Saturday, October 29, 2011

The primacy of Labour

In a recent speech held in Rimini on 28th October, Cardinal Bagnasco, a conservative and influential member of the Catholic Church, affirmed that the State has the duty to intervene to create job opportunities. He said: "”In the shadows of the non-working , confidence and self-esteem are severely threatened, and serenity to the future is not. For all these reasons, the State has the delicate and onerous duty to provide access to employment opportunities in different areas, taking into account all circumstances, however, that unusual, such as those that the world is experiencing, require an update of mentality and ability to ”renewal. (...) Without decent employment, the man hardly able to measure his personal capacity, to establish collaborative relationships with others, to contribute to the achievement of social good, to feel part of the building in the world, to perceive its dignity in earning honorable bread for themselves and their loved ones". 

The archbishop of Genoa has insisted on the work as " a right and duty of every person, the primacy of man at work, and the primacy of labor over capital, without labor". It‘s undeniable- he added – that all human activity, and then the work takes place within the culture and interacts with it, and then between economy and culture, there is a reciprocal relationship, but must remain firm and clear the primacy of culture, if you do not want to enter the jungle of a market without rules because without values.

Every man  of good will and respectful of human dignity should subscribe to these words. In fact, many constitutions recognize that work is a right and its primacy over capital. This is the legacy of Europe's culture and ideas on labour and value developed by Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx. 

Today's world is characterized by an increasing antagonism between labour and capital. Governments failed to address social inequalities while maintaining privileges for the rich. That unsustainable situation gave rise to the explosion of anger of the young generations and revived social conflicts in our societies. The Church's message on the priority of labour is a key component of its social doctrine and has been subject to academic discussion.  But now it has to be understood and turned urgently  into concrete measures of social justice and equity for the vast majority of men and women. 

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