With this last issue on work we come to the question of justice in all that concerns work: the one doing the work—the worker; what is done or made—the labourer’s work; and the one on the receiving end—the consumer. With seminal texts from Charles Péguy and St. John Paul II’s Laborem excercens, this issue seeks to show how Catholic Social Doctrine (CSD) gives us the “big picture” in our own time. Russell Sparkes provides an exciting vision of how the United States may be the new testing ground for G.K. Chesterton’s distributist ideas, while a review of Lewis Hyde’s modern classic The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World allows us to think about a deeper idea of the exchange of “goods.” We look at the place of the family in the economy, and what counts for “family friendly” tax policies in the new US tax reform bill. Economist Ernie Tedeschi’s piece makes the facts and figures of the current administration’s policies clear.
Looking at the question globally, Edward Hadas, a seasoned financial analyst, offers a discussion of the “lights and shadows” of the modern workplace. The author of our witness piece gives us an example of the “lights” in her work with micro-loans in South Asia. Ultimately, we need to shift the cultural emphasis away from instrumentalist aims, as Russell Muirhead’s book, Just Work, demonstrates.
Indeed, in his last book, Not as the World Gives, our much-missed founding editor Strat Caldecott insisted that the CSD centers ultimately on something beyond this world, whilst still affecting it. This theme also emerges in Dorothy Day’s Peter Maurin: Apostle to the World. For the Catholic Worker Movement, change at the “structural level” necessarily involved personal sanctity. As this New Year unfolds, we hope that you will come away from the current issue of Humanum with renewed hope that we can find genuine solutions to the wounds which prevent human beings from coexisting creatively and justly as we go about our work.
And for light relief, take a look over at our ArteFact section, where Sally Read revives a classic novel, Clare Kipps’ Sold for a Farthing, and Leonie Caldecott reviews an Argentine movie about the simple life: Lighthouse of the Orcas.
Be sure to look for our next issue, the first of a four-part series of the theme of the body.
Read the full issue on the Humanum site.
Issue highlights include:
Edward Hadas, “Lights and Shadows of Modern Labour“
Amie Sarker, “Ground Level Initiatives: The Micro-Finance Experience“
Brian Rottkamp, “The Injustice of Family Breakdown“