682. As rest after labor is a necessity, is it a law of nature?
“Definitely. Rest restores the bodily powers and is also necessary to give a little more freedom to the mind, allowing it to rise above matter.”
683. What limits labor?
“It is limited by strength, but God gives human beings the freedom to decide this point for themselves.”
684. What should we think of those who abuse their authority by imposing too much labor on their subordinates?
“They commit one of the worst of crimes. All those exercising authority shall answer for any excess labor imposed by them on those who are under their orders, because they violate God’s law.” (See no. 273)
685. Do human beings have the right to rest in old age?
“Yes, they are only required to work according to their strength.”
a) Then what are the resources for old people who need to work for a living, but cannot? “The strong should work for the weak. When the family does not help, society should take its place. This is the law of charity.”
It is not enough to say that human beings need to work; they also should be able to find an occupation. This is not what happens. Whenever unemployment becomes widespread, it assumes the proportions of a scourge like scarcity. Economic science seeks a remedy for this problem in balancing production and consumption, but this balance is always subject to sporadic periods, assuming that it can be attained, and the worker must survive during these periods.
There is one element of the question that has not been considered sufficiently and economics is just a theory without it: education. Not merely intellectual education, but moral education, that which consists in the formation of character and habits, which human beings do not learn from books. Education is the sum of the habits acquired. When we consider that, many individuals are lost in the food of a population without principles, or direction and are left to their own instincts on a daily basis. Should we be surprised by the disastrous consequences that result?
When the art of education is properly understood and practiced, all human beings will have the habits of stability and prudence for themselves and for those who depend on them, and respect for what is worthy of respect. These habits will enable them to endure hard times with greater ease. Chaos and extravagance are social handicaps that only proper education can cure, and the spread of such education is the preliminary element of social well-being, which is the only guarantee of security for all.