"マルクスは正しかった" 英国教会大主教が発言

イギリス国教会の大主教が、マルクスを評価する発言をした、というニュース。

英国の大主教、投機を批判/虚構が生んだ富/“マルクスは正しかった”(しんぶん赤旗)

Spectator紙に載ったというイギリス国教会大主教の発言は、こちら↓。

Face it: Marx was partly right about capitalism | The Spectator

英国の大主教、投機を批判 虚構が生んだ富 “マルクスは正しかった”

[2008年9月27日 しんぶん赤旗]

 【ロンドン=岡崎衆史】米国同様、金融自由化を進めて、今回の金融危機で深刻な被害を受けた英国で、危機を生み出した資本主義の現状を、教会の聖職者が、相次いで批判しました。批判は、マルクスの資本主義分析を一部認めるなど、宗教者としては異例の厳しさとなっています。
 英国国教会の宗教上の最高の地位にあるウィリアムズ・カンタベリー大主教は26日発売の英誌『スペクテーター』に寄稿し、「信じられないほどの富が、同じく信じられないほどの虚構、紙の取引によって生み出されてきた」と述べ、金融取引のあり方に不信を表明。続けて「金融の世界が、監視や規制の対象外に置かれている現状を無期限に維持できるふりをするのは無駄である」「共通の繁栄や安定の土台なくして、投機市場は長期にわたって生き残ることはできない」とし、金融市場を適切に規制し、公共の利益に役立たせなければならないとの考えを示しました。
 大主教はその上で、「マルクスはかつて、自由放任の資本主義が、現実や権力機関を、それ自体は生命を持たない物の属性とし、神話(虚構)をつくりだす方法を見つけだした」「彼はそれについては正しかった」と述べ、マルクスの学説を部分的に認めました。
 英国国教会でウィリアム大主教に次ぐ地位にあるセンタム・ヨーク大主教は24日、ロンドンの金融街「シティー」で、投機家を「銀行強盗」「資産強奪者」と呼んで批判。さらに、「市場システムは取引のルールを不思議の国のアリスから持ち込んだようだ。銀行の株価はその業績にではなく、政府が救済する意欲や、それを発表するかどうかに依拠している」と酷評しました。

マルクスが登場するのは最後の段落。そこで、次のように述べられている。

原理主義は、宗教的な言葉だが、問題の本性に不適当ではない。マルクスはかつて、現実や権力機関をそれ自体としては生命のないものに帰することによって、自由奔放な資本主義というものが1種の神話となって生まれてくる道筋を明らかにした。それについては、彼は正しかった。その他の小さいことを別にすれば。

Face it: Marx was partly right about capitalism

[by Rowan Williams : The Spectator Wednesday, 24th September 2008]

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that the financial world needs fresh scrutiny and regulation. In our attitude to the market, we run the risk of idolatry

Readers of Anthony Trollope will remember how thoughtless and greedy young men in the Victorian professions can be lured into ruin by accepting 'accommodation bills' from their shifty acquaintances. They make themselves liable for the debts of others; and only too late do they discover that they are trapped in a web of financial mechanics that forces them to pay hugely inflated sums for obligations or services they have had nothing to do with. Their own individual credit-worthiness, their own circumstances, even their own personal choices are all irrelevant: the debt has acquired a life of its own, quite independent of any real transaction they are involved in.

A prescient student of Trollope would have seen that he is identifying an endemic feature of the world of borrowing and lending. A lender takes a calculated risk in offering the use of their money to someone else, and rates of interests express the recognition of this — and the rewards that may be secured for taking such a risk. But it is not too difficult to see how the notional gain involved here can be used as security against a further risk. And so the transaction moves further and further from the original transaction with its realistic assessment of levels of risk within the context of measurable standards of credit-worthiness. Any face-to-face element, any direct calculation of what and who is reasonably worth trusting (which assumes some common frame of reference), fades away. Like Trollope's hapless young clerics and feckless young landowners, individuals find that their own personal financial decisions and calculations have nothing to do with what is happening to their resources, in a process for which a debt is simply someone else's wholly disposable asset.

It is a sort of one-syllable nursery parable of what the last couple of weeks have illustrated in the world of global finance and, of course, a reminder that what we have been witnessing is not just the product of a couple of irresponsible decades.

Trading the debts of others without accountability has been the motor of astronomical financial gain for many in recent years. Primitively, a loan transaction is something which enables someone to do what they might not otherwise be able to do — start a business, buy a house. Lenders identify what would count as reasonable security in the present and the future (present assets, future income) and decide accordingly.

But inevitably in complex and large-scale transactions, one person's debt becomes part of the security which the lender can offer to another potential customer. And a particularly significant line is crossed when the borrowing and lending are no longer to do with any kind of equipping someone to do something specific, but exclusively about enabling profit — sometimes, as with the now banned practice of short-selling, by effectively betting on the failure of a partner in the transaction.

This crisis exposes the element of basic unreality in the situation — the truth that almost unimaginable wealth has been generated by equally unimaginable levels of fiction, paper transactions with no concrete outcome beyond profit for traders. But while we are getting used to this sudden vision of the Emperor's New Clothes, there are one or two questions that, in government as in society at large, we at last have a chance to ask. Some of these are elementary and practical. Given that the risk to social stability overall in these processes has been shown to be so enormous, it is no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to. To grant that without a basis of some common prosperity and stability, no speculative market can long survive is not to argue for rigid Soviet-style centralised direction. Insecure or failed states may provide a brief and golden opportunity for profiteering, but cannot sustain reliable institutions.

Without a background of social stability everyone will eventually suffer, including even the most resourceful, bold and ingenious of speculators. The question is not how to choose between total control and total deregulation, but how to identify the points and practices where social risk becomes unacceptably high. The banning of short-selling is an example of just such a judgment. Governments should not lose their nerve as they look to identify a few more targets.

Behind all this, though, is the deeper moral issue. We find ourselves talking about capital or the market almost as if they were individuals, with purposes and strategies, making choices, deliberating reasonably about how to achieve aims. We lose sight of the fact that they are things that we make. They are sets of practices, habits, agreements which have arisen through a mixture of choice and chance. Once we get used to speaking about any of them as if they had a life independent of actual human practices and relations, we fall into any number of destructive errors. We expect an abstraction called 'the market' to produce the common good or to regulate its potential excesses by a sort of natural innate prudence, like a physical organism or ecosystem. We appeal to 'business' to acquire public responsibility and moral vision. And so we lose sight of the fact that the market is not like a huge individual consciousness, that business is a practice carried on by persons who have to make decisions about priorities — not a machine governed by inexorable laws.

And this is part of the same mindset that turns the specific, goal-related transactions of borrowing and lending into a process producing pseudo-things, paper assets — but pseudo-things that (when matters do not go well) cause real and crippling damage to actual persons and institutions. The biggest challenge in the present crisis is whether we can recover some sense of the connection between money and material reality — the production of specific things, the achievement of recognisably human goals that have something to do with a shared sense of what is good for the human community in the widest sense.

Of course business is not philanthropy, securing profit is a legitimate (if not a morally supreme) motivation for people, and the definition of what's good for the human community can be pretty widely drawn. It's true as well that, in some circumstances, loosening up a financial regime to allow for entrepreneurs and innovators to create wealth is necessary to draw whole populations out of poverty. But it is a sort of fundamentalism to say that this alone will secure stable and just outcomes everywhere.

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.

このニュースは、イギリスでは結構大きく取り上げられているようです。

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of Karl Marx -Times Online
Episcopal Life Online – WORLD REPORT
FT.com / Home UK / UK – Canterbury tales
Archbishops of Canterbury and York blame capitalism excesses for financial crisis – Telegraph

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaks in support of Karl Marx

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
[Times Online September 24, 2008]

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has spoken up in support of Karl Marx, defending key aspects of his critique of capitalism.

Dr Williams warns that in the face of the credit crisis, the financial world needs new regulation and says that our society is running the risk of idolatry in its relationship with wealth.

In an article in Friday's Spectator, Dr Williams compares today's debtors and financiers to the feckless young clerics and landowners described in the novels of Anthony Trollope. He writes: "Individuals find that their own personal financial decisions and calculations have nothing to do with what is happening to their resources, in a process for which a debt is simply someone else's wholly disposable asset."

Criticising the practices which involve financial institutions selling debts onto each other, Dr Williams says: "It is no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to."

He calls for a basis of "common prosperity" to be established and suggests that other financial practices besides short-selling should also be banned. "Without a background of social stability everyone will eventually suffer," he warns. "Governments should not lose their nerve as they look to identify a few more targets."

Dr Williams says the crisis is underpinned by deeper moral issues, and the connection between money and material reality has to be re-established.

He concedes that entrepeneurs must be allowed to create wealth to help nations out of poverty. But he argues that it is "a sort of fundamentalism" to say that this is the only way.

"Fundamentalism is a religious word, not inappropriate to the nature of the problem," the Archbishop says "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."

In a separate, video message Dr Williams also pledged the Anglican Communion to continue to work for the eradication of poverty.

Speaking on the eve of the United Nations General Assembly meeting on Millennium Development Goals in New York, Dr Williams said: "Let this meeting in New York be an occasion where the consciences and the hearts of all are truly touched and changed, turned towards the needs of the poorest, turned towards the recognition that we have it in our hands to make a difference."

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu will share a platform with Gordon Brown and Bill Clinton at the UN meeting tomorrow (thurs).

In his prescient encyclical "On Christian Hope" last year, Pope Benedict XVI also addressed Marxist economic theory. "With great precision, albeit with a certain one-sided bias, Marx described the situation of his time, and with great analytical skill he spelled out the paths leading to revolution," the Pope said. "Together with the victory of the revolution, though, Marx's fundamental error also became evident. He showed precisely how to overthrow the existing order, but he did not say how matters should proceed thereafter."

The Pope described Marx's "real error" as materialism: "man, in fact, is not merely the product of economic conditions, and it is not possible to redeem him purely from the outside by creating a favourable economic environment."

ENGLAND: Archbishop of Canterbury quotes Marx on 'unbridled capitalism'

[By Trevor Grundy, Episcopal Life Online September 25, 2008]

[Ecumenical News International, Canterbury, England] Karl Marx, the intellectual father of modern communism, was partly right in his criticism of capitalism, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has said in an article about the crisis hitting the world's financial markets.

"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," Williams wrote in the article to be published in the September 26 edition of the British weekly magazine The Spectator, and also available on the publication's website.

At the same time, the Church of England's second most senior cleric, Archbishop John Sentamu of York, condemned financial traders who had profited from the financial crisis threatening world stability as "asset strippers and bank robbers."

Williams called in his article for tighter regulation of the markets.

"This crisis exposes the element of basic unreality in the situation — the truth that almost unimaginable wealth has been generated by equally unimaginable levels of fiction, paper transactions with no concrete outcome beyond profit for traders," he wrote.

Williams added, "Given that the risk to social stability overall in these processes has been shown to be so enormous, it is no use pretending that the financial world can maintain indefinitely the degree of exemption from scrutiny and regulation that it has got used to."

Sentamu, a former High Court judge in Uganda, told a September 24 meeting of bankers in London that a formal inquiry into the banking and finance industry was needed, and that this should take the form of a judicial review.

"To a bystander like me, those who made 190 million British pounds deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS [Halifax-Bank of Scotland], in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB Bank, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers," Sentamu said.

The comments by the two senior Anglicans came as world leaders were gathering in New York for the general assembly of the United Nations on the Millennium Development Goals.

Sentamu contrasted rescue packages being proposed for the financial sector with a lack of funding for the MDGs, which the U.N. set in 2000 to reduce world poverty and enhance living conditions by 2015.

Canterbury tales

[Financial Times Published: September 26 2008 03:00 | Last updated: September 26 2008 03:00]

Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, is no stranger to controversy. He is, however, not used to being on the right side of public opinion. His attack on modern finance – in which he was joined by Dr John Sentamu, the archbishop of York – has popular support. But that does not mean he is correct.

Dr Williams' is a thoughtful churchman charged with leading the Anglican Church. He has every right to make the case for Christian values. It would be wrong to criticise him for speaking out on matters of public interest – in this case, the corrosive effects of modern capitalism – even when he goes so far as quoting Karl Marx approvingly.

But Dr Williams enters tricky territory when he calls for a figure to emerge to scrutinise modern capitalist "fundamentalism", just as Richard Dawkins has subjected his creed to ruthless scepticism. For neither Dr Williams nor Dr Sentamu have a proper grasp of how modern finance works – nor the degree to which it is already examined by economists, philosophers and the Fourth Estate.

To claim, as both clerics have done, that much modern finance is fiction or fraud is wrong and, more importantly, misleading. Finance allows savers to profit from the growth of the economy. Everything from home-ownership to old age pensions relies on a successful and sophisticated financial sector. An archbishop, of all people, should know that just because you cannot see something, it does not mean that it is not there or that it does not matter.

Dr Sentamu was wrong to join the chorus of abuse for short-sellers, now the UK's most popular pantomime villains. They are clearly not "bank robbers" or "asset strippers". If investors believe a price is too low, they can buy and hold it. If they believe a price is too high, they can sell it short. This interplay is important. Without short sellers, prices will tend to rise too high. There are strong arguments for restraining them under febrile market conditions, but what they do is not wrong or immoral.

Indeed, as the FT reports today, the Church of England has itself contributed to short selling by lending stock from its £5.5bn of funds. The Church Commissioners have also invested funds in Man Group, the largest listed hedge fund manager.

The Church's outburst this week has caught the public mood. But moral outrage is not a serious prescription for policy. The City would be wise to take the initiative, putting its house in order and explaining that risk-based capitalism is not a sin.

Archbishops of Canterbury and York blame capitalism excesses for financial crisis

[Telegraph.co.uk Last Updated: 9:23PM BST 24 Sep 2008]

The two most senior figures in the Church of England have launched outspoken attacks on the excesses of capitalism which they claim have led to the current global financial crisis.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, condemned the financial traders who made millions by driving down the share price of leading banks as "bank robbers and asset strippers".

In a powerful speech to City bankers on the effects of the credit crisis on Wednesday, he denounced the "Alice in Wonderland" world of global finance where short-sellers profited by laying bets that shares in HBOS would fall in price.

Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, warned in a magazine article that modern devotion to the free market is a form of idolatry and that Karl Marx was right in his analysis of the power of "unbridled capitalism".

The pair's attacks came following a tumultuous week in which four major financial institutions went bust or were taken over, triggering multi-billion pound government rescue plans to steady the markets, after traders targeted banks that had been weakened by exposure to unrecoverable mortgage debts and a reduced ability to borrow money.

The billionaire Wall Street hedge fund manager John Paulson was one of those who made money by betting that the share price of HBOS, Britain's largest mortgage lender, would fall. The activities of such short-sellers – now temporarily banned – led to a collapse in the bank's shares last week and it had to be bought out by Lloyds TSB.

Speaking to the Worshipful Company of International Bankers, Dr Sentamu said: "Those who made £190million deliberately underselling the shares of HBOS, in spite of its very strong capital base, and drove it into the bosom of Lloyds TSB, are clearly bank robbers and asset strippers.

"We find ourselves in a market system which seems to have taken its rules of trade from Alice in Wonderland, where the share value of a bank is no longer dependent on the strength of its performance but rather on the willingness of the Government to bail it out, or rather on whether the Government has announced its intentions so to do."

Dr Sentamu will speak in New York on Thursday as the United Nations hosts a summit on the progress made by world leaders to end poverty.

He said one of the "ironies" of the US government's $700billion (£377bn) plan to buy up bad loans from financial firms is that it showed how easily the Millennium Development Goals could be met.

In an article for The Spectator magazine this week, Dr Williams – a self-confessed "hairy lefty" – urges governments to do more to regulate markets.

He said the current crisis had exposed the "basic unreality" of the long-standing global trade in debts, in which "almost unimaginable wealth has been generated by equally unimaginable levels of fiction, paper transactions with no concrete outcome beyond profit for traders".

Because of the risk to social stability created by the financial world, he said, it must be subject to scrutiny and regulation.

Dr Williams said he was not arguing for "rigid Soviet-style centralised direction" but agreed that the ban on short-selling was right and added: "Governments should not lose their nerve as they look to identify a few more targets."

It is a kind of religious fundamentalism to believe the free market will lead to stability and justice, he claimed, and the financial world needs its own equivalents of atheists such as Prof Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens.

Dr Williams went on: "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.

"Ascribing independent reality to what you have in fact made yourself is a perfect definition of what the Jewish and Christian Scriptures call idolatry."

Despite the Archbishops' criticisms of the capitalist system, the Church of England has billions of pounds of its wealth invested in the stock market and earlier this year disclosed a record return of more than 9.4 per cent.

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  1.  「宗教は麻薬(アヘん)だ」、と宣言したマルクスを評価するとは、なんと言う時代の変化でしょう。
     おおむね正しいとは認めつつも、「そのほかのすこしの点が・・・」というあたりに含みがありますね。

  2. 森下さん、コメントありがとうございます。

    もちろん、大主教さんの発言ですから、マルクスの宗教批判や共産主義は認めないぞ、ということなのでしょう。そういう立場の人物であっても、マルクスの資本主義批判は認めざるを得ないというところに、この発言の“事件性”がある訳です。

    ところで、「宗教はアヘンだ」というマルクスの発言について、これをマルクスが宗教撲滅を主張したものであるかのように誤解されている方が多いので、ちょっと一言。

    これは、1844年に発表されたマルクスの論文「ヘーゲル法哲学批判序説」に出てくる言葉です。そこでマルクスは、次のように言っています。

     宗教的な惨めさは、現実の惨めさの表現でもあるし、現実の惨めさにたいする抗議でもある。宗教は、なやめる被造物〔人間のこと〕のため息であり、心なき世界の心情であるとともに、精神なき〔geistlos〕状態の精神〔Geist、霊〕でもある。それは民衆のアヘンである。
     民衆の幻想的幸福としての宗教を廃棄することは、民衆の現実的幸福を要求することである。ある状態についての幻想の廃棄を要求するというのは、幻想を必要とするような状態の廃棄を要求することである。したがって、宗教を批判することは、萌芽的には、宗教がその後光となっている現世を批判することである。(『マルクス・エンゲルス全集』第1巻、415ページ。一部改訳)

    これを読めば、「宗教は民衆のアヘンである」という言葉も、“宗教はアヘンのように撲滅しなければならない”と主張したものではなく、宗教を慰めとして現実の悲惨さに甘んじてしまうような現実をなくさなければならない、という趣旨で述べられたものであることは、明らかです。

    「ヘーゲル法哲学批判序説」も、ドイツ社会の現実を批判するために、それを神聖化し、神々しくみせている宗教と、それの哲学的形態であるヘーゲル法哲学を批判しなければならない、ということで書かれたものです。

    マルクスの世界観は唯物論で、世界観としては宗教的世界観と対立していますが、しかし、宗教撲滅を主張したものではありません。

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