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Developed for a formation class for the Catholic diaconate, this is an overview of "Human Work," the 6th chapter of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

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  1. 1. Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church Chapter 6: Human Work Archdiocese of Atlanta Diaconate Social Justice Formation 2010
  2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Work = Vocation = Means of Sanctification </li></ul><ul><li>Industrial Revolution  Alienation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Rerum Novarum (1891) - Key to Social Question </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dignity of Work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Right to Work </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rights of Workers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>New Global Order </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Alienation: Old and New Sources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Human Dignity/Solidarity Must Be Prioritized </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Work As Vocation
  4. 4. The Meaning of Work <ul><li>Work represents a fundamental dimension of human existence as participation not only in the act of creation but also in that of redemption . Those who put up with the difficult rigours of work in union with Jesus cooperate, in a certain sense, with the Son of God in his work of redemption and show that they are disciples of Christ bearing his cross, every day, in the activity they are called to do. In this perspective, work can be considered a means of sanctification and an enlivening of earthly realities with the Spirit of Christ.Understood in this way, work is an expression of man's full humanity , in his historical condition and his eschatological orientation. (§263) </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ New Things” Arise: A Spirit of Revolutionary Change For centuries the Church’s message was addressed to agricultural societies . . . . Now the Gospel had to be preached and lived . . . in the tumult of social events . . . taking into account . . . the exploitation of workers brought about by the new industrial organization. (§267)
  6. 6. Work Becomes Alienating <ul><li>A sense of alienation and loss of their own humanity has made people feel reduced to the role of cogs in the machinery of production and consumption and they find no way to affirm their own dignity as persons made in the image and likeness of God. (§374) </li></ul>
  7. 7. A Challenge to the Church “ It is true that labour produces for the rich wonderful things – but for the worker it produces privation. It produces palaces – but for the worker, hovels. It produces beauty -- but for the worker, deformity. It replaces labour by machines, but it throws one section of the workers back to a barbarous type of labour, and it turns the other workers into machines. It produces intelligence – but for the worker, stupidity, cretinism.” ( Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts , 1844) &quot;Law, morality, religion, are to him so many bourgeois prejudices, behind which lurk in ambush just as many bourgeois interests.&quot; ( Communist Manifesto , 1848) “ What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.” ( Communist Manifesto , 1848)
  8. 8. Rerum Novarum (1891): The Catholic Social Tradition <ul><li>Challenges moral failures of economic system </li></ul><ul><li>Church stands for dignity/rights of workers </li></ul><ul><li>Repeatedly updated and broadened </li></ul><ul><li>Work as key to the whole social question </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Not just for economic development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cultural and moral development of humanity </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Key Principles <ul><li>Dignity of Work </li></ul><ul><li>Right to Work </li></ul><ul><li>Rights of Workers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conditions - Compensation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Organization and Solidarity </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The Dignity of Work <ul><li>Issue : human labor is viewed only on the basis of its economic purpose. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Workers are factors of production. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No different than capital and natural resources . </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Response : work is a fundamental part of human existence. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Objective vs. subjective dimensions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worker is primary, work is secondary. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Priority of labor over capital. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Right to Meaningful Employment <ul><li>Issue : Unemployment and underemployment arise naturally, too often involuntarily. </li></ul><ul><li>Response : Unemployment is the opposite of a right and just situation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work is necessary for human development. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This need implies a right to a job. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Government should set policies/establish conditions for full employment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Policies should promote family stability, dignity of women, protection for children and immigrants. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Just Wages and Working Conditions <ul><li>Issue : Many persons work under unacceptable employment conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Response : True measure of an economic system is how work is rewarded. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Voluntary” transactions not necessarily fair or just. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workers must be paid a “just wage.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social policies should include “redistribution of income.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workers also have “rights” to certain benefits. </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The Right to Join a Union <ul><li>Issue : Individuals often lack the power to assure proper working conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Response : To secure well-ordered conditions, workers have a right to unionize. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strikes are legitimate, with some exceptions. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unions must work for the common good, not against those who own capital. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unions should not be closely aligned with parties. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unions should address needs of non-traditional workers. </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. New “New Things” of World of Work The phenomenon of globalization is one of the most important causes of the current change in the organization of work. This phenomenon brings about new forms of production where plants are located away from where strategies are decided and far from the markets where the goods are consumed. . . . This entails a fundamental consequence for processes of production, as property is ever further removed and often indifferent to the social effects of the decisions made. (§310)
  15. 15. A Globe Divided Hyderabad, India. Construction workers live in tents and huts on site of new office complex where employees of Western companies work. - DaveWilson Photography
  16. 16. Alienation, Old and New <ul><li>One must not fall into the error of thinking that the process of overcoming the dependence of work on material is of itself capable of overcoming alienation in the workplace or the alienation of labour. The reference here is not only to the many pockets of non-work, concealed work, child labour, underpaid work, exploitation of workers — all of which still persist today — but also to new, much more subtle forms of exploitation of new sources of work , to over-working, to work-as-career that often takes on more importance than other human and necessary aspects, to excessive demands of work that makes family life unstable and sometimes impossible, to a modular structure of work that entails the risk of serious repercussions on the unitary perception of one's own existence and the stability of family relationships. (§280) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Origin of the New Alienation <ul><li>Production has become fragmented. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[P]hysical fragmentation of the cycle of production [is] promoted in order to obtain greater efficiency and greater profits . ( §311) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work often involves service rather than production. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Work, above all in the economic systems of the more developed countries, is going through [a] passage from an industrial-type economy to an economy . . . built on services and technological innovation . ( §313) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work is unstable and uncertain. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The transition currently underway signals the move from dependent work with no prescribed time limit, understood as a stable job, to a series of jobs characterized by many kinds of work activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This uncertainty and instability involve not only the labor conditions of workers in more developed countries but affect . . . above all, . . . developing countries and countries with economies in transition . ( §314) </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Alienation on Both Sides of the Divide <ul><li>In the Developing World </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In developing countries . . . there has been an expansion in recent years of “informal” and “hidden” economic activities. . . . [T]he significant increase in job opportunities in the context of such activities is owed to the lack of specialization in a large segment of the local work force and to disorderly growth in formal economic sectors. Large numbers of people are thus forced to work under seriously distressing conditions and in situations that lack the rules necessary for safeguarding workers' dignity. ( § 316) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>In the Developed World </li></ul><ul><ul><li>If people are alienated when means and ends are inverted, elements of alienation can also be found in the new contexts of work that is immaterial, light, qualitative more than quantitative . . . “through increased isolation in a maze of relationships marked by destructive competitiveness and estrangement .” ( § 280) </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. How Do We Solve the Problem? <ul><li>Reassert Dignity of the Person </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Given these impressive “new things” in the world of work, the Church's social doctrine recommends first of all to avoid the error of insisting that the current changes take place in a deterministic manner. The decisive factor and “referee” of this complex phase of change is once more the human person, who must remain the true protagonist of his work . He can and must take on in a creative and responsible fashion the present innovations and re-organizations, so that they lead to the growth of the person, the family, society and the entire human family. (§317) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Build Solidarity Among People </li></ul><ul><ul><li>[N]ew forms of solidarity must be envisioned and brought about, taking into account the interdependence that unites workers among themselves. (§319) </li></ul></ul>
  20. 20. Globalization: Challenge and Opportunity Technology may be the instrumental cause of globalization, but the universality of the human family is its ultimate cause. The negative aspects of the globalization of work must not damage the possibility opening up for all people: that of giving expression to a humanism of work on a planetary scale, to solidarity in the world of work on this same level, so that working in similar contexts, spread throughout the world and interconnected , people will understand ever better their one, shared vocation . (§322)
  21. 21. One Shared Vocation?
  22. 22. Inspired by and based in part on Centesimus Annus: On the Hundredth Anniversary of Rerum Novarum The work of Dr. Robert DeFina Economics Department Villanova University