September 25, 2008
The Archbishop of Canterbury has been busy lately offering a cautious criticism of unregulated financial markets (http://www.spectator.co.uk/the-magazine/features/2172131/face-it-marx-was-partly-right-about-capitalism.thtml) Not so the Archbishop of York whose criticisms were not cautious in the least (http://www.archbishopofyork.org/1981) and asking for renewed commitment to the Millennium Development Goals and the eradication of poverty on the eve of the General Assembly of the United Nations. (http://www.anglicancommunion.org/acns/news.cfm/2008/9/24/ACNS4526) I am cheered by the attention being given to the current economic crisis and especially his renewed attention to the eradication of poverty where so many are busy appearing to either protect their riches on one hand or assign blame to the greedy on the other. I hope that the President and Congress take their time to structure any rescue package thoughtfully and carefully to make sure it achieves the desired goals and minimizes the unintended consequences. There is much that I have not yet grasped about the proposals floating around at this point but this I do ‘get’: the billions of dollars we are talking about eventually and somewhere become real money that buys bread and cheese and the like. It is the same real money that is going to pay for our war of aggression and in some way shape or form bear the reality of our various national deficits. We are right to be concerned about economic managers who think that all this money will appear by magic as a gift of that mythical (idolatrous?) god we call ‘the market’. In the end, one way or another, those billions result from our labor and the taxes we are able to pay, or some kind of profit from taking a stake in the financial services industry, a form of socialism that does not inspire me.
I’m looking forward to hearing our presidential candidates discuss these issues and think there is no time like the present. Maybe during the long scheduled and expensive-for-donors-who-make-gifts-to-fund the debate this Friday?