Prince Charles, Christine Lagarde, Mark Carney: the 10 most important quotes from the Inclusive Capitalism conference

Economics' glitterati (and, er, Prince Charles) wheeled out the soundbites at last night's Mansion House conference - and there are some good 'uns.

by Rachel Savage
Last Updated: 30 May 2014

1. Christine Lagarde started off with some trivia

'Capitalism originates from the Latin "caput", cattle heads, and refers to possessions. Capital is used in the 12th century and designates the use of funds. The term "capitalism" is only used for the first time in 1854 by an Englishman, the novelist William Thackeray—and he simply meant private ownership of money.'

If the etymology of capitalism comes up in a pub quiz, MT knows who to thank...

2. ...jumped on the anti-inequality bandwagon...

'A greater concentration of wealth could — if unchecked — even undermine the principles of meritocracy and democracy. It could undermine the principle of equal rights proclaimed in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.'

Strong words...

3. ...brought out the political big guns...

'As Winston Churchill once remarked, "I would rather see finance less proud and industry more content".'

There’s a Churchill quote for every occasion.

4. ...and hammered her point home with some JFK

'We should not give up just because it is hard. Let me quote John Fitzgerald Kennedy here, who famously said that "we choose to go to the moon not because it is easy, but because it is hard".'

Maybe time to get your own famous quotes, Christine?

5. Philosophy got a look in too

'The ancient philosophers... would have raised the most basic question—what is the social purpose of the financial sector? Or, as Aristotle would have asked: "What is its telos?" He answered his own question: ‘Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking; for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else'."

Or, as The Guardian put it, ‘Someone’s been working overtime in the IMF library.’

6. Phew! Then Mark Carney got polemical about equality

'Inclusive capitalism is fundamentally about delivering a basic social contract comprised of relative equality of outcomes; equality of opportunity; and fairness across generations.'

What is this social contract and where does MT sign up?

7. ... and ignored the fact that globalisation is lifting billions of people out of poverty...

'Returns in a globalised world are amplifying the rewards of the superstar and, though few of them would be inclined to admit it, the lucky. Now is the time to be famous or fortunate.'

Much like yourself eh, Mark?

8. ... then conjured up a rather graphic image...

'Just as any revolution eats its children, unchecked market fundamentalism can devour the social capital essential for the long-term dynamism of capitalism itself.'

MT can’t argue with regulating markets, but it would rather not have nightmares of financiers dining on Kinder.

9. ... and preached

'Financial capitalism is not an end in itself, but a means to promote investment, innovation, growth and prosperity.'

10. Finally, Prince Charles got on his high horse

'The primary purpose of capitalism should be to serve the wider long-term interests and concerns of humanity, rather than the other way around.'

Er - quite.

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