Financial Times: Canterbury tales

Posted by Kendall Harmon

For neither Dr Williams nor Dr Sentamu have a proper grasp of how modern finance works - nor the degree to which it is already examined by economists, philosophers and the Fourth Estate.

To claim, as both clerics have done, that much modern finance is fiction or fraud is wrong and, more importantly, misleading. Finance allows savers to profit from the growth of the economy. Everything from home-ownership to old age pensions relies on a successful and sophisticated financial sector. An archbishop, of all people, should know that just because you cannot see something, it does not mean that it is not there or that it does not matter.

Dr Sentamu was wrong to join the chorus of abuse for short-sellers, now the UK's most popular pantomime villains. They are clearly not "bank robbers" or "asset strippers". If investors believe a price is too low, they can buy and hold it. If they believe a price is too high, they can sell it short. This interplay is important. Without short sellers, prices will tend to rise too high. There are strong arguments for restraining them under febrile market conditions, but what they do is not wrong or immoral.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsEconomyStock Market* International News & CommentaryEngland / UK

Posted September 27, 2008 at 4:31 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Janet wrote:

So sad.  Where they should be qualified to teach and uphold the basic elements of Christian doctrine and faith, they don’t.  Yet, where so obviously unqualified to evaluate complex economic/financial systems, they do.  The arrogance is astounding.

September 27, 5:09 pm | [comment link]
2. Jeffersonian wrote:

Nice to see the Archbishop spring the length of his tether once in a while.  You can get an idea of what really frosts his pumpkin, and it provides a nice contrast to his narcoleptic response on other, less-pressing issues like the disintegration of the Communion he is rumored to head.

September 27, 8:08 pm | [comment link]
3. Sarah1 wrote:

I agree, Jeffersonian.

I think another problem though is that in areas where one is failing it is much harder to speak with confidence and act decisively.  It’s much easier when a person [and I include me] is confused and doesn’t know what to do and is torn and has also not been successful to simply huddle in one’s chair, sip tea, and read great books.

I used to do that a whole lot more.  Just “retire to my library” rather than actually deal with something that I suspect I won’t be successful at.

September 27, 8:48 pm | [comment link]
4. robroy wrote:

Pope Benedict can make forays into the secular and get away with it. He is a leader and his organization isn’t falling apart. Rowan has lost credibility on pretty much all fronts. (Can’t comment on his musings on Dostoevsky.)

Sentamu is a disappointment. I wrote to him to ask him to reconsider appearing at a venue with Ms Schori. His silence on the Bp Duncan matter is disturbing. He is not one to hold back.

September 28, 12:32 am | [comment link]
5. Pageantmaster ن wrote:

#4 Dr Dr Rob Roy
“Pope Benedict can make forays into the secular and get away with it”
Well yes and no, occasionally the Vatican gets it wrong.  Last year they got a very negative reaction from Italians when they issued one message too far interfering in local politics and protests from students, to which the City-State had to quickly organise a spontaneous demonstration of affection and loyalty to HH.  It must be very trying as an Italian politician and citizen to have a live-in back-seat-driver pontificating, as it were, with great regularity on local issues.

September 28, 2:10 pm | [comment link]
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