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An examination of the views on capitalism of bishops, academics and business people in the Church of England. Highlighting the richness and distinctiveness of these arguments, it also points to flaws and gaps. Offering a new framework for public theology, Poole urges the Church to take its proper place in re-shaping the global economy.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Introduction

Abstract
In November 1989, while the Church of England’s General Synod sat in Church House, London, Rostropovich played Bach suites in the rubble of the Berlin Wall. Its fall marked the symbolic end of the Cold War — Fukuyama’s ‘end of history’ — and the discrediting of communism as a reasonable political alternative to capitalism. The collapse of credit in the financial markets in 2007/8 similarly toppled the assumption of capitalism triumphant, triggering a global recession. These events frame a period during which capitalism reigned largely unchallenged.
Eve Poole

1. General Synod Views

Abstract
One way to define ‘capitalism’ is to focus on capitalism as a concept. Such a definition attracts a technical critique about ownership and property law. Once these are admitted, power imbalances inevitably follow, so the debate then tends to turn to the issues of just price, usury, and so on, as ways to correct these imbalances. An alternative way to define ‘capitalism’ is to examine the arrangements to which the word refers. Because Synod tends to discuss capitalism in this second, more general, sense, this is the definition that will here be pursued, in the interests of its more practical nature. That said, a careful examination of the various arrangements of capitalism worldwide reveals a level of nuance and complexity that militates against precise critique. Within the discipline of Economics, oversimplifying positions for the sake of discussion is an occupational hazard, because no ‘pure’ form of capitalism or indeed of any other economic system exists outside the textbooks. There is therefore a danger that any theory of economics or treatment thereof becomes an intellectual conceit rather than anything of diagnostic or instrumental use. In practice, capitalism favours the private ownership of assets, so the point at issue across the spread of arrangements tends to concern the appropriate balance within a given economy between state and private ownership.
Eve Poole

2. Church of England Commentators

Abstract
This chapter builds on the preceding survey of the General Synod contribution by examining those themes and motifs concerning capitalism favoured by key Anglican commentators during the period. Certain figures have published material which is indirectly relevant to the theme (for instance Hugh Montefiore on contemporary culture), but this survey is restricted to those commentators who deal specifically with capitalism and whose contributions fall within the period specified. One major commentator is therefore excluded by the dates, but his influence extends over the sources considered. Brian Griffiths, now Lord Griffiths of Fforestfach and Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs, wrote two key books in this area, Morality and the Marketplace (1982) and The Creation of Wealth (1984), and has reprised his thinking in a number of more recent contributions to edited collections of essays. Having been a Professor of Economics, Griffiths served as the Head of Margaret Thatcher’s Policy Unit from 1985 to 1990, and furnished her with a biblically-based moral case for her economic reforms. He is widely credited as being a key architect of the brand of Thatcherism criticised in Faith in the City and by bishops such as David Sheppard and David Jenkins. His books are therefore referenced as appropriate.
Eve Poole

3. Types of Theology

Abstract
There is a traditional fairground attraction in which the bystander is equipped with a hammer and invited to hit a series of moles popping up randomly through a variety of holes. As public fury about City bonuses reached a zenith, the arcade on Southwold pier introduced a version replacing the moles with bankers.1 This somewhat macabre game is rather like the attempt to establish a fixed definition of something, or to create a definitive model or account. As soon as the attempt has been made an exception appears, or a new instance, or an unforeseen limitation, and the hammer of argumentation or language has to move ever faster to keep up. This is a particular hazard in theology but, in order to critique Church of England views on capitalism in the period, it is necessary to establish some kind of theological ‘ideal’. The selection of any ideal inevitably results in a partial analysis and one that begs the criticism of oversimplicity, particularly given the range of Church of England views considered, but the device of an ideal remains a useful heuristic. In this context, an abstracted approach will be adopted as an oblique way of establishing a set of criteria that approach an ideal, from a theoretical point of Archimedean privilege designed to offer a comprehensive purview.
Eve Poole

4. Critique of Church of England Views

Abstract
The first chapter examined Church of England views on capitalism through the lens of General Synod. The second chapter expanded the field to include the published views of individual members of the Church of England, both ordained and lay, academic and commercial. Together they represent the canvas of Anglican opinion in England on capitalism in the period. The third chapter examined how theology typically ‘behaves’ through an examination of a variety of theological typographies. The chapter used a meta-analysis of type to generate a taxonomic framework of six criteria to function as a device against which Church of England views on capitalism can be measured. This final chapter will examine the material considered in the preceding chapters in the light of these criteria, looking first at Synod then at the commentators in each case. It will conclude by identifying those areas where additional theological resource would strengthen the Church of England’s ability to engage in the economic debate.
Eve Poole

Conclusion

Abstract
This book has examined Church of England views on capitalism during this period, first by drawing together formal Church views and examining the views of Church of England commentators; then by establishing criteria for theological scrutiny and applying these to the emerging findings. This treatment suggests that the Church should strengthen its theological resources for use in the debate on economics — particularly regarding its ecclesiology and anthropology — and that it should make more thoughtful and active use of its position in society. At the risk of being overly specific, some illustration of recommended initiatives and changes in policy might lend colour to these conclusions.
Eve Poole

Backmatter

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