Corona pandemic, Ukraine war, energy crisis, climate catastrophe: this apocalyptic four-part confuses people more and more. Old world views begin to falter and are replaced by new ones. But it’s not that easy. A brief overview of the four biggest misconceptions.

We live in the age of a new confusion, one reads every day. The world is in disorder and no longer predictable.

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Yet amidst the apocalyptic chants, we are realizing—more clearly than before the Ukraine war and the energy crisis—that many of our previous beliefs have lost their validity. A world in motion that sends its shock waves through all economies acts like a large X-ray machine. At least four supporting parts of our previous worldview have become porous under the pressure of events.

Misconception 1: We are experiencing the end of the oil age, the Greens kept saying. Here the wish was the father of the thought. In the minds of countless politicians, authors and scientists, the ecological necessity of a global CO2 reduction became a false economic statement.

The oil age will presumably only end on the day when the last drop leaves the earth. The traditional oil powers – corporations like Saudi Aramco, states like Russia and confederations of states like OPEC – are showing their true potential in these fateful times.

Russia is sending the whole world into a recession with its gimmicks at the gas tap. Very purposefully, Putin triggered a supply shock. The oil cartel OPEC, already declared dead by many in the West, also shows what it’s made of. Despite all the threatening gestures of the Americans, this production community, in which 13 states, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, are assembled, will withdraw the increase in their production volume by 100,000 barrels per day that was decided at the beginning of August from October.

The oil sheikhs are self-confident, they want to use the crisis to raise their excessive prices even further. You know: It is not wind energy that circulates in the bloodstream of the world economy, but oil.

Misconception 2: The fight against the climate catastrophe is the top priority of the world community. Here, too, what is desirable must not be confused with reality. The former coal superpower Federal Republic, whose fossil wealth has been exhausted after decades of exploitation, sees itself today as a political pioneer for the decarbonization of all economic cycles.

Other powers of this world – first and foremost the oil and gas states themselves, but also large consumers of fossil raw materials such as India and China – are not thinking of subordinating their priority to ours. Their priority is the fight against poverty and underdevelopment. They are not climate deniers, but they have a different agenda. They see themselves in a global catching-up process, they are pursuing the goal of catching up industrialization. They don’t want to build an ecological model housing estate but want to free people from the slums .

As a reminder: According to SOS Children’s Villages, two thirds of the people in India live in poverty and have to get by on less than two US dollars a day – that is more than 930 million people. In China, far away from the glittering metropolises, a large part of the population is still trapped in poverty. The net average salary in the rural regions is 7.50 euros per day.

Misconception 3: The future belongs to the service society. Countless congresses have been contested with this headline. In truth, however, the agricultural and industrial society do not dissolve in the service society, but all three exist side by side at the same time. A world population growing towards ten billion people needs a global agribusiness that has nothing to do with our romantic notions of the family farm.

At the same time, there cannot be a prosperous world if industrial production does not continue. The rescue from the cruelest effects of the corona pandemic was not organized by the disciplines of marketing, software development and sales, but by the pharmaceutical industry. It was the manufacturing plants of CureVac, Moderna and Biontech that made the vaccine; and it was planes, cargo ships, and trucks that distributed it around the world.

Misconception 4: The USA is the last remaining great power, the American political scientist Michael Beckley claimed – and everyone nodded. But Russia and China refute this tenet of American think tanks every day.

China is attacking on the economic front. Russia proves that it only takes three things to establish great power status: possession of nuclear weapons, an impressive deposit of raw materials, and the will to use both with great ruthlessness.

Conclusion: The new normal is very reminiscent of the old one. Perhaps we should adapt our view of the world to reality, even if that is difficult. Leo Tolstoy suspected it: “Everyone wants to change the world, but nobody wants to change themselves.”