Wednesday, October 14, 2020

The Dignity of Labor

The Bishops' Justice and Peace Committee held a debate on the topic: The Understanding of Labor in the Post Corona and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. This was written up in the Catholic Times.
What will the church say in the face of the pandemic and human alienation problems caused by the 4th industrial revolution? Bishop, chairman of the Justice and Peace Committee, said in an opening statement: "In the era of technological innovation, Corona 19 and the 4th Industrial Revolution, labor has faced another new situation."
The dignity of the person is lived out in society by the fulfillment of personal responsibilities. Work shapes and fulfills human dignity by providing for the needs of oneself and family. Work belongs to the vocation of every person. This is why it is necessary to rethink the concept of labor today.

Focusing on the concept of labor taught by the church, they examined the meaning of labor today and the direction we need to go.

How has the church's social doctrine understood work? A university professor explained that the church teaching related to labor is divided into two stages. After the Industrial Revolution and before the Second Vatican Council, before and after the 1960s, the rights of workers were stressed, but since then, they have pursued a deeper understanding of labor through the anthropological and theological meaning of work.

One participant stressed the concept of "labor's superiority" through the above two stages of social teaching. In other words, it means that human activities as the subject of labor have a higher priority than the results of technology, capital, and tools. Work is for humans and cannot be vice versa. This concept leads to labor's superiority over capital and the universal purpose of goods over private property.
Mankind's first labor was the creation of God. According to the Second Vatican Council, God created the earth and everything in it for use by all people and all nations. Hence, goods must be returned to all people fairly and abundantly, always accompanied by love. This is why the universal purpose of goods should be superior to private property.
Based on these church teachings: As we face rapid changes due to the 4th Industrial Revolution and Corona 19, human alienation from unemployment is revealed, and there seems to be no other alternative than a redistribution of working hours and extension of labor— social redistribution.
According to the social teachings of the church, fair wages are wages that are sufficient for workers and their families to enjoy a human life. A priest participant stressed that: "social measures such as basic income can restore the personal and subjective character of work, and will help to achieve human self-completion in community and society."

Regarding the role of citizens, one priest said, "It is not only the matter of politicians who move society and make policy decisions. It is important to raise the civic consciousness of each individual so that public interest does not conflict with universal values."

The chairman emphasized: "There is a social atmosphere that takes for granted that the socially underprivileged suffer from intensifying polarization. It is also the role of the church to change this social perception."

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