Pope: enterprises should build the common good, focusing on people, and not only the market
Human beings should be at the centre of each enterprise, ““not abstract, idealised, or theoretical human beings, but actual ones, with their dreams, needs, hopes and hard work,” making sure that “Work creates more work; responsibility creates more responsibilities; hope creates more hope, especially for the younger generation, who needs it more than ever."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis met on Saturday with some 8,000 members of Confindustria, he Italian Association of Manufacturing Companies. During his address, he called on them to build "the common good”, and promote a “new humanism of work,” one that does not trample upon people in the name of productivity, but invests in projects for those who are often forgotten or neglected, like “discarded” seniors or young people, whose hopes and dignity is lost to joblessness. In short, they should work for a fairer society, one that is closer to human needs.
Taking his cue from the business group’s notion of "working together", Pope Francis stressed that human beings must remain at the centre of every human enterprise, “not abstract, idealised, or theoretical human beings, but actual ones, with their dreams, needs, hopes and hard work. Work,” he said, “creates more work; responsibility creates more responsibilities; hope creates more hope, especially for the younger generation, who needs it more than ever."
"Working together," said Francis, "inspires to work together, share, and prepare the way for relationships governed by a common sense of responsibility. This paves the way for new strategies, styles, and attitudes. How different our lives would be if we truly learnt, every day, to work, think, and build together! In the complex world of business, ‘working together' means investing in projects that involve people who are often forgotten or neglected.”
“These include families in which the work experience, the sacrifice that sustains it, and the fruits that it produces find meaning and import. Together with families, we cannot forget the most vulnerable and marginalised groups, such as seniors, who may still have resources and energy for active collaboration but are too often discarded as useless and unproductive. And what about all those potential workers, especially the young, who are prisoners of job insecurity or long-term joblessness, and are not called for work that could give them, in addition to a fair wage, the dignity of which they sometimes feel deprived."
“All these strengths combined,” Pope Francis said, “can make a difference for a business which places at its centre human beings, the quality of their relations, and the truth of his or her work to build a fairer world, a world truly for all. 'Working together' means, in fact, organising work not on the basis of the singular genius of an individual, but on the collaboration of the many. It means, in other words, 'networking' so as to give value to everyone’s gifts without neglecting everyone’s uniqueness. Humans should be at the centre of every business, not abstract, idealised, or theoretical human beings, but actual ones, with their dreams, needs, hopes and hard work.”
“Such attention for the actual human being carries with it a series of important choices. It means giving to each his or her own, relieving mothers and fathers of the worry of not being able to give a future, or even a present, to their children. It means knowing how to direct, but also how to share projects and ideas with humility and trust. It means acting in such a way that work creates more work; responsibility creates more responsibilities; hope creates more hope, especially for the younger generation, who today needs it more than ever”.
"You have a noble vocation,” the pontiff went on to say, “directed to producing wealth and improving our world (Laudato si', 129). Hence, you are called to build the common good and promote a new 'humanism of work'. You are called to protect professionalism, and at the same time pay attention to the conditions in which work is carried out, lest it results in accidents and uncomfortable situations.”
“May justice always be your teacher,” Francis noted, “justice that refuses the ‘easy-way-out’ of recommendations and favouritisms, and the dangerous deviations pf dishonesty and easy compromises. May attention for others’ dignity, an absolute and irreplaceable value, always be the supreme law. May this horizon of altruism define your work. It will lead you to refuse categorically the trampling of human dignity in the name of production, which masks personal closemindedness, sad selfishness and thirst for profit. May the enterprises you represent always be open to “a greater meaning in life” for “this will enable them truly to serve the common good by striving to increase the goods of this world" (Ap. Exhort. Evangelii gaudium, 203).
“May the common good be the compass that guides productive activity, so that an economy for everyone may grow for all, and ‘not keep needy eyes waiting’ (Sir, 4:1). This is actually possible, as long as the simple proclamation of economic freedom does not prevail over humans’ actual freedom and rights. May the market not be an absolute; may it honour the demands of justice and, ultimately, human dignity. For there is no freedom without justice, and there is no justice without respect for the dignity of every person.”