In order to achieve an economy with a human face, it is necessary to answer some fundamental questions related to economic life through the perspective of human dignity and the common good.
Why should we produce?
According to the social doctrine, the goal for the economy is the satisfaction of human needs understood in its big sense: material, cultural and spiritual needs.
The economy should serve our human development. The economy is betrayed when it’s made for profitability, accumulation or the growing by growth itself.
What should we produce?
There should be produced all those goods which were allowed by the resources in order to satisfy people needs. The production of some goods is, therefore, more important than the production of others.
We have to prioritize real needs. That is the minimum of justice due to every human being. There are preferent needs.
How should we produce?
We have to produce in a way where people are respected as subject and purpose of production itself. A person is never an instrument. An economy can’t serve human beings when it turns those into instruments or it subordinates those to any other value of production.
There are several implications.
The scientific and technical progress can never be above the human being. It must always exist to help people, never to replace them.
Productive efficiency can never be above the person when we talk about production organization. Rights of people have to be respected in their jobs.
The primacy of the person over capital has to be respected. It is immoral to put things above people. Responsibility for nature care has also to be respected. It is immoral to produce whilst destroying natural resources which are of all and for all.
The property has to be guided by the right of all to use the common goods.
At last, every one of us should participate as a subject in both the production process and the economic activity. People have to be always subjects of the economic activity.
How should we distribute the goods produced?
Distribution cannot be left at mercy of market mechanisms nor particular interests. We have to point distribution to the searching for the common good in order to better answer to all humans needs, especially to answer the impoverished people needs. Distribution has to search how to overcome the unfair inequalities.
How should we consume?
According to the social doctrine, the way we consume goods is a fundamental element of economic life because the consumption is closely attached to the use of goods and to the link between the being and the having.
Our society is tending to some sort of dehumanizer consumerism. On one side, it radically changes the order of values and the being is subordinated to the having. People are easily enslaved by things. On the other hand, consumerism supports the unfair inequalities when it leads to a feckless consumption where the neighbor needs are not considered.
The consumption has to be responsible and it has to lead us to the primacy of the being over the having. The consumerism represents a big immorality because it leads to waste resources when a lot of people is struggling just to survive and because it destroys natural resources without care.
We must emphasize and give prominence to the primacy of man in the production process, the primacy of man over things.
S. John Paul II, Laborem exercens n.12
What changes do you think we must insert in economic performance in order to better serve people?