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Some Thoughts About Global Economics

From a Christian Perspective

Compassionate LeadershipBy John Lackey

Recently World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was charged with conflict of interest involving his girlfriend’s generous pay deal.  The 24-member board had to decide whether Wolfowitz “will be able to provide the leadership” to ensure that the Bank achieves its mission of fighting poverty around the world through loans and grants.  The 185-nation World Bank provides more than $20 billion a year for projects that include building dams and roads, upgrading education, and fighting diseases. (Reported in the Knoxville News-Sentinel and Associated Press releases)

Obviously, organizations like the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are invaluable tools for eradicating world poverty.  But Wolfowitz illustrates what happens if those who head such organizations are not so compassionate for the world’s poor that they cannot rise above self-interests and greed.

We are reminded of Jesus’ saying, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom” (Matthew 19:23, 24).  This is so, says the Christian perspective, because we humans have a bent toward centering our lives in our selves.  We are so easily governed by our self-interests, which easily degenerate into greed.  That’s why Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2).  We humans need conversion or transformation if we are to become truly human.  We need changed persons to head institutions like the World Bank—men and women who have demonstrated genuine compassion for the poor that is greater than the temptation to act on self-interests.

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