A Church of England report published on Monday warns that the morality of City bankers and traders has worsened since the Big Bang 25 years ago and many financial institutions’ gestures towards corporate social responsibility are little more than public relations and spin….
In his introduction to the report, the Rev Giles Fraser, who resigned as canon chancellor 10 days ago in opposition to the cathedral’s threat to evict the protesters, warns ethical standards have deteriorated now traders and bankers no longer deal with clients face to face and transactions are computer-based, so personal links and responsibilities are lost.
He accuses City firms of supporting photogenic “kids and orchestras” charities as ways of winning favourable publicity.
In a lecture on Sunday at BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking Festival in Gateshead, to be broadcast the following night, Fraser said individualism in Britain has gone too far, causing people to lose all sense of belonging to the wider community.
The lecture, partly written before the St Paul’s crisis and not directly addressing it, says: “The paradox of freedom is that those who struggle for the unencumbered life, those who seek only to be free of any sort of constraint can readily end up living with an empty freedom that narrows one’s life to a succession of individual choices which actually feel anything but free.
“Our individualistic culture has gone too far … We need to recall where we have come from and not fall for the foolish false wisdom that we can simply reinvent ourselves through some superhuman act of choice. We need to value and nurture those communities that sustain us morally.