with their governments in future. Even if the initial intentions are good (and we have no way of reading their minds), global power structures would then be very vulnerable to takeover by people with negative agendas.

Or, the plans could turn out to have unforeseen negative consequences, as has sadly been the case with many government-controlled “improvements” to society, such as those enacted by Soviet Russia and Communist China. Just because the WEF says it has noble goals now, does not mean that what it lobbies for will be good for humanity in the end.