We do not live to work, but work to live. Work has value to the human condition and spirit. On one level work helps us to maintain our existence, sustain our families and provide a means for the ownership of property. On another level it gives us a sense of pride and accomplishment, recognition for our craft and skill and dignity as a contributing member of the community.
Work is a necessary part of our social environment, giving us a standing in the community that allows us not only a freedom to compete in the economic marketplace, but allows us to participate in the common good through our contribution. Work gives us meaning and purpose.
Hand in hand with work is a decent return for one’s labor. Fair wages and benefits, safe work environments, access to ownership of ideas and competitive initiatives all serve to dignify the work and honor the worker.
Unemployment is a social disaster, individually and collectively. Unemployment separates a person from the community and jeopardizes their standing in that community. Mass unemployment not only wrecks the economics of the community, but also creates, for the whole community, a depressed social and economic condition that can stigmatize and traumatize; perpetuating a downward cycle affecting the entire community.
Work is a basic right of humankind, wherein people find dignity and self-actualization; participating in the life of the community and contributing to the common good of humankind. Respect and dignity for workers is fundamental so that we may live in peace.