People across the globe harbor distrust for multinational corporations and their motivations, according to a new report titled “Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy,” co-researched by the Georgetown University Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs and the World Economic Forum.
A portion of the report was a Facebook survey conducted by the Berkley Center that reached more than 130,000 people in 10 countries, ranging from the United States to Indonesia.
“We wanted to test our intuition that the current crisis is not just economic but also a crisis of ethics and values. The Facebook survey, while not scientific, points to the existence of a global values gap,” said Thomas Banchoff, director of the Berkley Center.
The survey revealed that two-thirds of the participants agreed with the assertion that the current global economic crisis is directly related to a shift in ethics and values. Similarly, 75 percent of participants disagreed with the assertion that values are emphasized in business approaches applied by large, multinational corporations.
“People do not see economics and ethics as distinctive realms. If the emerging global economy is to enjoy political legitimacy, it must be based more firmly on value including transparency, integrity, solidarity and corporate social responsibility,” Banchoff said in an e-mail.
According to University President John J. DeGioia, faith and religion also play a distinct role in re-assessing the values that should drive our global economies.
“The world’s religious communities are critical repositories of those values,” DeGioia said in a university press release.
The report addresses questions of faith and economics, and includes essays written by notable religious and political figures such as His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of the Orthodox Church, who visited campus last semester, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami and Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury. According to a university press release, other topics include violence against religious minorities and President Obama’s impact on opening up the Muslim world.
According to Banchoff, the Berkley Center decided to expand to a broader coverage of religion and world affairs in 2008. The two groups agreed to collaborate, investigating issues that affected both faith and the global agenda.
“The collaboration [between Georgetown University and the World Economic Forum] goes back to 2008. That year we produced a report that focused on West and Islam Relations,” Banchoff said in an e-mail.
A distinct turning point for the Berkley Center’s agenda was the global economic recession.
“We decided that our focus should be the links between faith, values and economic life,” Banchoff said.”