chapter  4
10 Pages

Labor Rights as Natural Rights

WithSean Coyle

This chapter examines the question of labor and of workers as a problem of social justice. It argues that a coherent response to the question cannot stem from an ideological perspective. The chapter outlines some of the attributes of labor as a natural right, without pretending to exhaust all that might be said in explanation or defense of it. The Church has not ceased to point out specific injustices which, across the years, have arisen from the mistaken belief that "the economic and moral orders are so distinct from and alien to one another that the former depends in no way upon the latter". The Church's teachings on labor rights exhibit exactly the structure of Aquinas's treatment of practical reasoning. They proceed from the intellect's initial grasp of human goods as objects to be pursued, to the question of how such goods are to be secured, precisely as human goods, even in a world of recalcitrance and self-interest.