Photo by Andrew Magill

A moment's thought may have led you to think that speaking of the markets doing this or that is just shorthand for speaking of people choosing to buy or sell things. So "a downturn in the markets" or "market collapse" would mean that people are choosing to act in ways that have direct and often predictable consequences for other people.

But no! If you thought that, you were thoroughly mistaken. The markets (rather, the Markets) are self-governing and inflict themselves on us in often capricious ways. And lo, we have sinned against the Markets and must repent.

So here I offer a prayer of confession that we can recite to the Markets.*

Almighty and most merciful Markets,
We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sources of woollen garments,
We have followed too little the devices and desires of our own hearts,
We have offended against thy materialist laws,
We have left unborrowed those things which we ought to have borrowed,
And we have bought only those things which we needed to buy,
And there is no debt in us;
But thou, O Sovereign, have mercy upon us, miserable consumers;
Spare thou them, O Gold, which confess their defaults,
Restore thou them that are penniless,
According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Henry, our Ford:
And grow, O most merciful Markets, for our sake,
That we may hereafter live a greedy, irresponsible and profligate life,
To the increase of our eternal prosperity.

* with apologies to Thomas Cranmer, and thanks to Phil Walker for various improvements.