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Finance, economics, and contemporary poverty

16 August 2013


From Mr Malcolm Dixon

Sir, - Bishop Peter Selby ( Comment, 9 August) gives a good explanation of the virtues and limitations of credit unions but, in his criticism of the Government and of banks, he has allowed hyperbole to get the better of him.

Does he really believe that the Government has deliberately set out "to punish the poor for being poor"? Also, while commercial banks undoubtedly make a profit from lending money, they do not create that money or debt. Only central banks, which are an arm of government, have the power to create money, and they have been doing so assiduously in recent years.

In older and wiser times, our Government kept a strict control of the amount of credit existing in the financial system, and the relaxation of that credit control could be considered a tragedy ranking with the demutualisation of the building societies, which Dr Selby rightly condemns.

If the "massive quantity of debt" is the real issue, as Dr Selby implies and I certainly believe, then he should be criticising previous governments for allowing that debt to build up, and the present Government for not doing more to prevent that debt from getting larger.

26 Tubbenden Drive
Orpington, Kent BR6 9PA

From the Revd Richard Adams

Sir, - The Revd Dr Martin Dudley ( Letters, 26 July) is right to draw attention to the excellent social responsibility and charitable work done by (often quite senior) workers in the City of London. He misses, however, the essential point that the Revd Dr William Campbell-Taylor was making (News, 12 July): namely, that the increasing emphasis in the City's culture on profit at all costs has distorted the values of that culture to the point that the working ethos has become detached from other moral imperatives. This renders the description of "dark" forces correct.

It does not mean that there are not well-intentioned people working there who try to live Christian lives; but it does mean that the "spirit of the City" tries to avoid all social responsibility, including paying fair taxes. Thus the burden of taxation falls more on individuals, in an ongoing global social trend in which individuals are more and more heavily watched and regulated, and large corporations less and less so.

Tros y Mor, Llangoed
Beaumaris, Anglesey LL58 8SB

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