Anglican Samizdat

September 18, 2009

Rowan Williams, economist-manqué

Filed under: Rowan Williams — David Jenkins @ 9:30 am

One of the ironies about Rowan Williams’ recent condemnation of bankers for not repenting of their capitalist ways, is that Rowan and his church have become more interested in how people are doing in this world than they are in where they will end up in the next. And he manages to be just as muddled about this as he is about his own church.

If Rowan were really interested in reducing poverty, he would be encouraging capitalism in places where it is squashed rather than demanding repentance from western practitioners of it; as this article points out, capitalism produces wealth, Rowan and his ideas don’t:

I respectfully disagree with Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, over his views on the City and its finance industry. He regrets there has been “no repentance for the excesses which led to the economic collapse,” and describes a feeling of “diffused resentment” that bankers have failed to accept their responsibility for the crisis.

While the archbishop is entitled to express his views, I am sure he will not mind me pointing out that these are somewhat uninformed views. He admits to not being an economist, saying the crisis has taught us that “economics is too important to be left to the economists.” I am sure he will not mind me pointing out, either, that financial services are not founded on greed. For the most part they represent honest trading by well-intentioned people whose skill lies in the efficient allocation of resources. This skill, internationally, has lifted more people from the blight of poverty and hunger than any other force in history, including religion.

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