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The Church and Socio-Economic Life

On Wednesday 6 June, at a seminar hosted by the member of the Academy, the economist Oleg Bogomolov, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church’s Department for Church and Society, stated that Capitalism in its present form is signing its own death warrant: ‘It is now time for us to pass moral judgement on modern Capitalism, on the contemporary world economic system. This is not the first time that Christian circles have issued such a verdict, including those circles that historically, according to Weber, were the spiritual founders of Capitalism’.

The seminar focused its activities on the prospects for the convergence of different socio-economic systems in a globalising world. In Fr Vsevolod’s view, neither modern Capitalism nor the return of Soviet ideology ‘can confront the great challenges now facing mankind’. He noted that the basis of the modern global economic system is the principle of ‘money makes money’ and that this notion is deeply immoral: ‘Free market Capitalism is doomed to commit suicide, either it will cease to be Capitalism, or else it will cease to be free market. It is no coincidence that today’s crisis is pushing the global élite into implementing a programme to control the chaos, a scenario of global electronic dictatorship, in which the total surveillance and control of all aspects of human life would be accompanied by a uniform ideological monopoly’.

Fr Vsevolod believes that when Russia looks for possible paths of development for itself and for the world, it should not reject any possibility, ‘whether an Elected or Hereditary Monarchy, a convergence of Capitalism and Socialism, a Parliamentary Republic, or a strengthened Presidential State’. In his opinion we must be able to listen to people to develop meaningful guidelines, ‘so that we can embrace those that would lead us to victory and avoid rules that would lead us to defeat. Russia has always had strong central government, with a lot of power concentrated in the hands of the Sovereign. Whether we like it or not, this gives first place in the social hierarchy to the Sovereign over the economic actors in society. Even more so, it does not grant credence to any informal centre of power, whether it is a criminal gang or some self-proclaimed group of ‘wise men’’.

6 June 2012


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