I have been both a central banker and a market regulator. I now find myself questioning whether my early career, largely devoted to liberalising and deregulating banking and financial markets, was misguided. In short, I wonder whether I contributed – along with a countless others in regulation, banking, academia and politics – to a great misallocation of capital, distortion of markets and the impairment of the real economy. We permitted the banks to betray capital into â??hopelessly unproductive worksâ??, promoting their efforts with monetary laxity, regulatory forbearance and government tax incentives that marginalised investment in â??productive worksâ??. We permitted markets to become so fragmented by off-exchange trading and derivatives that they no longer perform the economically critical functions of capital/resource allocation and price discovery efficiently or transparently. The results have been serial bubbles – debt-financed speculative frenzy in real estate, investments and commoditiesâ?¦. While the problem is usually expressed as one of confidence, a more honest conclusion is that credit extended in the past has been employed unproductively and so will not be repaid according to the original terms. In other words, capital has been betrayed into unproductive works. The credit crunch today is not destroying capital but recognising that capital was destroyed by misallocation in the years of irrational exuberance. If that is so, then we are entering a spiral of debt deflation that will play out slowly for years to come.
London Banker

Every independent civil society organisation has a right to maintain its identity and mission

A coherent idea of discrimination requires a substantive account of justice, and that includes defining what legitimate rights individuals and organisations actually possess. All British citizens properly possess the prima facie individual right not to be discriminated against – in matters like employment, housing and social services – on grounds of race, gender or sexual orientation. This is because these involuntary markers of identity are completely irrelevant to such matters. I said “prima facie” because even here there exist widely recognised and uncontroversial exceptions, often arising from the rights of organisations. A rape crisis centre surely has the right to discriminate against men when hiring its counselling staff (perhaps any staff). An African-Caribbean community centre obviously can’t be compelled by law to hire a white guy like me as its director. The Labour party is evidently entitled to discriminate on ideological grounds in hiring its research staff. These are all examples of what the law calls a “genuine occupational requirement” (GOR). The idea is simple and compelling: every independent civil society organisation has a prima facie right to maintain its identity and mission by hiring staff who will support the distinctive purposes of the organisation and uphold its raison d’être. This isn’t a “privilege”, as is often tendentiously suggested, but merely a condition of meaningful self-government. Why then cry foul when religious organisations exercise their right to invoke the GOR provision? Why single them out and deny them the same rights enjoyed by others?

Jonathan Chaplin The Equality Bill must not be used to undermine the right of religious organisations to govern themselves

Jonathan Chaplin is director of the Kirby Laing Institute of Christian Ethics, which is related to Tyndale House, in Cambridge. We need an Institute of Christian Ethics, or even of Christian Theology and Ethics, in London. I think it should look something like this and hold conferences like this one.

Worship & Eucharist 1.1 Gathering – In One Place

1. The Church is gathered
Every Sunday morning Christians gather together in worship. What are they doing in Church? What is happening in these worship services? Why do they meet and pray and sing? We are going to look at what is going on in Church.
We go to Church. We are called together and we come together. We leave our homes and offices to join this gathering. We are roused out of our everyday existence, drawn away from our computer, car and sofa to join these people. On Sunday morning we leave home and journey through these streets in order to come together with all the other members of our Church. We get up the steps and into the church, go down the aisle and take our places next to each other.

As we arrive we start singing. Our service begins with a hymn or a song. We are a pilgrim people who sing on their way, and the first hymn is our song for the journey. We sing because we celebrate as we make our way to the house of God. The Lord has called us together and gathered us here. He has invited us so he is our host and we are his guests. As we journey out of our homes, down the pavement to church, we are drawn into this gathering and we are glad and so we sing songs of praise that anticipate our worship together. Anyone can come in listen and join in. The invitation is general, so every church service is public. The whole community around the Church knows that it can go. Imagine that the Church stands in the middle on marketplace, and that it has no walls, but takes place in the open air so everyone can watch and can hear what is going on, or they can keep their distance, as they wish.
There’s more here…