To be fair to the Archbish he's not saying anything unreasonable, repeating what many more qualified writers have said elsewhere over the past week or so – there's been a lack of regulation, banks have played with large-scale debt solely for their own gain, it's the ordinary people who will suffer in the end. But it's the last paragraph of his piece that will really raise eyebrows, where he likens the trust people have placed in the power of the "market", as if it has a life of its own, to a kind of economic fundamentalism, and suggests that in his critique of capitalism Karl Marx may have had a point:
"Fundamentalism is a religious word, not inappropriate to the nature of the problem. Marx long ago observed the way in which unbridled capitalism became a kind of mythology, ascribing reality, power and agency to things that had no life in themselves; he was right about that, if about little else. And ascribing independent reality to what you have in fact made yourself is a perfect definition of what the Jewish and Christian Scriptures call idolatry. What the present anxieties and disasters should be teaching us is to ‘keep ourselves from idols’, in the biblical phrase. The mythologies and abstractions, the pseudo-objects of much modern financial culture, are in urgent need of their own Dawkins or Hitchens. We need to be reacquainted with our own capacity to choose — which means acquiring some skills in discerning true faith from false, and re-learning some of the inescapable face-to-face dimensions of human trust."The phrase "In urgent need of their own Dawkins or Hitchens" also caught our eye. Could Williams be suggesting the New Atheists have played a valuable role in critiquing certain other "mythologies and abstractions"?
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has also weighed in on the issue, saying "We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland."
Taking your rules from stories? Whatever next.