The Common Good

Wallis Helps Lead World Economic Forum Participants to Address Ethics and Values

Source: Sojourners
Date: January 29, 2010


Friday, January 29, 2010

CONTACT: Sheldon Good at / 202.745.4625 or

Burns Strider at / 202.215.2490

World Business Leaders Say a Crisis in Values Must Be Addressed

Wallis Helps Lead World Economic Forum Participants to Address Ethics and Values

WASHINGTON, DC – Rev. Jim Wallis is in Davos, Switzerland this week providing leadership to the ethics and values pillar, one of six pillars, at the World Economic Forum.

According to recent survey findings released by the World Economic Forum and Georgetown University, two-thirds of the 130,000 respondents, from ten countries, including the United States, believe that the current economic crisis is also a crisis of ethics and values.  In response, the World Economic Forum has placed corporate ethics and personal values as one of the six core pillars of this week’s conference. 

Wallis helped begin this conversation about personal values and corporate ethics by telling the assembled leaders at last year’s Forum that they were asking the wrong question. Instead of asking, “When this crisis will be over,” the question should be, “How will this crisis change us?” At this year’s Forum, Rev. Wallis will once again help guide the conversation by participating in a number of key sessions, including a plenary session entitled “Rethinking Values in a Post Crisis World.”

From his experience last year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Jim Wallis expanded upon his thoughts in a new book, “Rediscovering Values: On Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street” launched only a few weeks before this year’s Forum.  Over the past few weeks, Wallis has embarked on a nationwide media and publicity tour, with stops on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and PBS’s The Tavis Smiley Show.


Going back to the way things were isn’t possible—we all must adapt to the new economy, say all the so-called experts. But New York Times bestselling author Jim Wallis believes this crisis has afforded us an incredible opportunity to shore up the very pillars of our society. Instead of asking when this crisis will be over, Wallis wants people to instead ask how this situation will have changed us for the better. Wallis presents this idea, and insights for the recovery, in his new book REDISCOVERING VALUES: On Wall Street, Main Street and Your Street, (Howard Books/Simon & Schuster; 1/5/2010; 978-1-4391-8312-0; Hardcover; 160 pp; $21.99). Wallis challenges the status quo of a society that rewards bailed-out bankers with huge bonuses and a nation that celebrates the Dow returning to 10,000, while the unemployment rate climbs to nearly 10 percent—and in some cases, such as Wallis’ hometown of Detroit, closer to 30 percent.  “To see that Wall Street is now having a party while the rest of the country continues to buckle down, sacrifice, and do what is necessary to make it through all this is just too much,” writes Wallis. “It is very clear that this is immoral, and now the country needs to ask should it also be illegal?”


Jim Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, speaker, preacher, and international commentator on religion, public life, faith, and politics. He is president and CEO of Sojourners, where he is editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine. He regularly appears on radio and television, including shows such as “Meet the Press,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” and is a frequent guest on the news programs of CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and NPR. Other books include Call to Conversion, Faith Works, The Soul of Politics, Faith Works, God’s Politics, and The Great Awakening. Wallis’ columns appear in major newspapers, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and both Time and Newsweek online. He speaks at more than two hundred events a year including the Davos conference in Switzerland where he will address this book’s topic in January 2010. In January 2009, Wallis spoke alongside conference attendees such as Tony Blair, Bill and Melinda Gates, Queen Rania of Jordan, Bill Clinton, and Al Gore.


Wallis on The Daily Show: “They say the banks are too big to fail.  I say let's make them smaller."

In an interview with the McKinsey Quarterly, Wallis says, “I think we have to look at this from the point of view of the economy and its relation to other sectors. This was a structural crisis. It was. But it’s also a spiritual crisis.”

In Morning Joe interview, Wallis says “wealth doesn’t trickle down, but bad behavior does.”

On Tavis Smiley Show, Wallis calls out Wall Street for not extending grace to Main Street and Your Street. 

Washington Post Outlook, Jim Wallis, Let's Topple the Idols of Wall Street

God's Politics Blog, Jim Wallis, If They Are Too Big to Fail, Let's Make Them Smaller

Jim Wallis Book Tour/Events Across the Nation