St Paul's Institute

[Event Series] The City and the Common Good: What kind of City do we want?

by St Pauls Institute

Posted: 15 Feb 2013

"What life have you if you have not life together?
There is no life that is not in community..."  TS Eliot

The response to on-going financial instability has moved well beyond regulatory reform and is increasingly focusing on issues of culture, purpose, identity and meaning. We know we are about more than making money, but why does it so often not seem that way? 

After four years of discussion about what has gone wrong and who might be responsible, and an unprecedented level of regulatory reform, there is now a call for step changes that will reinforce a culture of integrity and prudence and ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of the recent past. But if we are to discuss the individual steps, do we not first need to talk about our objectives: what kind of 'City' do we want?

Held in conjunction with CCLA, this significant series of three debates held in 2013 under the dome at St Paul's probed key issues that underlie the report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Banking and the wider financial sector.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, adds that: "In the end, what will make the most difference to the impact of the financial services sector on our society and our economy are the decisions people working in them make. So we need to work to develop good habits, patterns of virtue that serve the rest of society, in our banks."

This series of events was Chaired by Stephanie Flanders, BBC Economics Editor.

A summary report of this series is available for download here.

Good People
11th April 2013 - 6.30pm

Vincent Nichols - Archbishop of Westminster (Keynote)
Tracey McDermott - 
Director of Enforcement and Financial Crime, FCA
Peter Selby - St Paul's Institute, former Bishop of Worcester
Helena Kennedy - Queen's Council, Baroness Kennedy of The Shaw

In our relations with friends and family we reckon to know what goodness is and how it informs our lives. In the context of the 21st century market place, what does it mean to be a good person and contribute to the common good?

A transcript of Archbishop Vincent Nichols' keynote speech is available here.

Full video of the event is available to view here.

Good Money
7th May 2013 - 6.30pm

Robert Skidelsky - Lord Skidelsky, Economic Historian (Keynote)
Tarek El Diwany - Senior Partner, Zest Advisory LLP       
Ann Pettifor - Director of PRIME (Policy Research in Macroeconomics)
Paul Sharma - Deputy Head of the Prudential Regulation Authority

If the influence of money over us is unavoidable, how can we ensure that the results are positive? Does the issue go beyond our attitude to money to the nature of money itself? Is there such a thing as 'good' and 'bad' money? Is it just the 'love of money' we must guard against, or has something happened to money itself?

A transcript of Lord Skidelsky's keynote speech is available here.

Full video of the event is available to view here.

Good Banks
12th June 2013 - 6.00pm

Justin Welby - Archbishop of Canterbury (Keynote)
Antony Jenkins - 
Group Chief Executive, Barclays
John Fingleton - Fingleton Associates, former Chief Executive of the Office of Fair Trading
Laura Willoughby - CEO, Move Your Money  

(Please note that Shirley Williams is no longer able to participate in this event)

The relationship between banks and society has been described in the aftermath of the financial crisis as a 'social contract', but what is the objective of the contract? What is the purpose of banking and how do we foster a culture that helps that purpose be realised?

A transcript of Archbishop Justin Welby's keynote speech is available here.

Full video of the event is available to view here.

About this author

St Paul's Institute seeks to foster an informed Christian response to the most urgent ethical and spiritual issues of our times: equality, stewardship, and the meaning of the common good.

Trina Hardiman - Posted: 07 May 2013

I am so pleased that this is being debated in a public forum by respected people. The issues of money, our perspective on it and how we allow its lure to affect our moral judgement are urgent in our current society. We all must take responsibility for our stance on the lifestyle we choose to create for ourselves and how much money we need to sustain it, and what we are willing to do to supply ourselves with it. I look forward to reading the transcripts of the debates.

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