The end of the Cold War has led to the false hope that all humans would be treated equally, says Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, former Anglican archbishop in Cape Town, South Africa, says that the world's inability to avoid crises such as the global debt and speculation-instituted recession, climate change, and violence, illustrates the risk of people not working together across communities and barriers.
He also pointed the finger at the richest nations and bearing the most culpability.
"The countries most responsible for devastating changes are the least vulnerable to the consequences, of which the price is being paid by the poor and the weak," he declared.
Solutions to the ongoing economic crisis require concerted action from faith and civil society groups who have a sense of being "moral communities", Tutu says.
Big corporations and governments have become prey to the forces of greed, sectional interest and self-regard, he suggests.
The archbishop declared: "More than political will, the moral imperative is lacking; we realise more and more [the global financial crisis] is a moral and ethical matter."
In his 'retirement', Dr Tutu has become an international figure lobbying for social justice, peace and reconciliation, human rights, and dignity for excluded groups such as lesbians and gays.
While organised Christianity has met an increasingly sceptical response in the West and other parts of the world, Desmond Tutu is a figure who has united and impressed people from a variety of belief backgrounds, both religious and non-religious.