Collective greed is taking Britain on a suicidal path which will end in disaster, Dr Lesslie Newbigin, the head of the United Reformed Church, said last week.
He told a meeting of the Church's executive committee that Britain's increased wealth over the last 25 years was based on "the cultivation or gluttony as the primary virtue upon which society depends." The unceasing stimulation of consumer demand was, in effect, the worship of false gods, he said.
Dr Newbigin called for a more just distribution of wealth and more realism in recognising that the limits of political choice were very narrow. He said: "The 25 year period in which there has been an unprecedented growth in the economy of the rich nations has created the illusion that a steadily rising standard of living is something to be expected as normal.'
"This illusion can only lead to disaster. No government can satisfy the expectations thus created. No economic order can be devised which will ensure for the people of Britain full employment, free collective bargaining and a rising standard of living for all."
He went on to say that the rise