After the conference: Work – Entrepreneurship – Social Market Economy

After the conference: Work – Entrepreneurship – Social Market Economy


Inspirations

  1. “Work on work has been assigned to us” (John Paul II, Szczecin 1987). Thirty-one years after the formulation of this appeal that is also a task assigned by John Paul II, it still remains without a profound answer on our side, as a task “not fully completed”, despite its importance for the common good of all and for the Polish social order.
  2. “What is work? Let me answer: work is a special form of conversation between man and man, serving to sustain and develop human life. In short: work is a conversation in the service of life “(Józef Tischner, Etyka solidarności, Kraków 2005, p. 25).
  3. We live in a world of interdependence between people. “It is all about the fact of interdependence understood as a system that determines relations in the modern world, in its economic, cultural, political and religious components; interdependence accepted as a moral category. A proper response to this understanding of interdependence – as a moral and social attitude, as a “virtue” – is solidarity. It is not […] only unspecified compassion or superficial affection in the face of the evil that afflicts many people, close or distant. On the contrary, it is a strong and lasting will to engage on behalf of the common good, that is the good of everyone and anyone, because we are all really responsible for everyone. This will is based on a profound conviction that inhibition of full development is due to the desire for profit and […] the desire for power. “(John Paul II, Sollicitudo rei socialis, No. 38).

Challenges

  1. “Pseudo dogmas” about business present in the public discourse:

Deep social inequalities are imminent, all victims of political transformation are themselves guilty, industrial production is outdated, we Poles have no chance in the innovation race, so the future of Poland is to become a huge service base for technologically developed countries, capital has no nationality in any case, vocational education is a relic of the communist era.

  1. Questions about the labour market and employees

How to respect important free-market rules of the game, while at the same time protecting employees from exploitation? What is fair pay and decent work? What do the plans for reindustrialisation so important in Poland mean in the context of work and the employee? How to respond to the contemporary challenges of employment brought by progressive digitization, robotics and artificial intelligence? How to maintain the necessary employment flexibility while providing employees with the necessary sense of stability?

  1. Understanding the common good in terms of Catholic social teaching in the labour sector, entrepreneurship and the social market economy

Common good in the institutional aspect

Social and political environment – “friendly, responsible and stable”; social trust, business ethos, a cross-party strategy for the development of the economic sector.

Legal environment – “transparent and helpful, adapted to people”; labour law, law on entrepreneurs, tax law.

Infrastructure environment – “modern and serving to develop human creativity”; innovative research and development centres, academic and economic clusters, highly-developed know-how.

Common good in the individual aspect

Work – “a tool helpful in implementing the essence of our humanity”: In the material dimension – professional skills, earning a living. In the spiritual dimension – creativity, innovation, trust, solidarity. In the religious dimension – cooperation with the “working” God, “co-creation”.

Work environment – “the place where our humanity is implemented and where human life is maintained and developed, respecting and promoting human dignity, supportive responsibility and creativity” through: humanization of work – Catholic social teaching: the principle of the primacy of man over work, humanization of pay – Catholic social teaching: the principle of “decent pay”, personal development – Catholic social teaching: development of human potential of “all” and “everyone” who works.

Postulates to reflect on and debate (speech by Jaroslaw Gowin)

We need to rethink what social market economy means. “The economic model which was developed in Poland after 1989 is to a small extent ‘social’, but perhaps it is even less ‘market-oriented’. Rather, during these twenty-odd years, barriers hindering entrepreneurship and freedom of economic activity have grown. “We need to balance what is ‘social’ and what is ‘market’ in the economy.

Family, with particular emphasis on the place of women in the labour market. “In recent years, much has changed in this respect for the better, but it is still not enough and reflection is needed on the place of the family in the economic order. For example, since we are talking about women, we must promote employment flexibility for those women who want to combine motherhood with work. In the case of those women who prefer to devote themselves exclusively to the children in the family, we should finally and seriously consider their efforts as respected and appreciated work.”

If we want Poland to develop, we must break out of the political vicious circle. “If we want to create a long-term cross-party strategy, it must be reflected in all the areas of social and public life. Thus, for example, the Labour Code must be co-created also by the objectives of this cross-party strategy for development or a cross-party strategy to benefit the family.”

Pay rises at all levels of education but linked with staff and education quality: “Without this, we can forget not only about an economy that will be efficient, but also about an economy that will create a work-friendly environment promoting development.”

Increasing work efficiency: “For years, various data have indicated the extraordinary industriousness of the Poles compared to others, however, at the same time we still lose due to our inefficiency. Hence, we must put more emphasis on greater coordination, removing obstacles, and applying innovative reserves. ”

The future of the middle class: “Middle class is the driving force behind economic development. We should strive for an economic model that will encourage the growth of the middle class. ”

If, as reverend father Tischner said, work is a conversation between man and man, we must restore the capital of mutual trust in our dramatically divided society. “Social trust is one of the basic conditions for economic development. Even the best labour codes will not help us, and neither will any programmes, co-funding and schemes if there is no mutual trust, respect and cooperation in Poland. ”

Initiatives

Establishment in Łódź of a centre focusing on work, entrepreneurship and social market economy. A measure taken by the Rector of the Łódź University of Technology “that Łódź should become a place for reflection on work, entrepreneurship and social market economy. In order for Łódź’s academic circles to become a place of such reflection, not for to sake of the city of Łódź itself, but taking place in Łódź, a space for reflection, which will also welcome various groups. “It is about brainstorming the subject and about in-depth analysis by people who want to take up and continue this “work on work” assigned to us by John Paul II.