In Labor, Solidarity and the Common Good, edited by S.A. Cortright, five scholars bring analyses of the subjective dimension of human work to bear on issues at the root of managerial practice. Because the authors view work as a human and humanizing activity, the essays variously demonstrate how reflection on the human ends of work points to forms of solidarity that empower enterprises to promote the good of their members and the wider community. A general introduction, “Human Work: Hinge of the Social Question,” traces the essays’ roots in Catholic social thought and situates them in relation to contemporary social ethics. Each essay is complemented by a response that assesses weaknesses in the argument and points to further research and reflection.
James B. Murphy (Government, Dartmouth College) examines “The Quest for a Balanced Appraisal of Work,” looking both to the evolution of Catholic social teaching and to the requirements of a humane economy. James Gordley (Law, University of California, Berkeley) outlines a doctrine of contracts in “Labor and Commutative Justice,” explaining present trends in the courts’ decision-making and showing how the courts’ ad hoc reasoning can be reduced to consistent jurisprudence. Thomas Cavanaugh (Social Ethics, University of San Francisco) examines a theory of property calculated to promote community in “Aquinas's Account of the Ineradicably Social Nature of Private Property.” Michael Naughton (Management, University of St. Thomas) shows in practical detail how and why the ideal of the just wage is within the reach of contemporary strategic management in “Managers as Distributors of Justice.” J. Michael Stebbins (Director of the Gonzaga Institute of Ethics, Gonzaga University) explores “The Meaning of Solidarity” through everyday patterns of economic and social cooperation.
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