Laudato Si on Why the Church is Not Robin Hood

Laudato Si on Why the Church is Not Robin Hood June 23, 2015

It turns out that alms for the poor are “provisional”.  The real goal is that the poor have access to work at a living wage.  The real thieves are not the poor seeking a living wage, but those who downsize them, underpay them, and (for a crowning insult) blame them as lazy for being unemployed):

We were created with a vocation to work. The goal should not be that technological progress increasingly replace human work, for this would be detrimental to humanity. Work is a necessity, part of the meaning of life on this earth, a path to growth, human development and personal fulfilment. Helping the poor financially must always be a provisional solution in the face of pressing needs. The broader objective should always be to allow them a dignified life through work. Yet the orientation of the economy has favoured a kind of technological progress in which the costs of production are reduced by laying off workers and replacing them with machines. This is yet another way in which we can end up working against ourselves. The loss of jobs also has a negative impact on the economy “through the progressive erosion of social capital: the network of relationships of trust, dependability, and respect for rules, all of which are indispensable for any form of civil coexistence”.[104] In other words, “human costs always include economic costs, and economic dysfunctions always involve human costs”.[105] To stop investing in people, in order to gain greater short-term financial gain, is bad business for society.

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  • The highest barriers to gainful employment are minimum wages, workplace regulation, and a social safety net that deliberately eliminates any support for anyone trying to set foot on a path to self-sufficiency.

    • Marthe Lépine

      Wrong! Among the highest barriers to gainful employment are the “profit over people” mentality and the worship of the market.

      • Making a profit for the employer is nearly always his sole reason for hiring you. If somebody is trying to live his dream of serving people with a given sort of business (e.g., getting paid for feeding them or fixing their roof), and he has hired me to help, and I am making it *harder* for him to do so, then he ought to fire me.

        And if he has to pay $10/hr to keep me working, when what I can do for him is only worth $6/hr (or less; I might be a disadvantaged black youth), then he’s far better off not hiring me in the first place. If he hires a bunch of people and pays them more than they make for him, he goes out of business and we all lose our livelihood.

      • Have you ever talked to anyone who makes decisions about when it’s feasible to hire people, about the sort of questions they ask themselves, and what sorts of answers lead them to say “Not hiring now.”