Third Sunday of Lent, Part 2

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This is part two. Go to part one.

Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.

Summary: Sustainable economic growth will require societies to create the conditions that allow people to have quality jobs that stimulate the economy while not harming the environment. Decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.

Reflection question: How can I support dignified and valued work for all laborers in my workplace? How can I support dignified and valued work for all laborers in the businesses I patronize?

Learn more about the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

About Work

  1. The global unemployment rate stood at 5.6% in 2017, down from 6.4% in 2000, and corresponds to 192.7 million unemployed persons.
  2. Unemployment among youth (aged 15 to 24) reached 13% in 2014, nearly three times higher than the rate for adults.
  3. In 2017 there were around 300 million workers in extreme poverty, living on less than US$1.90 per day.
  4. Only 29% of the global population has comprehensive social security; the other 71% are not, or only partially, protected.
  5. Fewer than 45% of wage and salaried workers are employed on a full-time, permanent basis, and even that share is declining.
  6. Globally, 61% of all workers were engaged in informal employment in 2016.
  7. According to the International Labor Organization, there are some 168 million children currently living under slave-like conditions of forced labor, and a great part of that number comes from the production of goods that we consume daily in our lives such as coffee, cotton and chocolate.
  8. Men earn 12.5% more than women in 40 out of 45 countries with data.
  9. In high-income countries, almost every adult has an account at a bank or other financial institution, compared to only 35% of adults in low-income countries. Across all regions, women lag behind men in this regard.
  10. 500-600 million new jobs need to be created by 2030, just to keep pace with the growth of the working age population.

Food for Thought

The Dignity of Work

The economy must serve people, not the other way around. Work is more than a way to make a living; it is a form of continuing participation in God’s creation. If the dignity of work is to be protected, then the basic rights of workers must be respected--the right to productive work, to decent and fair wages, to the organization and joining of unions, to private property, and to economic initiative.

"Growth in justice requires more than economic growth, while presupposing such growth: it requires decisions, programs, mechanisms and processes specifically geared to a better distribution of income, the creation of sources of employment and an integral promotion of the poor which goes beyond a simple welfare mentality. I am far from proposing an irresponsible populism, but the economy can no longer turn to remedies that are a new poison, such as attempting to increase profits by reducing the work force and thereby adding to the ranks of the excluded." (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel [Evangelii Gaudium. . . ], no. 204)

Prayer

God, Faithful Shepherd, we pray for children around the world who are deprived of a quality education.

Help parents to understand that children need an education to have the full and abundant life you came to give them.

Remove the barriers to education that some people experience due to conflict-affected countries, economic situations, social conditions and poverty.

Help us to change society’s systems and to build a momentum around the world where all people are provided opportunities for life-long learning.

We pray, too, for all who labor. Thank you for our hands and minds that work to provide food and sustain lives. Give us courage to protect the dignity of work and respect the basic rights of all workers. Guide us as we work to stop modern slavery —forced labor, child-labor, and human trafficking.

May the voices of workers be heard in the seeking of a financial progress and economic growth that creates dignified, valued, and fulfilling jobs while protecting our environment. We count on the power of your Spirit in our efforts. Amen.

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