Skip to content

What does a just economy look like? One bishop reflects

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

By CNA
9/3/2019 (2 weeks ago)
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)

The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development called on Catholics to reflect this Labor Day on Catholic Social Teaching and its implications for building a more just economy.

Economy

Economy

Highlights

By CNA
Catholic Online (https://www.catholic.org)
9/3/2019 (2 weeks ago)

Published in Business & Economics

Keywords: labor, Washington DC


Washington D.C., (CNA) - The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development called on Catholics to reflect this Labor Day on Catholic Social Teaching and its implications for building a more just economy.

In the Christian view, "workers and owners both have rights and duties towards each other; a business enterprise must view itself as a 'society of persons' rather than a mere commercial instrument," said Bishop Frank Dewane of Venice in a statement dated Sept. 2.

The bishop called for an economy that values the human person and the dignity of work over the profit and capital. He emphasized that Catholic social teaching does not hold a "just wage" to be merely synonymous with a free market wage.

"Today's economy, if measured by the stock market, has the most money and wealth it has ever had, and unemployment is around the lowest it has been in fifty years," he said.

"And yet, roughly four in ten Americans cannot afford an unexpected $400 bill, and would fall below the poverty line after three months without income. More than one in five jobs in the United States is in a low-wage occupation where the median wage pays below the poverty threshold for a family of four. Real wages have been largely stagnant for decades, and workers' share of the fruits of the economy has been declining for decades."

Dewane reflected in his Labor Day message on the "Bishops' Program for Social Reconstruction," released 100 years ago by the body of U.S. bishops that preceded the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Many of the considerations in the Bishops' Program, raised shortly after World War I, are still valid today, the bishop said.

The Bishops' Program of 1919 voiced serious concern about monopolies, highlighting the principle of solidarity and stressing the state's authority to step in when monopolies interfere with healthy development.

"New research suggests that anticompetitive behavior from employers has resulted in lower wages in many labor markets, particularly for lower wage workers," Dewane said.

"In theory, low unemployment should raise wages, but recent research suggests that this may be offset by the increasing concentration of employers - in other words, fewer numbers of employers are employing larger shares of the labor force, giving employers greater power to keep wages down."

Countering these trends will require a cooperative effort, the bishop said. State and federal government should act to prevent anticompetitive behavior that leads to lower wages, and unions should track and report such behavior. Business leaders consider workers when making merger decisions.

As an alternative to monopolies, Dewane pointed to employee ownership as a positive model, in which workers can access the fruits of the companies they work for and participate in management.

"Recent research has shown the great benefits of employee ownership to workers, including higher wages than otherwise comparable firms, more stable employment, more job training opportunities, opportunities to participate more in firm decision-making, better benefits, and much more wealth over the course of one's career (this holds true for low- and moderate-income workers as well)," he said.

"The advantages of worker ownership are especially pronounced for young people, women, and people of color."

Models of employee ownership include Employee Stock Ownership Plans and cooperative enterprises, the bishop said, pointed to the latter as being "expressly favored in the Church's teaching."

Lawmakers should consider tax incentives to encourage greater levels of worker ownership, Dewane said, and business owners should consider this model for the good of their employees. Consumers can also support companies that use employee ownership models, and they can support the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which helps workers achieve employee ownership.

The bishop also praised unions as a means for workers "to negotiate for just wages, benefits, and working conditions, and to look after the rights of vulnerable workers, including those with injuries and disabilities." He noted the vocal support of unions by Pope Leo XIII and his successors.

Ultimately, Dewane said, "no merely technocratic policy changes will bear the fruit that is so desperately needed today."

He called on Catholics to turn to "the treasury of the Church's social teaching" to consider new ways to promote justice for workers.

---


'Help Give every Student and Teacher FREE resources for a world-class Moral Catholic Education'


Copyright 2019 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK


Comments


More Business & Economics

Judgment reached in Knights of Columbus contract lawsuit Watch

Image of Knights of Columbus

A federal jury concluded Thursday that the Knights of Columbus breached a verbal contract with a technology company that hoped to become a ... continue reading


What does a just economy look like? One bishop reflects Watch

Image of Economy

The head of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development called on Catholics to reflect this Labor Day on Catholic ... continue reading



Why organized labor is (still) a Catholic cause Watch

Image of Labor movement

At a time when labor unions are weak, Catholics still have a place in the labor movement, said a priest who emphasized the Church's ... continue reading


Businesses beware! The IRS will tax robots too Watch

Image of A popular meme suggests rising wages are the cause of automation, but in reality automation is inevitable.

Businesses looking to robots to automate labor might have to think again, the IRS wants a cut.  LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - ... continue reading


Recessions looms in the USA, what will that mean for Catholics? Watch

Image of With a recession looming, what does that mean for Main Street?

Recession warnings are flashing on the stock market with the yield-curve inversion and other indicators showing signs that a recession will ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Information
Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Services
Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on catholic.org

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Education
Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Socials
Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.