05/09/2012, 00.00
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Catholic business people: work for man's dignity, against crisis

by Thanh Thuy
In 2003, a Catholic business association was set up on the initiative of Saigon cardinal. Since then, the group has created jobs and generated wealth. The president of the Quang Minh Coop is a member of the association. His enterprise, which is open to Catholics and non-Catholics, employs 100 people in workshops and 3,000 at home, with US$ 3 in turnover.

Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) - In a world economy characterised by high levels of unemployment, job loss and poverty that drive people to kill themselves, Catholic business people in Vietnam have offered themselves as a point of reference for the kind of development that can sustain society and man. Brought together in 2003 by an initiative of Card Jean Baptiste Phạm Minh Mẫn, archbishop of Ho Chi Minh City, they set up an association whose membership reaches many of the nation's dioceses, including Hanoi. Their Catholic faith together with private enterprise can be a model of development that goes beyond the quest for money and wealth, providing instead a work ethic that improves life and enrich the faith through the participation of non-Catholics and charitable organisations.

At present there are more than 300 Catholic entrepreneurs and businessmen of the former Saigon who have become members. Their initiatives of solidarity and communion are made in collaboration with Caritas and other NGOs active in social work and support to urban poor. Solidarity, sharing problems, do not, however, prevent businessmen from doing business and achieving success.

This is the case of Cao Dũng Khanh, president of the cooperative Quang Minh, now considered- according to the 2011 ranking - among the 100 the most powerful and influential men in the country. Founded in 2003, the company has created a series of workshops that have been able to offer a hundred jobs and external collaboration contracts to more than 3 thousand workers. In the eight years of activity, all workers have received a regular salary in the national average, which has allowed them to support their family and ensure the right to education of their children. Today the products are for the overseas market and has an annual turnover in excess of three million dollars.

But what matters most is the human value: all entrepreneurs gathered in the association of Christian inspiration offer work to Catholics and non-Catholics, as revealed by Mr. Huy, an employee of the Quang Minh cooperative who does not profess the Catholic faith, "Catholic leaders and co-workers are friendly, good-hearted - the man told AsiaNews -. And it's easy to have a 'common voice' in the interests of labor. This is an essential factor in promoting inner strength, giving rise to a circle of solidarity at work and thus contributing to the success of the cooperative. "

Since 1987, when the communist government opened up the market economy, private businesses today are an essential resource for Vietnam, and can offer employment and wealth. Today, however, because of the global economic crisis and a mismanagement of resources, at least 50 thousand activities among small and medium-sized enterprises are at risk of bankruptcy or have closed their doors. And despite an export volume amounting to 24 billion dollars in the first quarter of 2012, predictions for the future are bleak because of the macro-economic imbalances, distortions in production, trade and transaction costs. This is compounded by the limbo in which the country, is suspended between the old "statist" and communist system and capitalist-style market economy.



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