WASHINGTON, DC – The world does not need to be reminded of the urgency of this historical moment. We sense it every day in the news. One day a major bank, insurance company, or automaker announces a record loss. The next brings word about the impact on nations and peoples least able to cope with these blows – the poorest of the world’s poor.
During the last two years, I have dealt with many crises, from Darfur and the Democratic Republic of Congo to such global challenges as the food crisis and climate change. But the financial crisis is unique and potentially overwhelming.
What was a purely financial crisis has become an economic crisis, spreading across the globe. Every projection of growth has been revised downward. And while there are signs that mature economies are recovering from the panic that froze credit markets, we are by no means beyond the danger zone.
My greatest concern is that today’s financial crisis evolves into tomorrow’s human crisis. We need to recognize what Martin Luther King, Jr. called the “fierce urgency of now” if we are to safeguard millions of people’s livelihoods and hopes for the future.