Page last updated at 18:32 GMT, Saturday, 7 March 2009

Church calls for 'just' recovery

Dr Rowan Williams
Dr Williams argued countries needed to join together to share profit and risk

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for governments to adopt "ethical global policies" to help their countries out of recession.

Richer countries should not rebuild economies at the expense of the poorest, Dr Rowan Williams warned.

In a speech he asked for a "rejection of protectionism", avoiding increasing taxes on imports or restricting trade with less developed countries.

Patience was needed to achieve a strong global economy long term, he said.

During his lecture on Ethics, Economics and Global Justice in Cardiff, Dr Williams said: "Practically, protectionism is another instance of short-term vision, securing prosperity here by making prosperity impossible somewhere else.

It is about negotiating conditions in which the most vulnerable are not abandoned

Dr Rowan Williams

"In a global context, this is inexorably a factor in ultimately shrinking potential markets."

"It is about negotiating conditions in which the most vulnerable are not abandoned," he added.

Countries needed to trust each other and needed to join together to share risk and profit as an "essential element in the equitable securing of wealth for all," he said.

Bankers have been criticised by some parts of the Church for pursuing "ruthless gain" and bringing on the recession.

But Dr Williams said that the current problems "go deeper" than an "accumulation of individual greed exemplified by bankers or brokers".

He also likened spending in a recession to addicts re-using drugs and said he thought financial deregulation, increased spending and borrowing contributed to the problem.

"Moral indifference, institutional crisis and market failure" had all acted as catalysts for the current situation, he said.

Dr Williams also urged for environmental impact to be taken into consideration as well as monetary cost during plans for an economic rebuild.

"It has to be factored into economic calculations as a genuine cost in opportunity, resource and durability - and thus a cost in terms of doing justice to future generations."

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