Thursday, 25 September 2008

Archbishop - Marx was partly right about capitalism

. As regular readers of this blog will know I am a committed atheist and secularist so rarely find occasion to lavish praise on the clergy. However, I am going to make an exception to the rule for Dr Rowan Willams whose latest article in The Spectator is described by Matthew D' Acona as a "red rag to capitalist bulls". It is a generally excepted truth that the left will use any kind of economic crisis to hammer capitalism but this time we have seen the calls for greater regulation go well beyond the 'usual suspects' which is a direct testimony on how deep this crisis actually is; as reported below even David Cameron has called for 'sensible' regulation.

Willams rightly inveighs against the 'fictional wealth' that has been slushing around and generated the helpful illusion that the system works. He rightly says that the truth is;

"that almost unimaginable wealth has been generated by equally unimaginable levels of fiction, paper transactions with no concrete outcome beyond profit for traders."

You could add that the 'trickle down' effect; one that is so highly prized by defenders of the market have shown minimal benefit for people at the bottom end of the scale. Yet as is always the case they are the first to suffer, something that we even recognise as a reality with our promise of targeted tax cuts. It should be taken as a given in the current climate that it is;

"no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to"

in other words the party is well and truly over for the free market. It comes as no surprise to critics of capitalism that;

"We find ourselves talking about capital or the market almost as if they were individuals, with purposes and strategies, making choices, deliberating reasonably about how to achieve aims. We lose sight of the fact that they are things that we make."

In other words people are alienated from what they produce which is a highly Marxist concept and critique of capitalism. He later goes onto say slavish devotion to the market as the panacea for all ills is a kind of 'fundamentalism'. Something that he, of course, will know an awful lot about; Willams says that the;

"biggest challenge in the present crisis is whether we can recover some sense of the connection between money and material reality — the production of specific things, the achievement of recognisably human goals that have something to do with a shared sense of what is good for the human community in the widest sense."

Amen to that; it is time to recognise that there is something fundamentally wrong with capitalism, how it works and that it is the duty of governments who supposedly govern in the name of the people to protect the people from the consequences of it's failures.

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