Sunday, June 17, 2007


Papal Nuncio to the U.N. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi gave an address to the U.N. International Labor Conference on June 13 which contained the following recommendations:

The Vatican, he said, strongly supports the work of employees, employers and governments to Make “decent work for sustainable development a collective goal” for the international community and national programs.

“Work, enterprise and the global arena of financial investments, trade and production should be rooted in a creative, cooperative, and rule-based effort at the service of the human person, of every man and woman, and of their equal dignity and rights,” the Vatican nuncio said. “It is the human dimension of work that needs to be valued and protected; moreover, an enabling environment must be created so that personal talents are invested for the common good.”

Archbishop Tomasi pointed to changes in the financial, technological and communications world that have “transformed the face of work and the conditions of the labor market,” noting though that international community is evolving under the weight of an aging population in some areas, the gap between needed skills and lack of needed training, growing outsourcing, multinational relationships and the demand for greater flexibility and market mobility.

As well, he said, there is a trend “to favor more individualistic relations between enterprise and employees,” which can work against worker solidarity. “Although workers may no longer find themselves in physical proximity with each other, solidarity remains crucial and indispensable if founded on our common humanity that links all types of work.”

Globalization of work today allows the worker to reach out to others connected in labor and in service to the whole human family,” the Vatican nuncio said. “Through his work a person is opened to an increasingly universal dimension and, in this way, can humanize globalization and thus, by keeping the human person at the center of this process, can provide an ethical measure against its negative aspects.”

Yet, exploitation of the worker becomes a greater threat, he said, pointing to demands of “overwork, excessive flexibility and stiff competition that make family life and personal growth impossible.”

We need these things. It's easy to see the outline of distributivism in his comments. But his comments sound like pie in the sky when compared to what has recently been discovered in China according to an article sent in by Steve Dalton:

Su Jinduo and Su Jinpeng, brother and sister, were traveling home by bus from a vacation visit to Qingdao during the Chinese New Year when they disappeared.

Cheated out of their money when they sought to buy a ticket for the final leg of the journey home, their father, Su Jianjun, said in an interview, they were taken in by a woman who provided them with warm shelter and a meal on a cold winter night. She also offered them a chance to earn enough money to pay their fare by helping her sell fruit.

The next thing they knew, however, they were being loaded onto a minibus with several other children and taken to a factory in the next province, where they were pressed into service making bricks. Several days later, the boy, 16, escaped along with another boy and managed to reach home. A few days later, Mr. Su was able to rescue his daughter, 18.

This story and many others like it have swept China in recent days in an unfolding labor scandal in central China that involves the kidnapping of hundreds of children, most in their teens but some as young as 8.

Continue reading the article...

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