Rowan Williams: It’s time to challenge banks


5:40 pm - November 2nd 2011

by Newswire    


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The Archbishop of Canterybury Rowan Williams has written a hard-hitting article in the Financial Times today, arguing it’s ‘Time for us to challenge the idols of high finance

Referring to the #occupy protests, he writes:

The protest at St Paul’s was seen by an unexpectedly large number of people as the expression of a widespread and deep exasperation with the financial establishment that shows no sign of diminishing. There is still a powerful sense around – fair or not – of a whole society paying for the errors and irresponsibility of bankers; of impatience with a return to ‘business as usual’ – represented by still-soaring bonuses and little visible change in banking practices.

But before we indulge in yet more satisfying indignation, we should keep two things in mind. First, the Church of England is a place where the unspoken anxieties of society can often find a voice, for good and ill. If the Church cannot find ways through, that is not an index of its incompetence so much as of the sensitivity of such matters. Second, we are at risk of forgetting the substantive questions that prompted the protest.

The Archbishop then makes three recommendations:

1) ‘Routine banking business should be clearly separated from speculative transactions.’

2) If banks are to be recapitalised with public money, they should be ‘obliged in return to help reinvigorate the real economy’.

3) Joins backing by the Vatican of a Financial Transaction Tax (aka ‘Tobin Tax’ or ‘Robin Hood Tax’)

He ends by saying: “If religious leaders and commentators in the UK and elsewhere could agree on these three proposals, as a common ground on which to start serious discussion, questionings alike of protesters and clergy will not have been wasted.”

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Reader comments


“… in a very real sense.”

Dr Williams seems to think a unilateral British Tobin tax would at least “send a message.” Never mind it would decimate our financial sector, drive unemployment up, and cripple our tax revenues (making the welfare state a lot more difficult to sustain) – at least a message would be sent to those awful bankers what rotters we think they are.

Dr Williams is as qualified to give Britain financial advice as Mervyn King is to preach at us on matters spiritual.

1
Looking at the consequences to the economy that resulted from the financial experts, I would suggest that Mervyn King (and others) would have done better persuing a career with the Church.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  2. Stamp out Poverty

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  3. sunny hundal

    Archbishop Rowan Williams agrees it’s time to challenge the banks and makes three suggestions http://t.co/almznxvI but is that enough?

  4. meme

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  5. Kevin Donovan

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  6. Julian Block

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  7. Tom Troughton

    Don't often agree with the church but if CofE and @OccupyLSX share common goals there is hope. http://t.co/cTsZPW29 encouraging but limited.

  8. Janet Graham

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip

  9. Janet Graham

    Archbishop Rowan Williams agrees it’s time to challenge the banks and makes three suggestions http://t.co/almznxvI but is that enough?

  10. Alex Braithwaite

    Rowan Williams: It’s time to challenge banks | Liberal Conspiracy http://t.co/UBMnTfjY via @libcon

  11. Vic Forte

    Rowan Williams: It's time to challenge banks http://t.co/qyR4MYip





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