September 26, 2008

Archbishops lash out at financial traders

by David Masters

Archbishops Rowan Williams and John Sentamu, the two most senior leaders in the Church of England, have vented their anger at the city traders responsible for the recent financial crises.

Writing yesterday in the Spectator magazine, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams condemned financial traders who practice short selling, and pushed for the government to properly regulate the financial sector.

Williams attacked the paper transactions of banks that merely create profit for traders.

He called the banking system a kind of mythology in which people invest their faith – uncritically assuming that it is there to work for the good of all people.

He added that when trading goes wrong, as it has in the past few months, it causes damage on a global scale.

Williams’s comments followed a speech by his colleague, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, who on Wednesday defamed short sellers that drove down the share price of HBOS as bank robbers that strip companies of their assets whilst receiving millions of pounds in bonuses.

Sentamu, speaking at the Worshipful Company of International Bankers’ annual dinner, compared the financial sector’s rules of trade with Alice in Wonderland.

He said that the US government’s £378 billion bailout of its financial industry is ironic in that it makes action on poverty look achievable.

The lives of six million children, Sentamu said, could be saved by just five billion US dollars.

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