by Ernest O'Neill

The Asian crisis is beginning to pull down the Western stock markets as orders are reduced and bad debts affect balance sheets. Self-interest therefore dictates that the West engage in some kind of rescue package in order to preserve their own economic prosperity. However, although many actions can be attributed to this motivation, other financial initiatives are being taken that owe just as much to humanity's mercy in times of stress and danger.

Whether it is bankruptcy laws or disaster relief, hard times still reveal the basic fact that generous action, that may not be repaid, is something that the world cannot do without. Even adversity has a way of suggesting that the heart of the universe may be merciful -- and its creator generous.

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