… and possibly not yet sufficiently clear in posing the question.
In his address to the Heads of State, on the occasion of the anniversary of the process of European integration, of which the EU is so far the highest stage, pope Francis said that
[t]hat spirit remains as necessary as ever today, in the face of centrifugal impulses and the temptation to reduce the founding ideals of the Union to productive, economic and financial needs.
Of course, at first sight most laudable – and having worked many years in the orbit of the EUropean institutions I was very much friend of the idea of rejecting the dominance of the ‘economic thinking’. Who would not welcome and ask for
a new humanism based on three capacities: the capacity to integrate, the capacity for dialogue and the capacity to generate.
Still, there is a bit of a question – some, and not least old and new populists, would formulate it like this: Who will pay for it? From where do we get the resources? And there answer is well known: love it ‘to the other’, those who are outside and should be kept outside, those who are below and are too lazy to step up etc. – It is a it a reversed version of the claim that it should be on earth as it is in heaven (Mathew 6.10)
The other answer is in some way given by Francis, in his already quoted address on the occasion of the conferral of the Charlemagne Prize, where he rightly states:
The just distribution of the fruits of the earth and human labour is not mere philanthropy.
But then he continues, suggesting that
[i]t is a moral obligation
and suggests that
[i]f we want to rethink our society, we need to create dignified and well-paying jobs, especially for our young people.
So, doesn’t he return to square one? – All what follows, all what is linked remains being about the distribution- and details slow reading must make us at least hesitate, if we learn that the ‘new economy’ is about
passing from an economy directed at revenue, profiting from speculation and lending at interest, to a social economy that invests in persons by creating jobs and providing training.
There is a twist in the middle of the thought: first we move to a different direction of the production itself, one that is not
directed at revenue, profiting from speculation and lending at interest
Instead it is about ‘a social economy’; but second we arrive again by being interested in and geared towards the individuals, investing
in persons by creating jobs and providing training.
Of course it is about
access to land and lodging through labour.
And of course
[l]abour is in fact the setting in which individuals and communities bring into play “many aspects of life ….”
But all these aspects have to be thought of in a relational way – would the use of and reference to personalities change the result of the reading?
I do not have the ultimate answer, and there may well be different answers. And it will be even difficult to find a sound formulation of a question. But I still think – and think more and more – that it is the old question, turning full attention to the way in which we deal with
and that means to think further about what may be called “social policy as production”, not as complement and not as supplement and not as value-lead phantom that easily becomes valueless.