Is it Possible to Build a Common Good With Money? (12/5/16)


Is it Possible to Build a Common Good With Money?

For videos click on links below, also find a link to audio of the whole event and biographies of speakers.

This event on 12 May 2016, was part of our residency at St Michael's Cornhill in the week of 9-13 May 2016

The City of London is a formidable generator of wealth, and is the main driver of our national economy. But given its relationship with globalised capital, how accountable is our most ancient democratic city, and how can its inheritance be a blessing to all of London and the country?

In the Judeo-Christian traditions, making money is an honourable occupation with a legitimate purpose when it builds the Common Good, the energy and jobs that create the conditions in which everyone prospers. But public trust is low and there is concern even within the financial sector that the vices outweigh the virtues.

This debate provides an opportunity to consider the possibilities for doing good in business while also maintaining a healthy bottom line. 

Speakers: Lord Maurice Glasman - Labour Peer, Community Organiser, Founder of Blue Labour and the Common Good Foundation. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO; Professor Philip Booth - Academic and Research Director, Institute of Economic Affairs, Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics, St Mary's University Twickenham. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO. The text of Philip's talk was published on the IEA Blog - click here; Moderator: Dr Eve Poole - Lecturer and writer in leadership, ethics, spirituality, capitalism and theology.


The highlights from the discussion were:

  • Financial systems should acknowledge human failings, incentivise good behaviour and remove incentives to cheat
  • Regulation and government-driven safeguards negate the need for prudence, with emphasis shifting to maximising returns
  • Demutualisation has led to a demoralised, commodified workforce, which needs to be countered through democratisation - including a cross-section of employees on company boards is one way to do this.
FOR AUDIO OF WHOLE EVENT CLICK HERE - NB apologies for echo due to church acoustics.
We also held an event the previous night, 11 May at 7.30pmA Balance of Interests: Britain, the EU and the Common Good - with speakers: Dr Jonathan Chaplin, Peter Smith and Caroline MacFarland, Director, CoVi (Common Vision). Moderator: Dr Eliza Filby.
We had a prayer installation for the common good in the church throughout the week. We are grateful to our sponsors CCLA and the Social Stock Exchange, and to CoVi for filming the events. 


Philip Booth is Academic and Research Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs and Professor of Finance, Public Policy and Ethics at St. Mary's University, Twickenham. From 2002-2015 he was Professor of Insurance and Risk Management at Cass Business School. Previously, Philip Booth worked for the Bank of England as an advisor on financial stability issues, was Associate Dean of Cass Business School and held various other academic positions at City University. He has written widely on investment, finance, social insurance and pensions as well as on the relationship between Catholic Social Teaching and Economics. Philip is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries and has previously worked in the investment department of Axa Equity and Law. Philip is a contributor to Together for the Common Good: Towards a National Conversation (Eds Sagovsky/McGrail, SCM 2015).

Lord Maurice Glasman is an English academic, social thinker and Labour life peer in the House of Lords. His interests focus on the relationship between citizenship and faith and the limits of the market and the state, expressed in the terms of Blue Labour, a term he coined in 2009. He is a key contributor to Blue Labour: Forging a New Politics (Eds Geary/Pabst I.B.Tauris 2015). A leading proponent of community organising, he was closely involved in London Citizens for over ten years, particularly in the genesis of the Living Wage campaign. He is the author of Unnecessary Suffering (1996) and was formerly a senior lecturer in Political Theory at London Metropolitan University, as Director of its Faith and Citizenship Programme. As the founder of the newly formed Common Good Foundation, he has a long standing expertise in Catholic Social Thought, and has been an invited guest at the Centesimus Annus Foundation in Rome. Lord Glasman is a contributor to Together for the Common Good: Towards a National Conversation (Eds Sagovsky/McGrail, SCM 2015) and was a speaker at the first Together for the Common Good Conference in 2013

Dr Eve Poole read Theology at Durham, before working for the Church Commissioners. She left to study full-time for an MBA, then became a management consultant with Deloitte, where she specialised in the financial services industry. In 2002 she joined the faculty at Ashridge Business School, to teach leadership and ethics. She has a Cambridge PhD in Theology and Capitalism. Eve is Chair of Faith in Business at Ridley Hall and Chair of the Board of Governors at Gordonstoun. She is also an Associate Research Fellow at the William Temple Foundation. Her books include The Church on Capitalism and Ethical Leadership (with Carla Millar), both Palgrave 2010. Her most recent book Capitalism’s Toxic Assumptions was published with Bloomsbury in March 2015. Follow Eve on Twitter @evepoole.

Click here for details of the T4CG book, Together for the Common Good: Towards a National Conversation