Toward the Future: Part III — Improving the U.S. Economy


One of the elements of Catholic belief which we on the Lay Commission most admire, and for which we are most grateful, is the Catholic emphasis on the family. The family is the most important institution in our lives. Normally, it is in and through the family that the Faith is taught and practiced. To be sure, even the family often falls from its own high ideals. Nonetheless, those ideals are crucial to our lives, both as persons and as citizens of a reliably functioning political economy. In the family, more often than not, we see the Word of God lived by those we most love and admire. In death and in sickness, in good times and in bad, more often than not, the family is steadfast. When things go well in our families, adversities in the world are supportable. When things go badly in our families, even successes in the world do not bring happiness.

In important ways, the family is the center of human happiness and striving. The family is made in the image of the Trinity, a community of persons, and in the image of the Creator, from Whom all new life springs. It offers us, as well, our first images of Providence, teaching us as children a certain basic trust in reality and in creation’s God; and teaching us, as adults, our duty to provide for those entrusted to our care and love. The family is the first teacher of social justice. We well understand how the overwhelming proportion of the American public reports to pollsters that the most important element in their lives is the family.” We recognize, as well, that it was chiefly because of its concern for families that the Holy See under Pope Leo XIII first took up the task of speaking openly to the reconstruction of the social order.

Observing the desolation of millions of families of nineteenth century Europe — including the families of most of us — who were fleeing from rural areas to the new industrial centers of Europe and America, Leo XIII spoke out clearly for a social order better designed to nourish sound family life: for a “living wage,” for elementary security in illness and in old age, for decent working conditions, for mutual respect, for concern for common virtues and moral life, and for the protection of women and children. The bishops of the United States, in their deservedly ‘famous statement of 1919, also took the welfare of the family as their basic criterion for a just social order. 89 Many of their concrete proposals have slowly become part of a national bi-partisan consensus.

Christian life is first lived and learned in families. The family is the training ground of virtue: of an alert and questioning attitude; of habits of hard work, honesty, and responsibility; of cooperation, trust, and conviviality; of courtesy, kindness, and forgiveness; of boldness, inventiveness, and daring. The family is the nurturer of realism, against utopianism of all sorts. It is in the family that we learn the difference between romantic love and realistic love, between our fantasies about ourselves and the sharp edges which our spouses and our children see in us, between illusions and hard-won honesty. Family life teaches us to care for others, to forgive and to seek forgiveness. As it was in the families given to us and under the care of our own parents that we learned the fundamental virtues, personal and social, on which integrity and hard work and fidelity are based, so it is also in the families we have founded, among our own children, that we attempt to pass on these same virtues, down that long human chain which has come to be known as tradition. No economic order can ever be any stronger than the virtues of its citizens. In that sense, the family is the cradle of a strong economy.9° It carries forward the virtues, values, skills, practical lore, and material achievements of the past and the present, in an orderly and personal way, into the future.

It is no accident, either, that totalitarians who aim to destroy every liberty and rip out any vestige of loyalty to truth seek first of all to infiltrate, weaken, and destroy the integrity of the family, sowing mistrust and suspicion even in this haven of the human heart. One can understand neither democracy nor a market economy respectful of private property apart from a sound structure of family life, in which families are independent of the state both politically and economically, and in which the state may not violate family rights, including those of property. Too often concerned with the two novel realities of modern political life, the individual and the state, political economists have tended to overlook the centrality of the family. As a traditional institution, some have neglected it as pre-modern; others have unconsciously taken it for granted, without sufficient attention to its importance. Both in personal life and in the reliable functioning of healthy political economies, the family is a crucial institution. It is a bridge between personal morality and social morality, the privileged school both of personal virtues and of social virtues, without which neither personal life nor political economy can long prosper.

Christian Scripture, as we have seen, is not concrete about the shape that political, economic, or cultural institutions ought to have. By contrast, Scripture is quite concrete about the virtues of family life, the most fundamental of all human institutions. Anthropologically, family life is found under virtually every type of human regime in every age. When other social institutions fail, as fail they often do, the family is typically the main social strength not only of individuals but of the Church itself. Jewish and Christian life is normally first nourished in families. When families are injured, Jewish and Christian life is injured. So it is also with political economies: political economies that damage families injure themselves, and political economies that attend to the needs of families ultimately strengthen themselves. Yet total neglect of families by public policy and the inducement of dependency upon the state may equally injure families. Against both extremes, the strength of family life is a universal criterion for measuring the health of political economies.

Serious questions arise, therefore, concerning four factors in American life which injure family life, or make family life more difficult. Limiting ourselves simply to those factors which appear in the economic system, we observe the following.

First, the financial situation of young families today is quite different from those of their parents or grandparents. Most young couples starting out in marriage today strain to meet the high purchase price of a first home. More formidable still, mortgage interest rates are extremely high. There are compensating factors on the income side of this equation: both husband and wife are likely to be working, and for higher real wages at their age than any prior generation. They are likely to begin with considerably more in family and in educational assets than those with which previous generations began. The home owned by their parents is likely to have appreciated significantly in value, thus giving the family as a whole a far stronger balance sheet than it had a generation or two ago. Nonetheless, current high prices and high interest rates provide the younger generation today with obstacles as difficult, in their way, as those their parents and grandparents faced years ago.

A look at family income is necessary. In the third quarter of 1983, there were 48.6 million married-couple households in the U.S. (both spouses present). Their median monthly cash income was $2157 ($25,884 on an annual basis). But not all families were well-off: 2.1 million received cash in one or another means-tested welfare program, and 4.5 million families received non-cash benefits such as food stamps.” Intact families did far better than one-parent families and most other types of households.

The employment picture for the third quarter of 1983 showed that in 415,000 families, both husband and wife were looking for work or on layoff; in 2.2 million, the husband; and in 1.8 million, the wife. Two million families were receiving unemployment compensation for one or more unemployed members.

Altogether, 7.6 million families were struggling below the poverty line. Furthermore, it is obvious that many families with incomes above the poverty level were also struggling with their finances. Lower incomes are especially typical of young couples aged 16-25, a point of some significance since the progress of the “baby boom” generation, born between 1946 and 1962, will shortly begin to alter family income distributions. The eldest members of that unusually large cohort became 38 in 1984; behind them, millions of young families are just entering their peak earning years. With every year that passes, this cohort should raise median family incomes quite dramatically.

Meanwhile, in order to render swift assistance to young couples just starting families, some have proposed that the exemption for dependents in the income tax law should be raised, if only to keep pace with inflation. For lower-income families, for whom income taxes are not high, this device would afford only modest relief. For other families, other forms of tax relief — particularly in education— might offer superior benefits. Without having calculated the costs and the consequences of this or competing proposals, and without endorsing any, we cite it to stimulate creative practical thinking about an important problem.

As for those families which are not intact, in which one spouse is absent, the picture of income and employment is rather more bleak, especially for the growing number of female-headed households. (We return to this matter in the following section.)

Second, with respect to a much-neglected matter, we object to those base forms of commerce — in abortion, pornography, prostitution, and drugs — which make direct war upon the virtues of family life and on the necessary moral strength of any free Republic. We recognize that in a free society, censorship, legal restriction, and law enforcement can go only so far within the bounds of constitutional law; and we recognize that some human vices are perennial and universal. Nonetheless, besides the law, there is also the sanction of public opinion. Those who abuse important human virtues diminish their title to public respect, acclaim, and encouragement. It is especially important for leaders of public opinion not to indulge abusers of virtue with encouragement. Short of legal censorship, much more could be done than is now being done to show public contempt in word and manner for those who solicit to vice and demean virtue. And much more could be done in our public culture, by leaders of public opinion, to emphasize the importance for the life of the Republic of such basic human virtues as self-respect, honesty, loyalty, hard work, chastity, fidelity, integrity, and the like.

We call upon business leaders to become critically aware of the moral impact, explicit and implicit, of their own advertising and of the entertainments they support. A heavy responsibility weighs upon all advertisers, for in a free economy advertising itself is a form of moral teaching. Business leaders in the media of communication, and all who avail themselves of those media for advertising, bear responsibility for the moral messages they transmit. In our time, entertainment has become a main teacher of values, entering the home itself — and with far too little examination of its moral quality.

Third, one of the crucial pillars of family life is economic independence and self-reliance. In this context, Catholic social teaching has long upheld the principle of the living wage — that wage, proportionate to circumstances, which allows each family a decent measure of income and security against the common hazards of human life.95 In more affluent societies such as ours, the concept of aspiring to a better life has been added to the older concept of the living wage. For standards of health care, education, opportunity, and possibilities for “the pursuit of happiness” have been raised to historically unprecedented levels. Considerably more than the sort of sufficiency just above subsistence levels which was sought so desperately by even our recent ancestors is now sought by most couples, even those who cherish, by today’s standards, a “simple” way of life. In¬ deed, in many families today, one job alone is not judged sufficient; spouses and older children also wish to work, not only out of economic necessity but even for reasons of personal satisfaction, growth in experience, and fulfillment.

In general, we applaud the desire of so many Americans to seek employment, although we see some drawbacks. A higher proportion of adults between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five now seeks employment than ever before in U.S. history, and volunteer work in addition to paid employment also seems to be rising to unprecedented levels.% In this sense, the work ethic is alive and well in most American families. We applaud that development, even though we are aware that human dignity is independent of paid employment. To work — to be with God a co-creator — is the human vocation.

Fourth, one of the great advantages of a system such as ours is that, generation by generation, it raises its standards of what can and ought to be done. The economic system is so amazingly productive that it often tempts society to place ever greater burdens upon it. The danger, of course, is that such burdens finally may destroy it. Nonetheless, in our time, with large numbers of wives joining their husbands in paid employment, and with many hard-pressed single parents also seeking work, yet a new burden is already being met by many businesses, small and large. Some provide child-care on their premises. Others, when possible, arrange work schedules for the convenience of family schedules. We applaud these developments, where they are practical. When both spouses work, and when there are young children to care for, the family clock is not set for nine-to-five. Where possible we favor experiments with flexible, adjustable work schedules. We applaud business enterprises which have already reconsidered their personnel and employment policies from the point of view of healthy family life. Sensing a new era, many have examined their policies on transfers, nepotism, flexible hours, maternity leave, child care, benefit’ packages, pensions, and the like, in the light of what is good for families. New technologies in the workplace may soon offer unprecedented possibilities for adaptation. The disciplines of the market place and the so-called “bottom line,” we believe, can be enhanced rather than weakened by a new sensitivity to family life. Yet plain realism suggests that every new benefit has costs.

The very successes of our economy generate ever-new problems with every new advance. Family life is so important both to individuals and to the Republic that the various institutions of the U.S. economy would be well-advised to make it central in their strategies for self-improvement.


One measure of a good society is how well it cares for the weakest and most vulnerable of its members. Historically, the first challenge of the liberal economy was to create such new wealth as would raise standards of living for all citizens steadily over time. The historical transition from agrarian –mercantilistic economies, to the liberal economies of the nineteenth century, to the combination of free-market and welfare economies of today, involved many long and bitter struggles. In the brief two-hundred years of this vast social transformation, life has been vastly improved for the poor, the weak, and the vulnerable. Even domestically, however, this transformation is unfinished.

On the one hand, there is a temptation for citizens in free economies committed to generous welfare programs to go too far in enhancing the power of the central state. As in the Parable of the Foolish Virgins, good intentions are not enough; the lamps may have insufficient oil. Even socialist writers of the new generation protest against excessive centralization, bureaucracy, and economic sclerosis.99 On the other hand, a Jewish and Christian society will wish to help the poor. Philosophically, the problem is twofold: how to help the poor and the needy without generating an in-capacitating dependency.

In any society, there will always be significant percentages of citizens too old and too young to achieve self-reliance through personal participation in economic markets. There will also be a certain percentage of those too ill, handicapped, injured, or temporarily down on their luck. Indeed, according to a major ten-year study at the University of Michigan, the vast majority of the American poor are not persistently poor. Movement into and out of poverty is substantial. In the ten years from 1969 to 1978, one out of four Americans experienced at least one year of poverty. But only 2.6 percent were poor for eight or more years (the “persistently poor”). Who are the persistently poor? Almost all are outside the normal economic system. Four out of ten are disabled. Three out of ten are over 65. Six out of ten are in households headed by a woman, mostly with children at home. It is also noteworthy that two-thirds of the persistently poor live in the South. And 62 percent are black.

Those of the poor who cannot be self-reliant should be distinguished from those who with a little help, training, and incentives, can achieve self-reliance. For the latter, choosing wise policies — which actually help both the poor and the common good — is a high moral imperative. It is exceedingly difficult of achievement.

The generosity of the American people in wishing to help the poor, by supporting legislation specifically targeted on the needs of the poor of both types, has been immense. Let us observe, not as a policy recommendation, but as a way of measuring the magnitude of the problem, that more money is actually spent directly on the poor each year (more than $100 billion) than would be required, if distributed directly to the poor, to lift every man, woman and child among them above the poverty level.'” That this has not actually been achieved is prima fade evidence of faulty design in poverty programs. From the beginning, these were intended to enhance “the integrity and preservation of the family unit.” This generous aim, too, has scarcely been achieved; quite the opposite.

On the plus side, welfare programs such as Medicare for the aged and Medicaid for the poor, despite generating economic problems, have significantly relieved millions of recipients of the terrors of illness, accident, and injury. Money spent on such programs remove a most dreadful insecurity.'” Similarly, more abundant funding for Social Security, and the indexation of Social Security payments to the Consumer Price Index, went a long way toward diminishing the numbers and the proportion of those over age 65 who remain in poverty.  Although significant poverty remains among the elderly, they are now no longer the largest group among the poor. Again on the plus side, expenditures for Food Stamps, for housing allowances, and for similar non-cash benefits have climbed rapidly since 1962, bringing dramatic assistance to the poor. Such expenditures are not counted in the most widely used reports on poverty in America, in which only cash income is counted.

On the minus side, since 1962 the number and pro-portion of female-headed households among the poor have climbed dramatically, to the point that female heads of households and their dependents now constitute some 48 percent of all the poor.  Some such females are widowed, divorced or separated, but in a high percentage of cases no marriage was ever formed. Some fifty-five percent of all black children are now born out-of-wedlock.

In New York City alone, according to a recent report, 37 percent of all live births during 1983 were illegitimate, and in some areas the percentage was far higher.  The resulting disadvantage is weighty. Whereas 36 percent of families headed by women are poor, only 8 percent of “in-tact families” — those with two parents — are poor.  Children born out of wedlock are far more likely to be poorly educated, and poorly prepared for employment, likely to acquire habits of dependency and unemployment. These features are a serious consequence of illegitimacy. Another consequence is that an intergenerational cycle of welfare is likely to continue: in some localities, women born out of wedlock tend to have children out of wedlock.

One cannot say that poverty causes illegitimacy, for during earlier eras of far greater poverty among Americans there was much less illegitimacy. Public opinion is now tolerant of illegitimacy, as earlier it was not. The consequences are devastating.

Some say that joblessness and a lack of a sense of self-worth make young men less responsible than in the past. Yet it is surely wrong for public commentators to in-crease this sense of personal worthlessness, if it exists, by denying to humans a sense of personal responsibility for their deeds. Whatever else it may be, illegitimacy is a moral disorder. To try to shift all blame to others, to external conditions, or to “society,” is to deny persons their own inherent worth as moral agents. To treat human persons solely as “victims,” as if they had no moral responsibility of their own, is to treat them as less than human. For this reason, all who play a role as moral leaders in our society have a serious obligation to insist upon the moral responsibility of every single person, of every class and station.

Illegitimacy is an issue of personal and public morality, as well as an issue requiring social action on the part of the entire society. Young persons must be taught that illegitimacy saddles children with an unusually difficult future. After the fact, nonetheless, community support must be forthcoming, to turn tragedy to hope. As to how best to achieve that, without doing more harm than good, reasonable persons of good will frequently disagree. Solving that problem though, is crucial to all involved.

Poverty in the United States is measured by a monetary standard for the purchases of goods and services by a non-farm family of four. There are problems in using such a standard. A poverty-level income in a large urban area is typically far more onerous than a similar income in less expensive areas. In addition, psychological factors seem often to be of greater significance than a merely monetary measure. Among families of poverty-level incomes, some think of themselves as, and act as, “middle class,” while others experience feelings of despair and hopelessness. Poverty has spiritual, as well as material, dimensions. Again, those who do not count non-cash benefits in defining the numbers of the poor deprive the public of the sense that poverty funds are being spent effectively.

A merely monetary standard, moreover, is highly affected by inflation. Indeed, inflation grievously hurts the poor in two ways: by diluting their already low purchasing power and by sweeping ever higher income levels into the ranks of the poor. In 1976, for example, the poverty level stood at about $7000; by 1981, it stood at more than $9000. In 1976, a job at the minimum-wage nearly sufficed to lift a family out of poverty. By 1981, a job at the minimum wage was not nearly enough to do so. Thus, between 1977 and 1981, 7.1 million persons were added to the ranks of the poor. By 1983, the monetary standard for measuring poverty had risen to $10,178 and the number of the poor had risen to 35.3 million persons.

Almost 24 million whites and 10 million blacks are poor. Looked at another way, almost 90 percent of whites and two-thirds of blacks are not poor. Most of the poor live in families. Of these, however, more than 12 million live in female-headed households with children and other family members.

It is important to note that at least 19 million of the poor are too young, too old, or too disabled to be engaged directly in the economic system. Even if the economic system were perfect, which it is not, there would still remain substantial numbers of the poor in need of help.

Nine million of the poor had jobs in 1983 (but only 3 million held full-time jobs for 50-52 weeks). Of the 13.9 million poor adults who did not work at all, 3 million were ill or disabled; 4.5 million were keeping house; 2.4 million were going to school; 1.8 million were unable to find work.16 Most poor people, therefore, are outside the labor force. The 9 million poor who had jobs and the 1.8 million who sought work unsuccessfully lacked the steady employment and/or sufficient wages that would enable them to earn their way out of poverty.

Nonetheless, by often heroic efforts, the poor do earn substantial amounts of money. For example, even a family that earned $9500 in 1983 — just a short time ago more than enough to escape poverty — fell below the poverty line. Numbers for 1983 are not yet available, but in 1982 the poor earned approximately half the amount that would have been required to lift all poor persons out of poverty — more than $45 billion out of approximately $90 billion. The “poverty shortfall” in 1982 was, therefore, about $45 billion.

We believe firmly that the poor must be assisted in their efforts to climb out of poverty. Monetarily, the sum needed to wipe out poverty — the “poverty shortfall”. — is not large by federal standards. Indeed, state and local governments and private sources already contribute, with the federal government, to that task. If the poverty shortfall of $45 billion were simply given to the poor, that would of course temporarily lift all above the poverty line as defined by the Census Bureau. This observation, which is not a policy recommendation, forces us to see that the magnitude of the problem, sheerly as a monetary problem, is not great. Poverty is more a human problem than a monetary problem. Helping the poor to acquire the human skills of productive independence demands far more from us than monetary grants.

Clearly, in any case, income grants would not solve the unemployment (and underemployment) problems of at least 11 million poor persons over 15 years of age who, on the record, do wish to work for their own self-reliance. Yet even sufficient job creation would not help all the poor. As a human problem, poverty calls for human and personal involvement. Efforts to overcome it must be aimed, in part, at self-esteem and, where possible, self-reliance as the ultimate ground of personal dignity.

There are several points we would like to make, in particular, about poverty among blacks. Since poverty has human and cultural dimensions, no one can discount the effects upon some blacks of generations of slavery, followed by generations of being looked down upon and shunted into menial positions. The sharpest indication of such effects is suggested by the fact that American blacks who experienced slavery in the West Indies have shown much higher self-esteem as well as higher success rates in school, in household income, and in public leadership than those who experienced the slavery of the American South.18 The difference seems to lie in this: in the West Indies, many blacks were encouraged to pursue education, drawn into a large variety of professions and occupations, and even as field hands rewarded through the incentive system. By contrast, in the American South, education was often discouraged, slaves were kept out of occupations promising advancement, and incentives for better work were few. Such systemic differences have critical spiritual consequences. We admire the amazing resilience of the human spirit, not only in the remarkable achievements of black Americans but also in the good spirit they bring to American public and private life

As we have noted, there are roughly 24 million white poor, compared to roughly 10 million black poor; nonetheless, 62 percent of the “persistently poor” are black (living predominantly in the South). And about 35 percent of all poor persons, including those only temporarily poor, are black. Thus, it is wrong to think of poverty as merely a problem for blacks — the white poor outnumber the black poor by more than 2:1. Nonetheless, the human dimensions of poverty rub the black poor much more harshly. The spirit is battered every day by feelings of discrimination as well as by poverty.

Considerations of this sort lead us to believe that Father James Naughton was correct when he testified before us, stressing the enormous amount of personal time and personal care it takes to bring some individuals born in poverty to economic self -reliance.'” Too many people want to entrust the problems of the poor to the government, and then forget about them. Many will give large amounts of money, vote for higher government aid — the only thing they will not do is be seen among the poor, helping the poor, person -to- person , family – to -family . Since poverty has a human dimension, far more basic than a monetary dimension, it would be less than Christian to speak of it solely as a question of system or structure, while ignoring the need one human being has for respect, attention, and realistic love from another. Those who say that person-to-person work is “remedial,” “insignificant compared to structural changes,” and “evasive” need to ask themselves why so many of the “structural reforms” and “systemic changes” they have put in place during the past twenty years seem to have made the human dimensions of poverty in America so much more harsh, isolating and debilitating. Those who claim to speak for the poor do not always help the poor. While we admire governmental efforts to assist the poor, and believe that such assistance should continue, we believe that a more humane and personal effort is also in order.

To be sure, the public battle against inflation must continue, both to keep the numbers of the poor from growing and to avoid hurting the poor more harshly. More immediately, female heads of households and their minor children, who now constitute nearly one-third of all poor persons, need urgent community help, as much as they need financial aid. Under the best of circumstances raising children is not easy. Many young mothers — some hardly more than children themselves — need a supportive community, counseling, education, medical and other advice, and greater opportunities both for their own advancement and for their children. It cannot be repeated enough: especially among these young and needy families, personal help seems indispensable.

In thinking about poverty, reasonable persons of good will often differ in their personal philosophies and life experiences, and thus disagree about methods and means. The goal for all remains the same: the poor should be uplifted to dignity and self-reliance; poverty should be ended. Yet creative thinking about how actually to help the poor, without making matters worse, is in short supply. Thus, partisans of different points of view have produced a variety of concrete proposals, such as the guaranteed in-come, the doubling of the dependency exemption, enterprise zones, the reform of existing programs, and more skillfully applied voluntary efforts. Others have wished to remove an absurdity in the tax law:, that the poor and the near-poor now pay taxes, while simultaneously requiring benefits. Some such proposals have a record by which they may be judged; others deserve thought and experiment. Recognizing broad differences of opinion among our fellow Catholics and other citizens, we value a pluralism of approaches, with partisans of each respecting those who disagree, all measuring their own progress by the commonly shared goal.

One of the best ways to help the poor, and especially to help family life among the poor, is to generate new jobs. Unemployment and underemployment are the scourge of all families, the poor most of all. As we have seen, even if full employment could be reached, even if we had a perfect economy, there would still be poor persons in need of support from beyond the economic system. But creating new jobs is one task proper to the economic system itself.


One of the most pressing tasks of co-creation in every economy of the world is the creation of new jobs. For this, capital investment, enterprise, and social intelligence are needed. The transition from mercantilism to capitalism appeared when wealthy persons began to shift their wealth from personal consumption (palaces, private armies, balls, etc.) and began to invest it in productive enterprises. Such enterprises then began to employ the formerly idle, and to generate wages which raised the living standards of workers. Thus, the creation of wealth is simultaneously a social and a personal good. It helps the creator of wealth; it helps others — and the society as a whole. This is why the popes have in recent years criticized the Third World wealthy who do not invest in their own countries. (We note, though, the moral dilemma of persons of virtue who would like to invest in their own country, yet find its political economy wracked by inflation, instability and uncertainty. This is yet another indication of the way in which even a virtuous people can be frustrated by an ill-designed system.)

If we consider only Latin America, a continent of massive unemployment and underemployment, it is clear that the task of job-creation is both indispensable and formidable. It is estimated that Latin America will need 76 million new jobs by the year 2000 just for those already born. Given rising populations, there is no way that all citizens in Latin America can be successfully employed in agricultural pursuits. The future of the poor of the world depends, therefore, upon a new explosion of entrepreneurial, commercial, and industrial activity. Most new employment must come from the creation of millions of small businesses.

So it is also in the United States. Employment in government (about 16 million) and in the Fortune 500. (about 14 million) has for some years been virtually static.121 An immense explosion of new jobs — some 26 million in all — has been created in the U.S. between 1970 and early 1984, and the majority of these have been created by small businesses.’ 22 Enterprise is a major key to job creation.

In Laborem Exercens, Pope John Paul II noted with sadness that in Europe, scores of thousands of young people with university degrees and high intellectual credentials are unable to find work. Indeed, since 1970, Western European nations have suffered a net loss of approximately two million jobs.123 Some of the causes of this decline appear to be clear. Until recently, many European economies seemed to be losing the dynamism of invention. Technological innovation was passing to Japan and the United States. In a sense, Western European nations have been making a social choice in favor of job security, high benefits, strict regulation, and a relatively inflexible labor market. Entry into new enterprises is discouraged by long governmental licensing delays and by prohibitive social costs imposed upon employers. The result is that even highly intelligent and well-trained persons are discouraged from launching new businesses of their own. The net consequence is relative economic inflexibility.

By contrast, beginning about 1970, the U.S. economy had to absorb two huge demographic strains. On the one hand, the “baby boom” generation born after World War II began to enter the job market. Simultaneously, women began entering the paid labor market in unprecedented numbers, and there are significantly larger numbers of females than males in the U.S. population.

From 1960 to 1982, the percentage of women in the U.S. labor force rose from 37.7 percent to 52.6 percent, an addition of nearly 10 million civilian employees.

In 1970, the total number of employed civilians in the U.S. was 78 million. In mid-1984, this number had climbed to 105 million. Such a record of job creation is unmatched by any other economy in the world, and is historically almost unprecedented. Since during this period the U.S. endured two large recessions — one in the mid-70s, the other during 1979-82 — this record is all the more remarkable.

Nonetheless, the task of creating new jobs during the next decade is also formidable. As of mid-1984, the number of the unemployed stands at approximately 8.5 million. Although the bulk of the “baby boom” appears to have been absorbed, by 1995 the numbers of new entrants into the labor force will probably continue to grow by another 5 million. Having created 26 million jobs since 1970, our economy still faces a substantial but achievable task of job creation.

Jobs do not simply happen, as fruit grows on trees; they must be created. New ideas are crucial in this creation. New waves of entrepreneuit must learn to look alertly for unmet needs — for new products and new services — and to invent new ways of meeting older needs. On all sides, we see much work to be done, not least in the very locations where there are large numbers of those who seek employment, where homes need to be restored and repainted and where business starts are few, compelling local consumers to go elsewhere to meet their needs and to find employment. It is the task of enterprising intellect to marry needed work to willing workers: to create paying jobs where none existed before. In many places, chambers of commerce, associations of entrepreneurs, policy thinkers and others are trying to create a new environment for job creation. The fact, of course, is that just as an artist cannot aim at beauty but must aim at producing a good body of work, so jobs are an after-effect of creating goods and services.

In a good and dynamic economy, all those who wish to work should be able to find rewarding work. Clearly, then, leaders in education and the churches should study and encourage the virtue of enterprise. Like any other virtue, it responds to cultivation and occurs less frequently in hostile climates. In a dynamic and innovative economy, no region or locality can take for granted the permanence of its economic base. Journalists, investors, entrepreneurs, clergymen, educators and others must, today as never before, study in advance how their regions might attract and generate new jobs.

Consideration must also be given to the formation of the capital essential for entrepreneurship. The habit of saving begins in the will; it requires purpose and discipline:” Especially in an era of many liberties and easy consumption, the habit of saving should once again be taught as a virtue crucial to the building of the future.

There is much, of course, that government can do through its own macro-economic and micro-economic policies. It must attend to the ways in which it penalizes savings, and prompts people to consume today rather than to invest in tomorrow. It must exercise intense vigilance to prevent inflation, and it must strictly control its own expenditures and deficits.

In dynamic, changing economies obsolescent factories based upon old technologies and methods lose out to those utilizing new technologies and methods. Since dynamic enterprises are mobile, this transition often causes joblessness in one place even while creating new jobs in another. Families are typically less mobile than capital and technological invention; thus, some families inevitably suffer and some may need social assistance (see section 5 below). In the past, the relative mobility of Americans — such that nearly one in four families moves to a new location every two years— has always been one of the nation’s economic strengths. It has often helped families; often, too, exacted a toll. In recent years, happily, public concern for families left behind by change has grown. We believe that business leaders can and should give higher priority than ever before to the long-term security of their associates in the work force. There are moral gains in doing so, but we must recognize that the required costs will almost certainly impair the nation’s economic dynamism and raise the costs of new employment. Since such consequences would also hurt families, prudence is required.

The educational system, in particular, should recognize that many youngsters face the prospect of two or three different kinds of jobs or careers over a lifetime. Regional and local leaders need to encourage economic dynamism today for local economic well-being tomorrow.


The word catholic means universal, and we are conscious, in our vocation as lay Catholics, of a universal bond of association with all human beings on this planet, past, present, and future. Today all peoples are more interdependent than ever before; it cannot be denied that this great achievement has been brought into institutional being through the inventions of international transport, communications, trade, and finance pioneered by liberal capitalist societies. Here were invented the steel-hulled, steam-driven ocean vessels, the airplane, telephone, television, electronics, fiber optics, computers and other instruments which today unite the world in instant communication. Moreover, it is free international trade which has allowed free individuals and free associations to conclude mutual agreements for the international movement of goods and services.

Over two hundred years ago Adam Smith was among the first to foresee, desire, and encourage such global interdependence, imagining the development of the wealth of nations — all nations — united in lawlike, peaceful, mutual relations of commerce and trade. The ancient word “commerce” [commercium] suggests more than material exchange; in old hymns, it was used even of the “admirable commerce” between God and humankind. Today, too, world trade brings into being new forms of mutual understanding, new voluntary relationships, and stimulates new ideas, international travel, and an appetite for a more brotherly and sisterly world community.

An empirical observation may also be in order. Those nations and those parts of nations most closely drawn into international trade and international communications tend to be those of most remarkable human development, not only in national wealth and per capita income, but also in rising standards of longevity, infant mortality, health care, education, and institutions of human rights. Those the more remote remain to this day, whatever their admirable human qualities, the least likely to share in modern vitalities, ideas, and benefits.

We recognize that culture differs from culture. Different peoples see and do things differently according to their own histories and traditions. We have experienced a remarkable pluralism within the Catholic Church, and we are led by it to respect pluralism in the world around us. We recognize the right of peoples to choose their own form of governance, through the consent of the governed, and to choose their own forms of culture and economic development. These rights are endowed by the Creator in individuals, not in states. Individuals in their associations are the seat of human rights; the Creator is their source. States have not created rights; God has. Thus, one great advantage we see in liberal societies — with their free economies, polities, and cultures’ — is that they are uniquely attuned to cultural pluralism. There are, to be sure, centripetal, homogenizing forces in modern technologies and means of communication, even as there are in the universality of science. Nonetheless, we deeply respect the cultural differences that add so much fecundity to human life. We reject all visions of a centrally directed world culture. We envisage a world of diverse cultures, amicably and peaceably related through mutual and voluntary association.

The bottom line of economic development is to provide opportunity for the poor. Freedom from fear, freedom from want, freedom of expression and speech, and freedom to worship — these are the four freedoms which are at the core of human development. Such development is above all for the weak and the lowly and the most vulnerable, not solely for the few. How could we not be grateful for the American experience, since many of our families were among those “wretched refuse of the earth” welcomed by the Statue of Liberty? Our “preferential Option for the poor” springs not only from reasons of justice and charity but also from memories of our own origins.

The economy of the U.S. is blessedly strong, with the dynamism that comes from, liberty under law. What economic course ought the U.S. to set, to make our economy of maximum assistance to the poor of the world — we stress, the poor people of the world, rather than governments or nation states? Of all economies in the world, that of the U.S. is perhaps the most capable of self-reliance and self-enclosure. More than most nations, we could constrict our economic focus narrowly within our own borders. Economic isolationism would be good neither for ourselves nor for others. It would assault the poor of the world more ferociously than anyone has yet imagined. We reject that option as morally untenable.

We also reject systematic protectionism. Governments everywhere are tempted to impose barriers, quotas, tariffs and duties on imports, in the hope of monopolizing home markets for home industries. Such protectionism is self-defeating. It constitutes a hidden tax upon consumers, who pay more for home-produced goods than for cheaper foreign goods. At general expense, it subsidizes particular domestic interests. It erodes efficiency and corrupts management. It invites retaliation from foreign markets, thus penalizing domestic exporters.

Nonetheless, the art and practice of political economy demand prudential judgments in dealing with real contingencies. There is probably no freer and more open market in the world than the U.S. economy; yet in many individual cases, our own nation has increasingly engaged in protectionist acts. In every era, accommodation has been made by bending the ideal of free trade to insistent protectionist demands. The surge in protectionist demand is typically due to acute economic pain at a vulnerable point. Today it is fed by public awareness that some world markets are highly protected. This seems unfair. While we recognize that some protectionist demands will from time to time be met, we hold strongly to the ideal of open markets. Open markets open the world to the most provident stewardship of the world’s resources, keeping prices lower, and allowing resources to be used less wastefully and more creatively. They cause fewer distortions and are more fair to broader publics and to whole populations.

In particular, the peoples of poorer nations need to earn from their own exports the incomes with which to purchase from abroad needed goods and services. If markets are closed to them, particularly large markets such as those of the United States, they cannot do so. Thus, it is not only economically sound, but morally sound, for the U.S. to open up its markets to exporters from the poorer peoples of the world.

There are two principles of international trade which we would like to stress. First, in today’s world every nation has become dependent upon other nations. There is no longer any major economy which is totally independent. Thus, interdependence is for every nation a contemporary reality. On the whole, it is both sound economics and sound Christian morality that the peoples of the world should trade With one another, should invest in one another’s economies, and in other ways should weave a network of vital human contacts from one people to another. This is the way a humane and peaceful world ought to work. The inevitable dislocations and conflicts that occur in all human relationships ought, then, to be worked out through mutual and civil negotiation. The first principle, then, is that while nations and peoples retain essential rights of sovereignty and self-reliance, contemporary reality involves each of them to a significant degree in one another’s fate. This is altogether fitting for members of one human family.

The second principle is that, on the whole, and contrary to intuition, in open trade the weaker party often derives the greater benefits. This is so because the trade relation is typically of far greater importance to the weaker party. There are only a certain number of nations on this planet, for example, with which the U.S. must trade, in order to obtain vital goods or to maintain important markets. If the U.S. did not trade with the remaining nations, on which it depends but little, the loss to the U.S. would not be of as serious a consequence to the U.S. economy, as the loss of U.S. markets would be to such weaker nations, which would be deeply injured. In this sense, the dependence of some nations upon the U.S. is considerably greater than the dependence of the U.S. upon them. This fact requires the people of the U.S. to be especially sensitive to the needs of such weaker trading partners. On the other hand, it must be noted that such dependency, where it exists, does not explain why such countries are poor; on the contrary, it points out how useful to their own development are open markets in the United States.

After World War II, when the U.S. economy produced some 53 percent of gross world product, its relatively open markets greatly assisted the almost “miraculous” recoveries in such economies as those of Japan and Western Europe. Today, although the U.S. share of gross world product has fallen to about 25 percent, the U.S. economy is not worse off, but far stronger. In short, the growing strength of formerly weak economies is of great benefit to the U.S. Economic activities, unlike many others, are not a zero-sum game. On the contrary, they are typically mutually beneficent. The growth of each contributes to the growth of all. The appearance in East Asia of “new Japans” (S. Korea, Taiwan, Sigapore, et al.), and the hoped-for appearance of other new economic giants in Latin America, Asia, and Africa, will redound to the benefit of all other economies. It is decidedly not the case that for the strong to grow stronger the weak must grow weaker; the reality is exactly the reverse. The more swiftly the poor nations develop, the better for the developed nations.

Finally, many in all generations have feared that free trade, like the invention of new technologies, would result in lost jobs and lower employment. In the short-run, it is true, new technologies sometimes render the old obsolete, and cheaper or better imports sometimes drive domestic industries from their accustomed markets. Yet in the United States in recent years, faced with technological revolutions of nearly unprecedented scope, and faced with world economic competition of almost unprecedented intensity (most notably in textiles, steel, shoes, electronics, and automobiles) the numbers of civilian jobs have grown to unprecedented levels. Even in the near term, the dynamism of technological change and world competition create many more new jobs than they take away.

Nonetheless, individual families, like individual firms and industries, face immediate necessities and are hardly to be consoled by benefits to the public at large. It would be less than moral to say that such personal and institutional losses can be wished away. They cannot.

A good society must not allow its own general gains to be won at extreme cost to a few. The few must be helped. Clearly, the most urgent need for most lies in finding new employment and, if necessary, the relevant retraining. Accumulated pensions and benefits need to be protected. Efforts to assist communities, firms, and individuals in such transitions are required both by a sound economy and by a sound moral vision.

Change in technology and change in international trade occur with exponential speed. Structural shifts which once took centuries, or generations, now occur within the space of a few years. In constant dollars, U.S. exports jumped from $43 billion in 1970 to $221 billion in 1980. U.S. imports followed a parallel course: from $40 billion to $245 billion. (Petroleum imports alone jumped by $70 billion). This growing interdependence may also be expressed as proportions of total U.S. GNP. Exports constituted 4.4 percent of GNP in 1970, but 8.5 percent in 1980, while imports jumped from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent.  Such changes are dramatic.

More dramatic still are changes within particular industries, and in the proportions of U.S. trade with particular trading partners. Two-way trade between the U.S. and non-oil-exporting LDCs grew from $18 billion to $112 billion in that decade. As the most open of the world’s markets, the U.S. alone bought approximately 40 percent of all the manufactured goods sent by LDCs to the industrialized countries during 1982. From Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico alone, U.S. imports grew by $5.5 billion from 1980 to 1983. If the U.S. had not expanded its imports from LDCs, their economic position would have been far bleaker.

Four criteria of superior economic performance are commonly advanced: employment growth, per capita income growth, an improving pattern of income distribution (so that the poorest also benefit), and the acquisition of skills throughout the population. During the past fifteen years, the LDCs which have done best on all four criteria are those with both market systems and more open trade regimes, including Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan. These countries have relatively few natural resources, but are among the most outward-looking economies in the developing world — and the most successful. Correlatively, their impressive advances depend disproportionately on open markets abroad. Such countries send roughly one-third of their merchandise exports to the United States.  In other LDCs, notably in resource-rich Latin America, policies of protectionism and state control have created monopoly or oligopoly profits for a very small segment of society at the cost of relative economic stagnation or regression for the majority. Open markets abroad help the LDCs significantly; open markets at home — even if achieved gradually — generate economic vitality otherwise repressed.

Shifts in patterns of world trade, when they occur as suddenly as recently, cause dislocations’ for the labor force. World trade means world competition. As the labor force of LDCs grows in experience and skills, a relative equality in the machines which they employ, combined with wage rates high by comparison with other workers in their land, but low by comparison with those prevalent in the more highly industrialized nations, makes them formidable competitors, even after high costs of transport and insurance are factored in. No country can count on its own advantages for long; competitors seek ways to produce better quality, lower costs, superior performance. In some ways, those who arrive later on the scene gain an advantage through building newer factories based on more advanced technology, by comparison with well-established manufacturers. Such competition, excellent for stimulating the most efficient means of increasing the gross world product, sometimes displaces some workers. What may contribute to the common good internationally may for a time injure particular groups in particular localities. Even the latter should benefit eventually from higher world output and prosperity; in the short run, however, they need help.

A combination of factors, not world competition alone, has led, for example, to significant job losses in certain major industries in the United States. Between 1979 and mid-1983, U.S. apparel makers lost 345,000 jobs (More than one-quarter of their work force). The steel industry lost 315,000 jobs (more than half its production staff). The automobile industry lost 198,000 jobs in the production sector (more than 40 percent). To be sure, these losses were matched by gains between 1972 and 1980 in the number of engineers (331,000), computer specialists (311,000), and accountants (333,000). Obviously, however, those who lost and gained jobs were seldom the same persons.

Blue-collar workers have been especially hard hit by the three major structural factors of the past decade: recurrent recession, automation, and foreign competition. The last named is probably less significant than the other two in job losses. In automobiles, for example, a sharp fall-off in demand after the oil crisis accounts for 18.6 percent out of the 24.1 percent drop in auto production from 1973 to 1980. Only 5.5 percent is attributable to foreign competition.

Still, foreign competition is highly visible. One can see and touch imported goods; relatively few Americans see or touch U.S. goods exported abroad. As a consequence, foreign trade is blamed for job losses more than it is praised for job creation. To the eye and hand, foreign trade seems to be a one-way street; in fact, it is two-way.

Traditionally, Americans have quit jobs and changed jobs in unusually high proportions. Nonetheless, for workers who have committed themselves to one, job and then suddenly, involuntarily, have lost it, the human tragedy can be profound. Workers over 45 may be especially hard hit. Not only is it harder for them to seek retraining; their family commitments make them far less mobile than younger workers; and their financial obligations for mortgages, children’s education, etc., have typically climbed to a lifetime high. The whole meaning of their lives comes into question; their moral pride is painfully wounded when they see commitments they can no longer meet. Rancor and bitterness may arise in them unsummoned. Some cling to the hope that they will be recalled to work, since their seniority now entraps them as much as it used to help them: if they are called back, they regain pension, life insurance, and benefits they might lose if they moved on to another employer.

Since the era of world competition in the years ahead may be unlike the era we have known until now, we believe new policies are needed in manufacturing industries to protect workers who may be vulnerable to industry-wide economic change. Beyond customary policies already in effect — unemployment compensation, retraining programs, educational assistance, Trade Readjustment Allowances, and the like’ 34 – we see the need for further practical invention. Two of the greatest burdens suddenly unemployed workers face are the loss of health insurance and an inability to meet mortgage payments. While we have not been in a position to cost out sound remedies to these necessities, we recognize the seriousness and probable persistence of the problem. The principle is that new means ought to be available to individual families and workers whose jobs are vulnerable through certain specifiable hazards of economic change. Change is today the law of international economics and contemporary inventiveness. Together with dynamic growth toward a better future for all come unavoidable losses for some, who deserve to have affordable means of self-protection. Social inventiveness must accompany technological inventiveness.


The linchpin both of socialist and statist societies is “planning.” That word is used in many different senses.'” Behind it usually lies a misleading intuition: viz., that if you take the brightest group of experts available, they can lay out an economic plan, whether compulsory or merely declarative, that will wisely marshal resources, eliminate waste, organize priorities, order sequences of action, dictate prices, establish wages, etc., in such a way that the whole economy would operate with optimum rationality. The model of rationality behind this word is that of mental guidance from above, as God the Watchmaker was held by some philosophers to set the universe in motion.

The Catholic understanding of God is very different. God is pictured as Providence, allowing contingent causes to work in all their humanly baffling contingency, empowering human beings as free agents, compelling no one, but ordering all things sweetly and from within their own proper natures and liberties.  God is not a watchmaker, nor is the universe a watch working in predetermined patterns. God is the God of liberty and contingency, of the random and the lawlike, Who respects the individuality of every lily in the field, every blade of grass, every singular human being.

Drawing upon this image of God, we Catholic laypersons, free citizens of a free economy in a free republic, see quite clearly the importance of providence on the part of human beings: the role of stewardship, responsibility for the future, the duty to think ahead. If we value the social device of free markets, as we do, it is neither because we believe that markets embody irrationality and arbitrariness nor because we believe that markets exempt human beings from provident forethought. On the contrary, we value free markets because they allow for fresh insight, for new initiatives, for astringent criticism of their current deficiencies, and for new courses of action to bring about newly desired results. The image of some “Invisible Hand” distorts the reality of markets. Aside from the swift, objective and indispensable information they give about real choices by real people, what is most valuable about markets is that they are open. Those concerned about stewardship, unmet needs, new necessities, and future requirements are able to enter markets and do new things. Markets, in short, allow for self-correction. They encourage habits of foresight and anticipation. They are a social device permitting the virtues of human providence to set to work within them.

Markets are, then, a form of “rational” planning, whose rationality does not flow from the brains of a small group of authorities, but from the millions of acts of concrete intelligence performed by all who participate in them. Each market act is an act of intellect and will; each has an impact on the market as a whole. The market is a kind of calculus of intelligent choices. Markets are a “rational” device, but not as small groups of experts are “rational.”

In this respect, we have reflected on an observation made by Pope John Paul II in discussing planning:

As we view the whole human family throughout the world, we cannot fail to be struck by a disconcerting fact of immense proportions: the fact that while conspicuous natural resources remain unused there are huge numbers of people who are unemployed or underemployed and countless multitudes of people suffering from hunger. This is a fact that without any doubt demonstrates that both within the individual political communities and in their relationships on the continental and world levels there is something wrong with the organization of work and employment, precisely at the most critical and socially most important points.

In our experience, these observations hold true most of all in those parts of the world in which markets do not function, individual intelligence is repressed, and human providence is frustrated.

In calling for “overall planning,” as he does in the same place, John Paul II stresses the liberties we think crucial:

In the final analysis this overall concern weighs on the shoulders of the state, but it cannot mean one-sided centralization by the public authorities. Instead, what is in question is a just and rational coordination, within the framework of which the initiative of individuals, free groups and local work centers and complexes must be safeguarded . . .

We are skeptical of entrusting planning to the state, for we see no government on this planet whose capacity wholly to direct free men and women we admire. We, therefore, welcome the Pope’s warning against “one-sided centralization by the public authorities,” and his reliance upon “the initiative of individuals” and “free groups” and “local work centers.”

Similarly, Pope Paul VI in Populorum Progressio, although wishing to supplement “the mere free play of competition,” warns public authorities to “avoid the danger of complete collectivization or of arbitrary planning, which, by denying liberty, would prevent the exercise of the fundamental rights of the human person.”And he describes those programs which should supplement the free play of competition as enabling each human being “to be the instrument of his own material betterment, of his own moral progress and of his spiritual growth.” That is, each human being ought to be free, self-reliant, self-determining, even while cooperating with others politically, economically, culturally.

Between the individual and the centralized state, therefore, there is, in the words of Pope John Paul II:

a wide range of intermediate bodies with economic, social and cultural purposes…bodies enjoying real autonomy with regard to the public powers, pursuing their specific aims in honest collaboration with each other and in subordination to the demands of the common good…living communities both in form and in substance in the sense that the members of each body would be looked upon and treated as persons and encouraged to take an active part in the life of the body.

Only an open, free market allows such intermediate bodies economic breathing space; no command economy can cede them autonomy. Furthermore, the freedom of the market allows such bodies to affect the market, even to create new particular markets for new goods and services. Markets allow for foresight and providence on the part of individuals and associations.

We judge markets to be by far the most successful social device ever discovered for keeping the future open, for instituting needed initiatives, and for meeting un-predicted challenges with wit and invention. The human race has by now experienced many planned societies. “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:20) From all the lessons of experience, we emphatically reject the illusion of rationalistic planning by experts, by states, or even by self-constituted planning groups.

By vivid contrast, we favor the virtues of providence, practiced by each individual, by associations of many sorts, and by the citizenry of entire communities. Taking thought for the future is a demanding exercise, which requires the talents and energies of all. By the principle of subsidiarity, they are most provident who best know the feel of concrete realities closest to them. “Strategic Planning” even within individual firms is often no match for swiftly changing economic realities, as recent evidence shows.'” Thus, those who try to make even tentative strategic judgments — whether in government, entire industries, local regions, individual firms, communities, or families — do well to consult as widely and as shrewdly as possible.

To be sure, shrewd foresight is seldom produced by committee. A certain personal genius or flare is required, as precious in this sphere of human activity as in any other. Often enough, “brainstorming” in small groups produces the most rounded and useful preconditions for accurate foresight. In our experience, however, the best foresight emerges finally in a single human breast, composed partly of hunch and practical wisdom, and only partly composed of conceptions easily articulated or easily proved. Often those who best foresee the future find it difficult to persuade others that they are correct; often they are ridiculed; not seldom, they are for a long time quite lonely in their views.

That, again, is why we so much value the free society and the open market. If providence were a virtue widely distributed, and if accurate foresight were common, we humans would see farther into the future than we usually do. As matters stand, prophets being frequently without honor among their peers, much depends upon a system which allows them to try out their ideas themselves, even without the necessity of convincing others of their correctness. A market system not only allows this but encourages it, as no other social system does.

Nonetheless, there are many things that entire peoples, governments, leaders in local communities, managers and workers in individual firms, and all citizens, can do to create an environment which rewards foresight and to nourish the virtue of providence in all.

All need to grasp the fragility of this Earth, small in space as it is. All need to grasp the dependence of one people upon another, simple human dependencies in such mundane matters as imports and exports, scarce capital and abundant labor, social ideas and such dazzling new industries as electronics, computers, and robotics. All need to recognize that if the Earth’s resources are to be used wisely and well, freedom of intellect and choice is the most precious of all goods,

Choice inevitably means this, not that; here, not there. In an age of international competition, peoples in every locality on earth must take forethought about their own future. It is not enough to assume that today’s industrial plant will last forever, escape obsolescence, be superior to competition from elsewhere. Providence is indispensable; cooperation and forethought are taxes the future levies on today.

Further, if the wealth hidden by the Creator in this largely untapped planet is to be brought forth in sufficient abundance to nourish the whole human family, today’s choices must be made wisely, efficiently, creatively, flexibly. A dynamic world economy is essential to this task. Such dynamism exacts great spiritual costs. Change is at its heart; social inventiveness — provident, cooperative — must keep pace. The condition of inventiveness is liberty.

For this reason, we humbly propose as a motto for the Church in this new age, not solely Justice and Peace, but Liberty, Justice and Peace. The Liberty of voluntary cooperation. The Liberty of providence. Liberty under law, liberty suffused with moral purpose. Liberty, in the end, is the contribution of the experience of the United States to the social teaching of the Catholic Church: LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.


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