The British parliamentary commission investigating the Libor rate-fixing scandal and other banking misdeeds has recently been handed a mission from God. Investigators requested a public comment period about Libor goings-on, and received—among many others—input from the Church of England, which calls on financial industry officials to repent.
The Wall Street Journal’s Total Return Blog reports that in its submission to the committee, the church points out that banking is necessary for society to flourish, but that banks in recent years “have been championing a free market ideology whilst claiming exemption from its rigors”—leading the financial sector to violate “some of the fundamental principles of the free market economy,” including open competition, the freedom for banks to launch and fail, and “independence from external subsidy.”
“Those violations of the principles of capitalism—combined with enormous bailouts and massive bonuses awarded for failure—have shattered the public’s trust in the integrity of bankers, says the statement from the church,” according to the blog.
While the violations are decidedly of this world, the church’s recommended solutions are not.
“In response, the church’s statement says, the financial industry must look within and search its soul,” the blog reports, before waxing, “if it has one—but we editorialize.”