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Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy– An new report from the World Economic Forum and Georgetown University

The World Economic Forum has just released its report, Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the
Post-Crisis Economy
This report was produced in collaboration with Georgetown University, especially President John J. DeGioia and Professor Thomas Banchoff, Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs. Andy Pino in the Georgetown Office of Communication explains:

Only one-quarter of people in a worldwide survey believe large, multinational businesses apply a values-driven approach to their sectors, according to a new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) produced in collaboration with Georgetown.

The report, Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy, includes a Facebook survey of more than 130,000 people in 10 countries.

“More than two-thirds of respondents see the current economic and financial crisis as a crisis of ethics and values as well,” says Thomas Banchoff, director of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.  “The results point to a global values gap.”

Almost 40 percent of those polled chose honesty, integrity and transparency as the value most important for the global political and economic system; 24 percent chose others’ rights, dignity and views; 17 percent chose preserving the environment; and 20 percent chose the impact of actions on the well-being of others.

Published in the run up to the Forum’s Jan. 27-31 annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the report includes a preface by Georgetown President John J. DeGioia and Forum executive chair Klaus Schwab, as well as essays from leading religious figures including the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

“The economic and financial crisis is an opportunity to rearticulate the values that should underpin our global institutions going forward,” says DeGioia. “The world’s religious communities are critical repositories of those values.”

DeGioia will be in Davos later this month to participate in WEF’s Global Redesign Initiative, an effort to promote new systems of global cooperation.

“Our present system fails to meet its obligations to as many as 3 billion people in the world,” says Schwab, who is also founder of WEF. “Our civic, business and political cultures must be transformed if we are to close this gap.”

The report also features a year-in-review essay that analyzes the main trends in religion and world affairs over the course of 2009, including violence directed against religious minorities and President Barack Obama’s opening to the Muslim world.

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  • Alcibiades_Today says:

    The only shock here is that as many as 25% of respondents feel that MNCs apply a value driven approach to their sectors. Nestle and Bhopal? How about moving jobs to places where wages are lower, working conditions are squalid, and there are no environmental standards to meet? Or perhaps paying executives large bonuses while cutting jobs.

    The fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation do impressive philanthropy work does not erase the anti-competitive stance of Microsoft toward the world at large and its obsession with making sure no one can use its code for 99 years (really helps consumers, that).

    While I agree that the world’s religions are repositories of the values whose absence has helped drive the economic crisis — but have they not largely been coopted by the myth of the benign corporation. It’s been a long time since the Conference of Bishops declared “A just and sustainable society and world are not an optional ideal, but a moral and practical necessity.” And it’s been pretty much crickets since.

    For all that people have been attacking Iran as a locus of Bad Things, it has been better insulated from a lot of the shananigans that were the proximate cause of the crisis precisely because the regime refuses to allow them or participation on those of others. Then again, the post-’79 commitment to level economic inequality has provided a more robust middle class than most seem to realize. Except Mr. Ahmadinejad, of course, because that middle class is the backbone of the opposition seeking to end his rule.

  • William "Chris" Yount says:


    I agree with you that the world’s religions have largely abandoned the playing field when it comes to MNCs (science, too, in my opinion), and it’s had a significantly negative impact.

    I can’t go with you down the road that celebrates Iran’s separation from the world at large as a model for international stability. True, there might be some select economic benefits in regards to being cushioned from international financial swings, but they’ve also missed out on the type of development that is only possible when accessing international-level financing possibilities.

    I also can’t support the idea that Ahmadinejad opted out of international dialogue and interaction because he had some economical foresight about what was going to happen. I believe the isolation was more a product of paranoia and xenophobia.

    Love the handle, by the way. Alcibiades is one of my favorite tragic historical figures.

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Welcome! Who am I?

Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.