Friday, March 30, 2012

On the Dignity of the Businessman

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has released the document "Vocation of the Business Leader."  I have just scanned  it, but it looks very interesting. Samuel Gregg, reviewing the document in the Corner, indicates some of the key themes:

"The first is that business is not a necessary evil or a mere means to an end. Business, the Note states, is a vocation. It is “a genuine human and Christian calling”from God and therefore an opportunity to engage in human flourishing. This point has been made in a round-about way by popes. Never, however, has a Curial text spelt out in so much detail the potential nobility of life as a business leader. Business, the Note states, makes “an irreplaceable contribution to the material and even the spiritual well-being of humankind.” That’s very powerful language. Not only is business the normative means by which many of our material needs and legitimate desires are satisfied. It’s also a sphere in which people can acquire virtues."

Some excerpts form the document:

"The vocation of the businessperson is a genuine human and Christian calling. Its importance in the life of the Church and in the world economy can hardly be overstated. Business  leaders are called to conceive of and develop goods and services for  customers and communities through a form of market economy. For such economies to achieve their goal, that is, the promotion of the  common good, they should be structured on ideas based on truth, fidelity to commitments, freedom, and creativity."


"Business leaders have a special role to play in the unfolding of creation—they not only provide goods and services and constantly improve them through innovating  and harnessing science and technology, but they also help to shape organisations which will extend this work into the future..."

I especially liked this, about the educative function of work. Their first full-time job is where young people really enter into society, and a hardworking and honest boss can be a wonderful teacher:

"When managed well, businesses actively enhance the  dignity of employees and the development of virtues, such as  solidarity, practical wisdom, justice, discipline, and many  others. While the family is the first school of society,  businesses, like many other social institutions, continue to  educate people in virtue, especially those young men and  women who are emerging from their families and their  educational institutions and seeking their own places in society..."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

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