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The Church and capitalism

Reflections and Resources compiled by Mission and Public Affairs, Archbishops' Council November 2011

The recent events surrounding the Occupy protest camp in the City of London, and its impact on the life of St Paul's Cathedral, has led to many sharp questions about the Church of England's view of capitalism and about how Christian ethics engages with economic issues.
To ask whether the church is for or against capitalism is to pose the question too starkly - there are many capitalisms and a number of ways to analyse it theologically. We offer here some preliminary thoughts to guide ethical and theological reflection and suggest a number of books which can help in taking the question forward. The writers noted here do not all agree with each other, yet each is seeking to relate Christian thinking to complex phenomenon that is capitalism.

The full document to be accessed here includes reflections on:

  • What is capitalism?
  • Morality and law come first; Capitalism and the State
  • Risks and Rewards
  • Alternatives to capitalism; Economics and models of society
  • Theology and economics; The Church and Capitalism Today
  • The range of Christian views on capitalism
  • A Critique of Capitalism for Today
  • The Bible and Wealth

Resources in the document include lists or links on: 

  • Books which explore the encounter between Christian theology and economic issues in depth.
  • Recent CofE reports and comments on the Financial Crisis including  contributions by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a General Synod debate
  • Books providing an overview of theology and economics
  • Theologians in favour of capitalism
  • Theological Critiques of Capitalism
  • Theology and money
  • The Church of England and Economics 

Dr Philip Giddings, Chair and Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director - Mission and Public Affairs Division