Thinking Anglicans

Canterbury, York and Capitalism

The Archbishop of Canterbury has written in the Spectator Face it: Marx was partly right about capitalism.

The Archbishop of York gave a speech to the Institute of Worshipful Company of International Bankers Archbishop Labels HBOS short sellers as “Bank Robbers”.

Stephen Bates in The Guardian Archbishop offers praise for St Bernadette – and Marx
Sadie Gray and agencies in The Guardian Archbishops attack profiteers and ‘bank robbers’ in City
Martin Beckford in the Telegraph Archbishops of Canterbury and York blame capitalism excesses for financial crisis
Ruth Gledhill in the Times The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of Karl Marx
and Time to curb the ‘asset strippers and robbers’ who ruin the financial markets, say archbishops
Steve Doughty in the Mail Archbishops attack the ‘bank robbers’ who have brought economy to brink of disaster
BBC Archbishops attack City practices

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Ford ElmsChris H.WeiwenDavid KeenDaveG Recent comment authors
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Weiwen
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All due respect to John, but he’s an expert at religion, not at finance. While I’m not in the UK, it’s pretty likely that HBOS had deep seated problems with its business. It may well have deserved to be sold. I’d be inclined to ignore his comments about HBOS.

His comment about why Western nations can afford to bail the capitalist pigs out and not fund development efforts in the Global South is spot on, of course.

Pluralist
Guest

Oh dear. Marx did not state what the Archbishop claims he stated and was right about. For Marx the relationship of capital to labour and surplus value was very real. This Dawkins and Hitchens comment (apply it to finance) is bizarre. As for the York comment, there was no equivalent run on Lloyds TSB for a good reason, and short sellers were froth on a downturn. There might have been a critical difference, had Gordon Brown been decisive and banned short selling a day earlier, but it would not have accounted for that long decline in the HBOS value. As… Read more »

Jay Vos
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Pluralist: yeah. Didya see the Times head line on the Ruth Gledhill article? Sensationalist! (But it’s a Murdoch paper, so whaddya expect?)

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

I heard an Americam economist the other night commenting on the US economic meltdown. He made the statement that the Western economy is based on credit. He did it rather scornfully, pretty much saying that credit is vital to an advanced economy(I believe the phrase he used was “any economy more advanced than a barter system.” In Western practice, credit entails usury. It needn’t, of course, Muslim run banks, so I understand, do not practice usury. I find it very interesting that this requirement for usury as the basis of our economy is simply not on the radar of those… Read more »

Robert Ian williams
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Robert Ian williams

If there was no City jiggery pokery there would be no Church of England stipends and pension fund.

Father Ron Smith
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Father Ron Smith

“Rowan Williams broke with two long-standing Anglican taboos yesterday by becoming the first Archbishop of Canterbury officially to visit the French Catholic shrine at Lourdes and by offering at least limited support for Karl Marx’s condemnation of unbridled capitalism.” “Seven bishops and some 60 priests joined in a concelebrated Anglican Eucharist in the Upper Basilica of the main church… The day marks the feast of Our Lady of Walsingham, the title given to Mary at the Anglican Shrine in the tiny village of Walsinghan, Norfolk, England where Anglicans gather in the thousands each May. Walsingham also has chapels run by… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
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Hugh of Lincoln

Oh dear. The Archbishops might be better to stick to theology rather than dabble in the dark arts of high finance. Of all the sins of capitalism, jumping on the bandwagon to condemn short-sellers is analagous to the Anglican obsession with gays. A few eyebrows must have been raised at the Church Commissioners who made a nice return of £147m on £5.67bn worth of investments in global capitalism last year, including a £34m stake in HBOS which invested heavily in what turned out to be toxic assets. It was the catastrophic failure of management which led to HBOS’ problems, not… Read more »

Pluralist
Guest

I don’t think religion or anything else gets anywhere categorising so called sins. Rather, does this activity do good, and does it do harm, or what effects of both. The obsession with identifying, categorising and attempted policing of sins does no good to anyone.

Prior Aelred
Guest

I suspect that the ABC’s comments in praise of saints & communism didn’t provoke much reaction because very few people pay any attention to or care about what he says about anything at all (but, Mr. Bates, there is no unitary “Anglican church” — there are several of them, depending on how you count & what you mean by the term — surely a lapsus calami)

orfanum
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orfanum

Ford – Perhaps partly because the constellation of political and social themes that cluster around protest against usury are and have been in recent years decidedly dodgy – since they have often inextricably bound up with the question to the so-called ‘Jewish Problem’, from 13th Century France to Major Douglas and Social Credit. Today, there are some very interesting and *perhaps* unwholesome alliances between religious and ‘money’ reformers. for e.g.: http://ccmj.org/wiki/view.php?page=%20Islam I am no economic expert but though there’s a difference between demanding interest on a loan and offering credit, one can still be indebted via the latter route. Why… Read more »

DaveG
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DaveG

Orthodox Jews and Muslims CLAIM they avoid “usury” (charging interest) but it is not true in any objective sense. For example, a sham “partnership” is created between the “borrower” and the “lender.” The borrower is obliged to repay the capital “invested” by the lender and a share of the “profits” to the lender. Because of the difficulty in calcualting the share of the profits, they agree on payment to the lender/partner equal to what would have been the interest rate on the loan. After the payments are all made, the “patnership” terminates. It is a huge fiction designed to “fool”… Read more »

David Keen
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David Keen

“They are amateurs who feel they have to comment, but their comment is so limited.”

Hmm, don’t like the sound of a world where ‘amateurs’ are disqualified from commenting on things they aren’t expert in. That would certainly have shut Jesus up. I’m sure there were great economic reasons for trading in the Temple courtyard, if only he’d grasped them, poor deluded chap.

Weiwen
Guest

David,

I’m all for amateurs commenting. However, Jesus knew what he was talking about. John Sentamu did not.

In fact, if anything, Lloyds TSB is the asset stripper in this scenario.

Additionally, if I heard right, John basically called for agricultural subsidies for UK farmers. It’s well known that such subsidies in Western nations distort the global economy by making the exports of developing nations uncompetitive. John would essentially steal a livelihood from many African farmers – possibly some in his native Uganda.

Chris H.
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Chris H.

Weiwen, You’re right, ag. subsidies do make things tougher to ship food internationally and make it competitive–definitely not fair. However, without them, like the rest of industry, food production would become just another import. Do you really want all your food to come from third world nations? How a bout a nice glass of Chinese milk right about now? Or as one of the Chinese gov’t English students I taught in Beijing put it. “We take your money and factories to build our nation and when our economy gets bigger, we will sell you nothing. Keep everything for us.” He… Read more »

Ford Elms
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Ford Elms

“subsidies do make things tougher to ship food internationally and make it competitive” Since 1949, our infrastructure has been whittled away to nothing. An organic beef ranch had to close here recently, since the current food infrastructure makes it more cost effective for supermarkets to bring beef nearly the entire way across North America than it is to bring it a 20 minute drive. I can buy American lettuce 365 days a year, and it rots after three days. Locally grown lettuce, when I can get it, and that’s NEVER in a supermarket, lasts 2-3 weeks, not having spent the… Read more »