The economy's immoral, people are angry. Now what?

News Analysis

NEW YORK -- Ever since the Great Recession began in the fall of 2008, Christians and other faith leaders have criticized the speculative excess and greed that led to the crisis.

A consensus on what to do about it, however, has yet to emerge.

The parameters of the critique were recently staked out at the Trinity Institute's “Building an Ethical Economy” conference here, at Trinity Episcopal Church in the heart of Wall Street. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams bemoaned the damage that results from “an economic climate in which everything reduces to the search for maximized profit and unlimited material growth.”

Williams focused less on short-term action and more on how communities of faith need to examine language and self-image in order to contribute to building an ethical economy over the long term.

There have been no shortage of suggested solutions. Last July, Pope Benedict XVI proposed a macro solution to the financial crisis, calling for a new world financial order that would reform the United Nations and other international institutions in order to give poorer countries more of a role in international policy.