Dr John Sentamu was speaking at the launch of his new book Rock Or Sand?: Firm Foundations For Britain's Future when he suggested it was the role of the Church to say what the principles should be.
After several spats with the coalition government in recent weeks Archbishop John accepted that it was "potentially dangerous" for a man in his role to speak about sensitive political issues at the start of an election year.
He said: "This book is not an attack on the Government or the Opposition.
"Anyone who suggests that it is promoting the interests or arguments of one political party or another is both mistaken and missing the point.
"The book is a challenge to everyone about the underlying questions for those contemplating the responsibilities of government at this time."
He added that it was his faith that compelled him to speak out about the inequality and poverty in some parts of Britain.
He spoke to the crowd about the economic crash: "The financial collapse in 2008 should teach us that we were becoming obsessed with money: salaries, bonuses, the cost of houses and expensive luxuries we could live without.
"When money rules, we remember the price of things and forget the value of things. That is a bad mistake.
"The financial collapse happened because people borrowed money they didn't have, to buy things they didn't need, to achieve a happiness that wouldn't last."
He spoke of the "distributing unhappiness" that the consumer society had created.