Conference Announcement: Religion and the Recession

For all of our readers in England, the following is an announcement of a conference at which your humble correspondent will be giving a speech on Distributism. Our Capitalist and Libertarian friends will no doubt find it amusing that a conference on this subject should be held in Robin Hood's hometown, but they are welcome to come as well.

Christian Social Teaching and the Politics of Money
An International Conference on Religion and the Recession

University of Nottingham, 9 and 10 July, 2009

In July, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and the Centre of Theology and Philosophy, University of Nottingham, shall be hosting a conference on religion, the Church, and the global recession. Many prominent and international speakers shall be attending, including:

The Archbishop of Granada, Mons. Javier Martínez
The Bishop of Worcester, Rt. Rev. Dr. John Inge
Dr. Peter Selby
John Cruddas MP
Norman Wirza, Duke Divinity School
Stefano Zamagni, Università di Bologna
Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh
John Milbank, University of Nottingham
John Médaille, University of Dallas

Over the past year, fundamental questions have arisen concerning the moral use of money and the potential for alternatives to the prevailing models.

For example, it has been suggested that the economic system commonly referred to as capitalism is secular because it redefines the sacred. Thinkers from Walter Benjamin to Karl Polanyi have argued that the capitalist market economy in general and global finance in particular subordinate the sanctity of life and land to a belief in idealised and abstract commodities.

Christians of different denominations claim that Christian social teaching can help provide answers to these questions, a position that is viewed with scepticism by secular economists, politicians and commentators.

However, a closer examination of these positions shows that each is moving in similar directions: long-term economic security, sustainability, localism, and accountability in the market today. There is thus a clear need for economists, theologians and Church leaders to debate new economic models and to discuss an ethical framework for markets. With this in mind, the conference aims to bring together some of the leading figures in economics and theology, as well as politicians and representatives from other religions.

The working hypothesis of the conference is that there is there is a ‘middle’ position between an exclusively religious and a strictly secular perspective: faith can lead to a strong notion of the common good and a belief that human behaviour, when disciplined and directed, can start to act more charitably. There can also be secular intimations of this: the more faith-inspired practices are successful even in secular terms (more equality, more consensus, more human happiness, a better ecology), the easier it will be for secular institutions to adopt such a regulatory framework without having fully to embrace its religious basis.

All are welcome. For further information, including costs, registration and the full list of speakers, please visit or contact /


Kate Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 12:01:00 PM CDT  

Oh how I wish I could be there! Any rumors of something similar in the U.S.A.? Best wishes for a very successful event!

Al Shaw Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 3:50:00 PM CDT  

This looks seriously good.

By the way, the link to the University of Nottingham is defective.

John Médaille Tuesday, May 26, 2009 at 4:22:00 PM CDT  

Thanks, Atlanticwriter. It wasn't even the right link. It has been corrected.

Tom Laney Wednesday, June 3, 2009 at 7:18:00 AM CDT  

We need a conference like this in Detroit!

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