G20: grow up and remember the poor

Dave Walker at Church Times blog reports on a debate held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London as the G20 leaders gather to meet and discuss the global economy, the environment and other pressing issues:

This morning Prime Minister Gordon Brown took part in the debate at St Paul’s Cathedral that I mentioned in yesterday’s post. The event was chaired by the Bishop of London.


Brown, sharing a platform with Kevin Rudd, his Australian counterpart, said Britain would not shirk its responsibilities to the world’s poor, despite the economic crisis.

The prime minister set out what he saw as the four great global challenges of this generation: financial instability in a world of global capital flows, environmental degradation in a world of changing energy need, violent extremism in a world of mass communications, and a world of growing inequalities.

If these problems are not addressed, they will push the world’s most disadvantaged deeper into poverty, the prime minister warned.

“We must never, ever forget our obligations to the poor,” he said.

Ruth Gledhill reports:

The Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams has just been on the BBC’s Today programme, talking about G20. He wants us ‘to take stock and to say can we at least minimise the damage that’s done to the most vulnerable people.’

He is concerned about a culture where ‘the expression of immediate emotion and the going with immediate instinct is the thing.’ He was referring to the murder of Jimmy Mizen, whose father is filmed here by Sky ‘thanking God’ for his son. ‘People don’t seen to scrutinise their emotions … casual violence on the street. .. we have to rediscover a sense of what it is to be a grown up … rediscover something of what it is to be human,’ he said. His message is not one of despair, but the opposite: ‘Cynicism is one of the worst things that can affect a society.’ Scepticism is healthy, he said, but cynicism assumes the worst and that is nothing we can do about it except throw [things] around in ‘an endless paintballing riot.’

From The Guardian, UK:

Gordon Brown told bankers today they should stop behaving recklessly with other people’s money and should instead uphold values of honesty and fairness.

Brown, speaking to religious leaders and charities at St Paul’s Cathedral two days before the G20 summit, said a key task for the meeting of world leaders was to clean up the global banking system, discredited by the financial crisis and a string of bank bailouts.

“Our task is to bring the imperatives served by our financial markets into proper alignment with the values held by families and business people across our country: hard work, taking responsibility, being honest, being fair,” Brown said.

“Markets need morals,” he added, urging bankers to operate under the same value systems that they would teach their children.

Read more here.

More on religion and the G20 here.

Transcript of ABC and G20 on BBC here.

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