Daily Archives: September 1, 2009

Gideon Rachman

Over the past few months there has been lots of speculation about whether Tony Blair wants to be “President of Europe” – or, more accurately, president of the European Council. But I think it is increasingly clear what job he would most enjoy – Pope.

Now that he is both retired from politics, a Catholic and head of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, the former PM is giving full expression to his spiritual side. I was struck by this recent article in The Guardian, headlined – “‘Materialism a threat to planet and human identity’, says Tony Blair“. To be fair Blair’s speech to a Catholic conference in Italy (full text, here), covered a lot of ground – from Chinese attitudes to climate change, to globalisation. But there was also a fair chunk about the evils of materialism. Blair insisted: “We only need to contemplate the financial crisis to understand that the pursuit of maximum short-term profit, without proper regard to the communal good, is a mistake and leads to neither profit nor good. Yet, at a deeper level, the case against a purely individualistic or materialistic philosophy has to be made.” Read more

Gideon Rachman

pinn

When the great recession began last year, the fate of Japan was often held up as an awful warning to the west. If the US and the European Union failed to adopt the right policies, it was said, they too might suffer a Japanese-style “lost decade”, followed by years of feeble growth. Read more