School of Theology and Seminary Faculty Publications

Human Work in Catholic Social Thought

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Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Economics | Ethics in Religion | Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences


In Catholic Social Thought, work is at the center of issues related to morality and economic life. It is simultaneously objective and subjective. Workers are the real agents of production, and therefore labor should have priority over capital. The able-bodied have a moral obligation to work to obtain the things they need, but everyone has a claim on the basic necessities of life. Hence the property claims of the well-to-do are not to exclude the poor from what they need. The property-right claim of stockholders depends on the firm serving work and the interests of workers. In unions, workers' natural right to form associations aligns with the right to participate in decisions affecting their lives. Numerous groups and organizations have some degree of complicity in workplace injustice and some degree of responsibility to address it.


Also published as a book chapter:
Finn, Daniel. "Human Work in Catholic Social Thought." In Two Views of Social Justice: A Catholic/Georgist Dialogue, edited by Kenneth R. Lord, 178-89. Malden, MA: Wiley Blackwell, 2012.

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