Bob Doll on the Global Economy and the Church

At the Global:Church Forum, Bob Doll, formerly of BlackRock, discussed the global economy and the Church.

Key demographics and economic trends.

As an investor we look at the world primarily divided by developed markets (developed countries), emerging markets (will eventually be developed), and frontier markets (an unknown future where some will be successful and others will disappear).

When we look back 10 years from now, we will see emerging markets making significant progress with important assists by the US.

Cell phone costs have dramatically dropped, which has given mobile access to lower economic areas.

A country’s change is population is the most significant factor on its economic growth. China’s 1 birth policy will slow their economy down. The US has an advantage of having a higher birthrate than the rest of the developed world. US immigration rate is also the highest globally, and those that come to the US tend to be young and very productive. In a decade or two, every country in Europe will be declining.

By 2050, half of the world’s Christianity will live is Africa and Asia. There is little relationship to a country’s rate of growth and its commitment to religion. But there is a big link between a country’s income growth and their religious engagement. Materialism crowds out God.

More Presbyterians were in church last Sunday in Ghana than in Scotland. More Roman Catholics worship in the Philippines than in any country of Europe including Italy.

Half of Christian leaders that have ever lived are alive today.

As representatives of the global Church we must think careful before saying what Christians now believe.

In the global South, churches are appealing to different cultures. They do quite well reaching migrants to cities. By 2025, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities; it will be two-thirds by 2050.

Impact of these trends on the church and its growth.

Who is my neighbor?

We live in an era where travel is easier and international communication is greater than any previous era.


Only about 3% of the world’s population immigrates on a given year. Yet that small percentage can sometimes affect a specific community by at least 15%. Most economists agree that immigrants are positive to a country’s economy, but people don’t like it when their jobs are taken.

Is there a Christian view of immigration? Leviticus 19 says the stranger among you should be treated well. We are told to love our neighbor not love our neighbors born in our country.

Foreign aid?

Globalization brings the suffering of the world more directly to our attention. One billion people today live on less than $1 per day. Outside of China, most of the world has not been able to alleviate poverty well.

The absence of coordination among NGOs (nonprofits) has created a great waste of resources.