The Archbishop of York has criticised the growing divide between high and low earners and asked whether it is right that bankers "who helped cause the economic crisis" should "rake in massive bonuses".
Dr John Sentamu said: "Let us not be a society that knows the price of everything and value of nothing."
Writing in the Yorkshire Post today, the archbishop said the UK needs a "sustainable steady economy in which the emphasis is placed on greater equality".
Dr Sentamu said: "Can it be right that public sector workers, and those who work in British industry, face losing their jobs when those high earners in the banking sector who helped cause the economic crisis not only keep their jobs but rake in massive bonuses?
"We have created a situation where many people live in relative poverty while others have far more than they can ever hope to spend.
"In fact, the divide between the wages of the rich and the poor is growing in nearly all of the world's leading economies.
"It doesn't have to be this way."
He pointed to the paradox of people suffering the "devastation of unemployment" with a society in which many people are overworked.
And the archbishop also contrasted growing homelessness with estimates of a million empty homes across the country.
Dr Sentamu said: "Difficult choices have to be made but people and justice must be at the centre of all decision-making in our country.
"When we forget the importance and worth of every single member of society, we have forgotten what is means to be human."