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Capitalism on the Edge

Capitalism on the Edge

Former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, will be delivering an address in Cambridge, UK titled ‘Can Capitalism be Ethical?’  His address is part of an ongoing lecture series, sponsored by Murray Edwards College of the University of Cambridge exploring the future of capitalism called ‘Capitalism on the Edge.’  The series has grown out of sense that modern capitalism isn’t delivering on its promise to “lift all boats” and a growing sentiment (Brexit, Trumpism) that the existing neo-liberal economic order is not working for ordinary people.

In the brief description of the series, the college offers; “The level of public trust in the corporate sector is at a low ebb. From the banking crisis, to tax avoidance, to the horrific circumstances about companies of workers in the garment industry in developing countries, there are too many examples where the private sector has not operated in the interests of society, and where its reputation for moral behaviour is severely tarnished. So has capitalism run its course? Or can capitalism change to meet society’s needs?”

Previous lectures have included; Paul Polman (Chief Executive of Unilever) – Can you make capitalism useful for society?, David Pitt-Watson (London Business School) – What they do with our money: what is wrong with the financial system and how to fix it, Frances O’Grady (first women to lead the Trade Union Congress) – Are trade unions essential for reducing income inequality?, Rosamund Urwin (London Evening Standard) and Ben Phillips (ActionAid) –Global and inter-generational inequality, Lord Adair Turner (Institute of New Economic Thinking) – Capitalism and human welfare in the hi-tech/hi-touch world, and Zoë Svendsen (Centre for Science and Policy) and Paul Mason (Channel 4 News) -the relationship between capitalism, consumerism, theatre, and ethics.

The website for the series has a summary of each lecture, a podcast and video as well as a schedule of upcoming lectures.


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John-Julian, OJN

Capitalism’s hope is that most people will never understand its social implications, and so they will tend to “go along” rather than oppose—even if the system is actually harming them. They have never been presented or introduced to any viable alternative. For instance, a good share of Trump’s followers will be seriously economically damaged if he is elected, but they don’t see that—and so it goes on and on……

Rod Gillis

A very sagacious post!

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