Crisis of work - the overcome

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Was it possible to avoid a crisis of work in Poland, which arrived with a six-year plan (it was something like the state strategy of productivity and development in years 1950-1955 in Poland)? In 1946 was published an extensive monograph of the Fr. Dr. Stefan Wyszynski (later Primate and Cardinal), written during the war in Laski near Warsaw. In it he says, inter alia: "Just look around you to see the fruits of human labour everywhere. We see in them the necessity and usefulness of human effort. We see that the work seeks to give new values to things that adapt them to our needs.

Purposefulness and usability is the stimulus for our work and test of its usefulness" [S. Wyszynski 1946, p. 27] (The usefulness and usability is here synonymous with quality of work and quality of its products), and further: "In every work our mind, will, emotions, and physical strengths are involved. The ideal image of a working man is when none of these gifts of man is excluded from participation in the course of work. Disturbance of this balance will always be detrimental to human, and even and for the same work" [S. Wyszynski, 1946, p. 28].

Unfortunately, time has shown that man was increasingly relegated to the role of additional, tertiary tool. A man has been subordinated to technique, plans, proclaimed ideals, and his work almost lost the sense, and ceased to be a reasonable measure of humanity. Employees were deprived from the will to improve themselves as well as work, and the desire of good, intelligent work. Meanwhile, in any well-organized labour there must be the place for its full understanding and acceptance, "The human mind and human will have to bring something to work.

The given order must be evaluated by mind. The mind (reason) shows us that in fact the best way to do the work of the human, to improvement of the work", wrote the Primate of the Millennium (Wyszynski) in 1946 published the work. Had the rulers in our country took in hand the "Spirit of human labour," read that work and reflected on what to do, how to ensure the full development of the human person, a high quality of work, global product quality and a decent standard of quality of life. Then decisions would not provoke a crisis of work from which we try to go out with difficulty. We need to put the man to restore his proper place in the production, co-operate to better meet the needs, to effective use of his work. This is possible only when the quality of work will increase as a result rather moral obligation and personal style than economic coercion. To this could happen, we must first strive for empowerment of human rights and restore the human dignity by the proposed introduction of the primacy:

  • The person over things,
  • Ethics over technology,
  • To be over to have,
  • Economics over politics.

Overcoming alienation of workers and crisis of work will make that will be eliminated internal contradictions between the man-producer, who produces anything and anyhow to earn as much as possible, and a man-consumer, who uses and consumes the products of low quality and high price. The need for the liquidation of the crisis of work and resulting conflict is a prerequisite for successful development of the Polish economy.

On the ideas of hatred and violence, fighting and intolerance and conflicts of interest and unresolved contradictions we won't build a healthy economy that produces products of high quality and do provides the desired quality of life for society. Since 1989 has changed the politico-social system, on the ruins of socialism started construction of capitalism, although the idea of uprising in August 1980 (Solidarność) was quite different. Can we beat the crisis of work and create the conditions for a radical increase in the quality of work?

Should be recalled here the words of the Primate of the Millennium in the so-called "Kazania Swiętokrzyskie" (1974): "We would like to liberate our homeland from the nightmare of recurrence of the capitalist spirit, because he had his great moral burden. You do not have to think that the Church favoured capitalism. The best testimony is all the social encyclicals,... The Church has always feared putting excess of matter over spirit.... We can afford to develop a model of modern life itself, that does not behold neither the right nor the left.... However, remember that the most important value in our homeland is the man...

The whole economic life is to serve man, to not allow slavery of man, because the slave is not a good employee" [S. Wyszynski 1974, p. 39-40].

Replacement of socialism with capitalism does not eliminate all the causes of the crisis of work. Some of them obviously disappeared, but in their place appeared new. First of all, was the primacy of capital over labour. Meanwhile, in the encyclical "Laborem Exercens" we read: "Thus the fruit of the work is everything that is intended to serve the work, which is - in the present state of the art - its a powerful tools, the group of the means of production - that is in a sense a synonymous of "capital" - was of work and bears the signs of human labour" [John Paul II, 1982, p. 1139]. Therefore, according to John Paul II in the production process, the man is the real efficient subject and a capital is an instrument subordinated to human labour. The principle of the primacy of "work" before the "capital" determines the implementation of the principle of increase of "man" over the "thing" and allows human empowerment in the workplace. "This truth has important and decisive importance" [John Paul II, 1982, s.1140]. The capital may not be the subject of abuse anonymous man and his work. If that is, the causes of the crisis of work arise, which deepens with expanding human objectification in the work process. This phenomenon we also now dealing with. This means that not only we did not have liquidated all the causes of the crisis of work but also accepted the new sources of this crisis. Obviously it's not conducive to a radical improvement of the quality of work and does not guarantee the intended increase in product quality. This means that the quality of life will not grow at the desired pace.

In 1983, Fr. Jozef Tischner wrote: "At the root of the ethos of solidarity lies the intention to restore the work of its own essence. Work should be what it is: the place of understanding between human beings. To do this, however, we have to expose all forms of pathology at work, and so forms of betrayal, which lodged in the bosom of the work. But it must also make positive suggestions and reveal new horizons of fidelity, potentially inherent in the work" [J. Tischner 1983, p. 47]. To these forms of pathology of work counts, among other things:

  • economic exploitation of labour or unfair wages - the essence boils down to the fact that the employer has committed to something that does not keep,
  • betrayal of informer who "exploits" trust to him and betrays human secrets; widespread suspicion, mistrust and incessant external control prevents the normal development work,
  • Pretending that in general has taken a commitment to the customer such as internal or external, if you build a house with defects, it means that it is not for us to build a house but for something completely different and our commitment included in the contract is a sham, "If the government closes a contract with a social group, but this agreement does not intend to comply, it means that there is betrayal at the very beginning of the action (allusion to the martial law in 1981-82). Pretending that a commitment was taken, provides pathology in work" [J. Tischner 1983, p. 47]. Developed as "an ethos of solidarity" in the field of work and to overcome the crisis of work can evaluate each of us in the organization in which he worked, works, or want to work.
  • All comments about Poland history made by translator to facilitate understanding.

See also:


  • Catholic Church. Pope (1978-2005: John Paul II), Paul II, P. J., & Caffarra, C. (1981). Laborem exercens. Libreria editrice vaticana.

Author: Tadeusz Wawak