Economic Crisis and the Christian Conscience

The Crisis of European Capitalism and the Challenge to the Churches
15 January 2013
Paper

To which aspects of this crisis should Germans and especially German Christians be most attentive? What would be the right policies to escape from the debt crisis which has been allowed to fester and is now five years old?

Paulskirche, Frankfurt, 18 October 2012
Contribution from Susan George to the Conference “Hope and Resistance”

Please let me first thank the organisers for inviting me to speak at this timely and important event. I’m most honoured to be here with you all.

In this brief contribution, I would like to begin with the nature of the crisis—where it came from and why. Second, I will ask if the sovereign debt crisis that has engulfed so many European countries is something new or, instead, more of the same. Finally, I will try to single out the aspects to which it seems to me Christians, and above all German Christians, should be particularly attentive.

Where did the crisis come from?

Let’s first establish that “crisis” is not at all the correct word for what we’ve been suffering in Europe for nearly six years. A “crisis” in Greek means a point of decision, of bifurcation, when one must choose to go one way or another. In a serious illness, the crisis is the point at which the patient either lives or dies. Like everyone else, I use the word but let’s recognise its deficiencies—we are in a chronic situation of recession and considerable pain for a great many Europeans.

To read the full speech, download the paper.

Courtesy of German Christians in Frankfurt for allowing us to publish this speech.

Illustration by Andyluke