The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Interview with Radio 4 ‘Today’ programme on credit, debt & inequality

Posted by Kendall Harmon

JH: What is the effect of this being, going on, continuing unchecked?

ABC: Well certainly among the poorest the effect is the erosion of family life, the erosion of self confidence. There is still a stigma about debt even though it is taken for granted in so many quarters but the stigma means people don't want to talk about it, they don't necessarily want to go and get the best advice about it and for young people particularly it does become crippling, especially for children.

JH: And do you think that, putting aside that aspect of it, do you think when we see people becoming in the words of another former government minister, 'filthy rich', our attitude is, 'I want a bit of that myself' and therefore a good thing for society which is what America has until very recently appeared to believe, or do you think the opposite effect?

ABC: I think it is a bit of both isn't it. I think there's a degree of envy and cynicism that's bred by disproportion and that leads people to feel even more alienated from the rest of society – that the gulf is even greater between themselves, between people who can't manage there own affairs - can't take control of their own affairs/ circumstances - and these others. So there may be an element of I'd like some of that but here is also an element of what kind of society is this? Why should I trust this system when it rewards some people so disproportionately in a way that doesn't connect at all where I am?

JH: So you are simply saying that the government and the politicians are more relaxed about that than you are and that you are taking...?

ABC: They seem to be. I wouldn't mind if they were a little more worried.

JH: And in what sense? Exemplified how?

ABC: I don't want to go into the details of how regulation of high salaries might be achieved because my primary concern today is simply with the poorest end of the spectrum where I think more can be done, more rapidly and in a more focused way.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury * Culture-WatchGlobalizationPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomy

6 Comments
Posted April 26, 2008 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. hanks wrote:

Has the ABC stepped in it again, preaching a new economic gospel?  In a Daily Mail account of this speech,

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=561924&in_page_id=1770

there is the following telling comment:

Critics accused him of misundertanding the nature of finance and the way companies work.

Economist Ruth Lea, an Anglican who is economic adviser to the Arbuthnot Banking Group, said: ‘The Archbishop should join the real world. This is an attack on private enterprise.

April 26, 6:52 pm | [comment link]
2. DonGander wrote:

Thou shalt not covet.

I’d expect that to be in there somewhere.

Is that expecting too much?

Don

April 26, 10:53 pm | [comment link]
3. Londoner wrote:

I am a ... Londoner.
The sad thing is that this ABC is a figure of fun, if nor irrelevance in the UK, the classic out of touch, academic bishop the CofE produces so often.

So, he likes the stuff the bible says against greed and materialism. Very good.
Shame he does not respect what the bible teaches re fornication and also re false teachers and how to deal with them in the chruch.

April 27, 9:11 am | [comment link]
4. Y Cymro wrote:

If Rowan Williams said that Jesus rose from the dead you some of you people would knock him. Londoner, I believe that Michael Ramsay was also accused of being a academic out of touch bishop. to be honest people did not think much of George carey. For that matter they have probably forgotten he existed.

April 27, 5:40 pm | [comment link]
5. dwstroudmd+ wrote:

Latent socialism come active in the nanny state to beat all nanny states!  Should I be surprised?  Should anyone?

Marks for the direct hit, Londoner. 

Calling George Orwell!  Mr. Orwell!  Consultation at Lambeth Palace, please, Sir.  Yes.  Historical research.  Yes.  1984 and ANIMAL FARM, both.

April 27, 8:23 pm | [comment link]
6. Y Cymro wrote:

dwstroudmd said:

“Latent socialism come active in the nanny state to beat all nanny states!  Should I be surprised?  Should anyone?
Marks for the direct hit, Londoner.
Calling George Orwell!  Mr. Orwell!  Consultation at Lambeth Palace, please, Sir.  Yes.  Historical research.  Yes.  1984 and ANIMAL FARM, both.”

I am sure both Norway and Sweden could beat the UK on that record. It has been said that Orwell may have had the Labour administration in mind when he wrote 1984, however more likely he had Stalin in mind since in Spain he had some experience of that regime. Orwell was an ardent socialist so your comparison does not hold water.

The point made by ABC also has been made by Benedict XVI and many Roman Catholic clergy, so I believe is quite valid.

April 28, 4:22 am | [comment link]
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