Work and value: More than economics – Businessday NG

Work is a commonly used concept in many fields of life yet perceived differently. A job or career path is a broad framework within which we carry out many activities during our wakeful hours. It is thus unarguably very important that we carry out good work, as it occupies a great portion of our lives. The value of work is clearer when we perceive its contribution to achieving self-development (and the means needed to attain self-development and community sustenance) and thus see it as part of our pursuit of happiness. Work then is a necessity for humans and engagement at work is an important aspect of wellbeing. This article clarifies some misconceptions about work as a burdensome punishment, based on insights from Laborem Excercens and philosophy.

Laborem Excercens presented work as a means of self-development. It is our way of dominating the world, which shows we are in control over our natural habitat. Being rational animals, applying that capacity to reason in adapting the world to our needs, we can develop ourselves while responsibly using the resources naturally available to us. Laborem Excercens points out that work is an activity by humans, whether manual or intellectual, whatever its nature or circumstances, directed towards chosen purposes. These activities are permeated by rationality which is proper to human nature, whether rightly or wrongly applied, and which gives value to human work whether it be cooking, sweeping or executive office work.


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