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Financial institutions' power must be curbed, says Welby

31 January 2014

SHUTTERSTOCK

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed concern about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other intergovernmental organisations, warning that "power has to be constrained", given human fallibility.

In an interview with Financial Management  magazine, published next month and trailed in The Observer  on Sunday, Archbishop Welby was asked whether institutions such as the IMF had a part to play in creating a more ethical economy.

"That assumes they know the answers to what is a more ethical, sustainable, global economy," he said. "There is very little evidence of that being the case."

They were, he conceded, "a part of the answer... but the history of central planning and government wisdom says that they need to be only a part, not the [whole] answer. The fallibility of human beings and thus of human institutions is a necessary part of understanding any governance structure and any centre of power. Power has to be constrained."

Archbishop Welby, who wrote a dissertation at theological college, "Can Companies Sin?", warned that "the problem is when global markets cease to serve the common good and become an end in themselves."

Christian charities have spoken out against the IMF and the World Bank in recent years. The Jubilee Debt Campaign has argued that "IMF-imposed austerity" has failed to reduce the debts of developing countries, while "increasing poverty dramatically in Europe" (News, 11 October).

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