First, Andrew says he does not see why we need a universal account of how we can sustain our institutions.
Margaret Thatcher set out her vision of a rich civil society in her speech to the Church of Scotland. Hers was an explicitly religious appeal. The challenge I set myself was to achieve the same purpose without recourse to religious obligation. This is not to say that the religious approach is wrong, but I think there is value in meeting John Rawls' idea of "public reason". This is to say that we should try wherever possible to explain our policy in terms which all members of our society can agree on and do not rely on any personal sources of reason, such as religious conviction.
The speech was offering a non-religious account of civil society, but it was definitely not anti-religious. In truth, a lot of the equilibria in our society rely on ethical pressure coming from Christianity. The established Churches are vital institutions who play an enormous part in our society and whose moral senses are important far beyond their congregations. Far from suggesting we could ever change the established religion, this research programme emphasises how difficult it would be, and how important the Churches are!
Second, Andrew notes that I did not attempt to explain which equilibria were good and which were bad. But this was not a speech aiming to solve every question. I was trying to use some of the insights from game theory to understand civil society. There are obviously arguments about the values which should inform our civil institutions. Those are ideas which I have contributed to in the past, and hope to do so again.
We want a dynamic, low-tax economy which has a strong community life. I am confident that this research programme will help us get there.