Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Marxist Church of England

The Archbishop of York has called share traders who cashed in on falling prices ‘bank robbers and asset strippers’, and the Archbishop of Canterbury waxes lyrically of the virtues of Karl Marx, warning that in the face of the credit crisis, ‘the financial world needs new regulation’, and that ‘society is running the risk of idolatry in its relationship with wealth’.

Running the risk?

Does the Archbishop not understand that Mammon has been society’s idol for centuries, and that positioning the Church towards Karl Marx is naïvely simply supplanting one idol for another?

And Marx is in any case a curious exemplar for a church, as he sought to replace the Hegelian dialectic of the spirit with a materialistic dialectic located within the economic sphere. For Marx, the inadequacies of society were to be overcome by a transition from capitalism to Socialism and ultimately to Communism.

Perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury has failed to notice that in recent decades Socialism has become a spent force and Communism has been thoroughly discredited. Perhaps, like orthodox Marxists, Dr Williams will blame the imperfection of leaders for the non-arrival of his Utopia, but he would be something of an expert in that.

It is difficult (as ever) to fathom what the Archbishop is proposing, for his advocacy of the Marxist ideal and the repudiation of capitalism can only be accomplished through the diminution of democracy, or, what Marx oxymorincally called ‘democratic centralisation’. In fulfillment of the pattern of society set out by Plato in 'The Republic', the ultimate authority has to be intellectuals and experts – the Philosopher Rulers – and this paves the way for bureacratic authoritarianism. At best (if it be), this may be seen in the form of ‘democratic centralisation’ of the European Union. At worst, it is that of Stalin and Lenin.

Capitalism can be cruel, but so is nature. It is a manifest inconsistency for the Church of England in one week to apologise to the man who expounded a theory of survival of the fittest, and the next to denounce such a theory when it is manifest in the natural laws of economy and society. Exploitation is an undoubted evil, but this ‘extremism’ is not a capitalist necessity, but a result of the greed in the heart of man. And the Archbishop ought to know that one cannot change the human heart through legislation or external imposition.

Democracy has its imperfections, and so does capitalism. But both have been found by experience to be the better than the alternatives, and both yield a more just and less oppressed society. The ‘Protestant ethic’ identified by Weber is both rational and moral, and the history of the modern era attests to this. Marxism has failed along with the barbarities of fascism, and history attests to this also.

Cranmer hears the Archbishop of Canterbury is presently making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, and speaking at the shrine to the ‘Immaculate Conception’. It is time for him to follow the man who appointed him to Canterbury, and to take his pro-EU, anti-State, anti-individualist, Marxist, federalist, Socialist, ‘third way’ Catholic-ecumenism to another place. He belongs elsewhere.


Anonymous Ex coe mouse said...


At Westminster
At Canterbury

Since nobody can be bothered to do anything about it, everybody must have decided just to wait for the Second Coming.

I guess we all want it sooner rather than later.

25 September 2008 at 07:47  
Anonymous irate rc said...

While he certainly does belong "elsewhere", that is only true insofar as it is true of all Anglicans. His absurd politics are immaterial.

25 September 2008 at 08:20  
Blogger Tomrat said...

Your grace,

Money is the root of all evil but it is not evil in and of itself; it can also be a freeing force in a world with so few.

What has happened in the credit crunch itself is not capitalism but corporatism; put as few people in the control of much of the wealth of nations, limiting free-trade by proxy and you will skew incentives:

1. "Mortgage Salesmen" are only incentivised to sell mortgages; not worry about the long term implications of so much debt in so many places, good or bad.
2. Speculators and bank managers were incentivised by low interest rates and political coercion to keep the debt bubble going to ensure the false prosperity Labour rode in on for the last 3 consecutive terms.
3. Politicians were incentivised because the prosperity generated by so much cheap credit has raised the happiness and disinterest in the political sphere has enabled them to do what they like (though luckily, not anymore).

We dont need more regulation for this; we need less but stronger enforced regulation and as little perturbation for political ends as possible.

25 September 2008 at 08:34  
Blogger dmk said...

What Rowan Williams actually said:
"Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves; he was right about that, if about little else."

So Marx is right about one thing, and Williams is now a Marxist? Lets apply that logic elsewhere. You believe in God, Osama Bin Laden believes in God, so you support Al Qaeda. No, this isn't working is it?

25 September 2008 at 08:53  
Blogger Tomrat said...


Marx was way off the mark calling this "capitalism"; giving life to a business institution as a legal entity (i.e. it is legally classed as a human being) is the creation of an incorporated institution or "corporation", which does lead to such things as unbridled power, rent seekings and the mythology he describes - but that is corporatism, not capitalism.

There are 2 issues:

1. We need big institutions to raise capital for things we couldn't afford within small collectives; governments assembling armies and police forces are one such example.
2. Organisations when they get too big forget why they were set up in the first place; big pharma was set up for blue-sky drug discovery which ushered in new developments and prolonged human life and increased its richness - can you honestly say thats what its about in most cases? The same with government; parliament set up to curb the excesses of tyranny and protect the nations health, wealth and happiness - again, can we honestly say this still applies?

Williams does not want or understand free market capitalism or that this is very clearly not free market capitalism because Marx did not understand it either.

25 September 2008 at 09:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do even capitalists like free markets? It seems to me that the most successful capitalists achieve their position by taking advantage of state procurement, legislation and favour. The capitalist objective is monopoly, not competition.

And religion is no different.

25 September 2008 at 10:29  
Anonymous Effing and blinding said...

The BBC is currently salivating over all of this given how neatly it fits its own prejudices. Funny how quickly the Archbishops become voices of authority.

One thing the archbishops and the BBC have in common. They never mention the concept of ‘opportunity cost’ of capital. They don’t understand that for every £1 of capital, there are multiple competing claims. No company has a God given right to that £1. If Y has a better claim than X to that £1, it should be transferred – and if it happens quickly and efficiently, it is a sign the system is working.

Sure, it is harsh for X’s employees, but it is equally unfair on Y’s employees if it weren’t allowed to happen. And short selling helps that system to work by preventing X ‘covering up the cracks’.

I can maybe excuse the Archbishops on the grounds they haven’t a clue about this concept. They haven’t (as far as I know) had economics training (have they?), and they won’t learn about it from the BBC.

But I don't excuse them from opening their traps on a subject they don’t know much about. They come across as complete idiots.

25 September 2008 at 10:32  
Blogger Alex said...

Perverse position from the Archbishop. If we accept his proposition that short sellers are in some measure evil, then the Archbishop must believe that the buyers of these shares are saints. Or is it not a zero-sum game? Funny, because I thought it was.

25 September 2008 at 10:45  
Blogger dmk said...

John Sentamu's main point is to question why it's easier to find $700bn to bail out banks, when we can't even find 1% of that amount to stop people dying of starvation. You don't need to be an economist to think there's something wrong with that.

25 September 2008 at 11:21  
Blogger Rupert said...

Their are some really bad misquotations here. Its the love of money that is the root of all evil.

25 September 2008 at 11:44  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

Whether it be Marx or Mohammed its the unhealthy obssesion with the dead I find frightening.

What happened to life is for the living, where are the free thinkers of today, being silenced by people who are obssesed with the dead is the answer.

You cannot tell me thats healthy.

25 September 2008 at 14:49  
Anonymous woman on a raft said...

Your Grace, no argument with your comments on Marxism, but what on earth are the Archbishops on about?

The Church commissioners state clearly in their summary 2007 R&A

"Our global equities portfolio's return, at 9.9%, was also slightly behind the benchmark. Investing internationally, as we are doing increasingly, carries the risk that a big fall in a foreign currency against sterling could devalue our assets. We set up a currency hedging programme last year to offset that risk."

They also were not happy with the performance of the equity portfolio, regarding 3.1% as lagging the UK stockmarket benchmark. They didn't say: 'All these paper gains are just oofle dust, of no value to anyone'. They said: 'How come our shares are worth less than anyone else's as judged by what someone will pay for them on any given day?'.

They then answered their own question. It was
a) because they set an ethical policy which meant that lower-performing companies were chosen and
b) this godless society freely chooses to put a lot more money in to tobacco, alcohol and defence, making those stocks more valuable and/or profitable.

Instead of accepting that an ethical policy will bring lower returns, but that's alright as it is what the Church has chosen, the commissioners dumped the lowest performing fund manager and told the rest to get on with picking winners i.e. managing investments.

The church commissioners manage assets worth £5.67 bn.

The Church Commissioners do not invest in arms or pornography or in any company whose main business is in gambling, alcohol, tobacco, or home credit provision.

Presumably Church's remaining ethical fund managers are now trying to find the companies where there is enough subsidiary business in rudery, fags 'n' booze to bring the returns up to what the Church expects, but to still allow the Archbishops to run about calling everyone else bank robbers.

25 September 2008 at 14:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I generally agree with this piece. It is beyond me how Archbishops now feel themselves qualified to speak about economics!

I thought that democratic centralism came from Lenin rather than Marx. It also has nothing to do with the EU, which is a capitalist club that makes socialism impossible, whether the voters want it or not.

25 September 2008 at 16:05  
Blogger McKenzie said...


25 September 2008 at 17:17  
Blogger dizzyfatplonka said...

The tax burden is holding back spending power because of the multi layered treasonous Governance we have to fund.
Abolish the lot and remove taxation from food and fuel half the tax on wages and give the Royal Household a rise!

That should give the economy the boost it needs without turning to these Corporate Communist Government bailouts

25 September 2008 at 17:39  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

Possibly the Archbishop should have paid closer attention to what the Church does, before bemoaning similar practices elsewhere.

I am not convinced that short selling is wrong at all.

The problem lies with the moral bankruptcy of our leaders who tell straight lies to camera about nation debt and the state of our economy.

Surely the Archbishop should condemn that and perhaps the false witness Mr Brown used against George Osborne the other day.

25 September 2008 at 17:59  
Blogger John said...

I have to disagree quite strongly with your attack on Plato's Republic, unless ofcourse you think that the United States should have remained an Imperial outpost of the British Empire...?

25 September 2008 at 18:37  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace

And what is the relationship between Chestertons and the Church of England Commissioners these days?

If the Archbishop is serious then he needs to get his house in order. Let him without sin etc.

However, it's probable that the Archbishop will deny all responsibility for the actions of his appointed agents.

Duplicity is a word which springs to mind.

25 September 2008 at 18:54  
Anonymous kingbongo said...

Adding to the post of woman on a raft

as well as the currency hedging, which they are proud of in the Annual Report they have no problem with using derivatives

report p8 In 2008 we will invest further in private equity and global indirect property funds

and on p13 they are pleased to say

We recognised that the office cycle was reaching its peak. It was the ideal time to sell

presumable they are now rubbing their hands in glee at the plight of the sucker they dumped Verulam Point on.

This hypocrisy by the Arch-Mishap is typical of him and far too much of the rest of the Church's leadership.

Read Andreas Whittam Smith's intro to the report -

which can be paraphrased as "dergulation is great and we have done really well out of it but it's really nasty and horrid that we've made all this money for our members"

25 September 2008 at 19:08  
Anonymous William Lack said...

The point is that the Church does not understand the role of markets and those that work within in it. Short sellers are effectively the little boy who tells the Emperor he is not wearing any clothes.

25 September 2008 at 22:15  
Anonymous job's tempter said...

So Rowan Williams has turned on the money-lenders and described them as "robbers".
Isn't there a precedent for that somewhere?

25 September 2008 at 22:57  
Blogger King Athelstan said...

Good point jobs tempter,have we forgotten what we are? (Southern USA excepted.

26 September 2008 at 02:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cranmer you are a smart chap, so you should be able to follow the logic.

The ABofC is a clearly a Marxist.

He was appointed by the establishment.

So could it be possible that our establishment are in fact MARXISTS for want of a more accurate name?

Marx claimed that TRUE MARXISM could only happen when first free market capitalism failed in the UK and the USA.

It is possible that Karl Marx was actually a Zionist working for a very large Zionist banking corporation?

Could it be that Karl Marx was simply outlining his masonic brothers Zionist plans for a future effectively Communist New World Order?

To my knowledge Marx never gave a date for when the fall of capitalism would be instigated. He did however specify the place, and it certainly was not Russia in 1917.

26 September 2008 at 02:55  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

This sounds like a diversion tactic. Has the AB invested the COE funds in some get rich scheme and now the money is gone?

26 September 2008 at 03:04  
Anonymous len said...

There is a New kingdom coming!, this is the birth pains, everything will be shaken!
Your old religions will be shown to be corrupt and apostate,your political systems will fail,your monetary systems built on greed and abuse of the poor will fall,the wisdom of man will be shown to have brought him to the edge of the abyss,The Kingdom? THE KINGDOM OF JAHWEH, GOD IS COMING!

26 September 2008 at 08:16  
Anonymous Martin Sewell said...

Thank god for Rabbi Jonathan Sacks whose thoughtful piece on "Thought for the Day" massively eclipses the contribution of Dr Williams in this area.

He identifies that markets have lifted millions out of poverty - not least in China, and centres his contribution to his proper place by observing that what we are seeing is a failure of morals not markets. Would that Dr Williams were so precise.

For those who place their faith in Government intervention, this week's column by Ann Coulter is an absolute MUST. There, she tracks the history of sub prime lending to the politically correct policies of the Clinton/Democrat years which insisted that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mack pursue "equal opportunity" access to mortgages , which placed home ownership as a priority about the capacity to actually sustain the payments in less benign times.

Ultimately these badly targeted mortgages could not be afforded when fuel and food prices rose.

Had proper Banking criteria applied, these poisonous mortgages would not have arisen, and they would not have been buried in complex derivatives to be traded by the ignorant and greedy.

The problem arises from the Government interference with markets through the well meaning interventions of such as Dr W. Stick to your last, Sir: opinionated amateurs have done enough damage.

26 September 2008 at 08:50  
Anonymous woman on a raft said...

Holy Smoke - no, quite the reverse. The Church Commissioners have acted prudently and within their ethical guidelines to avoid the property disasters of the late 1980s. The portfolio is diverse, selling some property just when it was most valuable and thereby passing to someone else the subsequent fall in its value. They have set up hedges against currency fluctuations and made some extra money by taking a fee for lending out shares to other speculators in the covered shorts business. They've done well.

The problem is that Dr Sentamu then unilaterally, and apparently in ignorance of his own organization's 2007 report and accounts, decided to define some of these activities as bank robbing, apparently unaware that if this was so, then he was driving the getaway car and had been taking a cut of the blag.

He's the 2ic. He should know that R&A backwards; reading your own company's accounts is part of any senior executive's job, and they aren't even difficult to read or I wouldn't be able to do it. They are online. Surely Dr Sentamu was sent a hard copy.

I know many Dr S is popular, but guiding a church under pressure takes more than stunts. Going: 'Ooh, can't be bothered with the R&A, think I'll do a bungee jump and call some random people rude names" is not leadership material. If Dr S ever had a serious point to make about relative choices of what to do with money, it has been utterly lost.

26 September 2008 at 09:51  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

From the Telegraph

The Church of England has admitted it may have profited from the controversial practice of short selling on the stock market just a day after it was condemned by The Archbishop of York.

The Church has substantial share holdings in banks and a stated aim of making an excess profit of 5% each year over and above the rate of inflation, on its investments.

Woops! Never mind what we said about capitalism.

26 September 2008 at 11:36  
Blogger Ælfhere said...

The two old fools fail to understand that there is no difference between idolising wealth and demonising poverty. If they are so opposed to the former why are they always so ready to do the latter?

26 September 2008 at 13:06  
Anonymous Rob said...

Rank hypocrisy is one of the main characteristics of bourgeois progressives. It would be odd to expect the Church of England, the Guardian Newspaper (no longer) at prayer, to be any different.

26 September 2008 at 17:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The two old fools fail to understand that there is no difference between idolising wealth and demonising poverty. If they are so opposed to the former why are they always so ready to do the latter?

Wise words.


They are MARXISTS, selected by our own establishment to deliberately destroy the main stream religion they head up. The ABofC is a masonic Druid, Christian or not.

What the ABofC therefore believes and what he tells his sheep/flock he believes, are similar but not exactly the same thing, AND HE KNOWS IT.

Sorry if this offends Cranmer.

But could you tell me if there was ever a period of time when The Pope or The ABofC told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, to the lowly plate fillers?

Doing truthful things when the truth is the last thing the establishment wants, used to result in a persons body getting roasted alive, as you know. Now it gets a person deselected, assassinated, or ignored.

Was it ever so?


Will it ever be so.

Maybe just maybe


Atlas shrugged

26 September 2008 at 23:54  
Anonymous len said...

Religion(in whatever form or denomination)seeks to replace The Head Of The Body ( Christ) with a figurehead ie pope, archbishop,etc.
There is only one mediator between man and God ,The Lord Jesus Christ.
"woe unto you scribes and pharisees,hypocrites,for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men;for you neither go in yourselves,neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in."

28 September 2008 at 08:32  
Anonymous Lucas said...

Very good article. People can't seem to be able to see our public figures and civil servants for what they really are. Actions show you the true nature of individuals, not words.

28 September 2008 at 20:31  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

The AofC is part of the plot to destroy Christianity in Britain.
He has to go.

3 October 2008 at 12:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

John this may interest you after your quip about America.

2 December 2008 at 20:27  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

If the Archbishop Knew anything of economics, he'd know we have not had Capitalism, we borrow money which we as a sovereign nation should coin ourselves free of charge.

9 October 2009 at 21:44  

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