LABOREM EXERCENSE(On Human Work)RS HISTORICAL CONTEXTIn his first encyclical addressing social issues LaboremExercens (On Human Work) Pope John Paul II . Enciclica Laborem exercens. Main Author: Chiappetta, Luigi. Related Names: John Paul II Pope Language(s): Italian. Published: Napoli: Edizioni dehoniane, c Subjects. Sobre el trabajo humano (Laborem exercens) / Juan Pablo II ; autor, Equipo DEI “Texto completo de la enciclica ; un comentario desde América Latina.”.
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Catalog Record: Sobre el trabajo humano (Laborem exercens) | Hathi Trust Digital Library
In order to meet fxercens danger of unemployment and to ensure employment for all, the agents defined here as “indirect employer” must make provision for overall planning with regard to the different kinds of work by which not only the economic life but also the cultural life of a given society is shaped; they must also give attention to organizing that work in a correct and rational way.
Within the sphere of these principal rights, there develops a whole system of particular rights which, together with remuneration for work, determine the correct relationship between worker and employer. Enciiclica, merely converting the means of production into State property in the collectivist system is by no means equivalent to “socializing” that property. They embrace equally the past ages of civilization and economy, as also the whole of modern reality and future phases of development, which are perhaps already to some extent beginning to take shape, though for the most part they are still almost unknown to man and hidden from him.
Laborem exercens begins with a scriptural argument that work is more than just an activity or a commodity, but an essential part of human nature. This traditional patrimony was then inherited and developed by the teaching of the Popes on the modern “social question”, beginning with the Encyclical Rerum Novarum.
Everything should be done-and certainly much is being done to this end-to exercwns this material evil from causing greater moral harm; indeed every possible effort should be made to ensure that it may bring benefit to the emigrant’s personal, family and social life, both for the country to which he goes and the country which he leaves. Laborem exercens concludes with a section regarding the importance of work to Christian spirituality.
This is true in all the many meanings of the word. This is an advantageous and positive phenomenon, on condition that the objective dimension of work does not gain the upper hand over the subjective dimension, depriving man of his dignity and inalienable rights or reducing them.
Laborem exercens – Wikipedia
Social and socioeconomic life is certainly like a system of “connected vessels”, and every social activity directed towards safeguarding the rights of particular groups should adapt encuclica to this system. Man has to subdue the earth and dominate it, because as the “image of God” he is a person, that is to say, a subjective being capable of acting in a planned and rational way, capable of deciding about himself, and with a tendency to self-realization.
This is true in countries which have completed a rxercens process of industrial revolution. In the normal course of events this reality fills human life and strongly affects its value and meaning.
It only means that the primary basis of tbe value of work is man himself, who is its subject. Christian tradition has never upheld this right as absolute and untouchable.
Therefore, while the position of “rigid” capitalism must undergo continual revision, in laborrem to be reformed from the point of view of human rights, both human rights in the widest sense and those linked with man’s work, it must be stated that, from the same point of view, these many deeply desired reforms cannot be achieved by an a priori elimination of private ownership of the means of production.
It can be a question of general unemployment or of unemployment in certain sectors of work.
While in the present document we return to this question once more-without however any intention of touching on all the topics that concern it-this is not merely in order to gather together and repeat what is already contained in the Church’s oaborem. The vital interests of enciflica workers are to a certain extent common for all of them; at the same time however each type of work, each profession, has its own specific character which should find a particular reflection in these organizations.
Having thus conflrmed the personal dimension of human work, we must go on to the second sphere of values which is necessarily linked to work. All this pleads in favour of the moral obligation to link industriousness as a virtue with the snciclica order of work, which will enable man to become, in work, “more a human being” and not be degraded by it not only because of the wearing out of his physical strength which, at least up to a certain point, is inevitablebut especially through damage to the dignity and subjectivity that are proper to him.
For instance the highly industrialized countries, and even more the businesses that direct on a large scale the means of industrial production the companies referred to as multinational or transnationalfix the highest possible prices for their products, while trying at the same time to fix the lowest possible prices for raw materials or semi-manufactured goods. This is a fact that without any doubt demonstrates that both within the individual political communities and in their relationships on the continental and world level there is something wrong with the organization of work and employment, precisely at the most critical and socially most important points.
Catalog Record: Sobre el trabajo humano (Laborem exercens) | Hathi Trust Digital Library
Opposition between labour and capital does not spring from exercenss structure of the production process or from the structure of the economic process. When dealing with human work in the fundamental dimension of its subject, that is to say, the human person doing the work, one must make at least a summary evaluation of developments during the ninety years since Rerum Novarum in relation to the subjective dimension of work.
These truths are decisive for man from the very beginning, and at the same time they trace out the main lines of his earthly existence, both in the state of original justice and also after the breaking, caused by sin, of the Creator’s original covenant with creation in man.
In view of this situation we must first of all recall a principle that has always been taught by the Church: Mater et magistra Pacem in terris. The same error, which is now part of history, and which was connected with the period of primitive capitalism and liberalism, can nevertheless be repeated in other circumstances of time and place, if people’s thinking starts from the same theoretical or practical premises. Each and every individual is at the same time embraced by it. This society-even when it has not yet taken on the mature form of a nation-is not only the great “educator” of every man, even though an indirect one because each individual absorbs within the family the contents and values that go to make up the culture of a given nation ; it is also a great historical and social incarnation of the work of all generations.
Instead, we must leave the context of these issues and go back to the fundamental issue of human work, which is the main subject of the considerations in this document.
This conflict, interpreted by some as a socioeconomic class conflict, found expression in the ideological conflict between liberalism, understood as the ideology of capitalism, and Marxism, understood as encivlica ideology of scientiflc socialism and communism, which professes to act as the spokesman for the working class and the worldwide proletariat.
It had become customary for popes to publish new writings on social issues at ten-year intervals since Rerum novarumin order to keep the teachings relevant to the current times. The Church’s teaching has always expressed the strong and deep convinction that man’s work concerns not only the economy but also, and especially, personal values. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them.
On the world level, the development of civilization and of communications has made possible a more complete diagnosis of the living and working conditions of man globally, but it has also revealed other forms of injustice, much more extensive than those which in the last century stimulated unity between workers for particular solidarity in the working world. In doing this we must always keep in mind the biblical calling to “subdue the earth” 14in which is expressed the will of the Creator that work should enable man to achieve that “dominion” in the visible world that is proper to him.