Catechism of the Catholic Church

584 Part Three 2430 Economic life brings into play different interests, often op­ posed to one another. This explains why the conflicts that charac­ terize it arise. 216 Efforts should be made to reduce these conflicts by negotiation that respects the rights and duties of each social partner: those responsible for business enterprises, representatives of wage-earners (for example, trade unions), andpublic authorities when appropriate. 2431 The responsibility of the state. “Economic activity, especially the activity of a market economy, cannot be conducted in an institutional, juridical, or political vacuum. On the contrary, it presupposes sure guarantees of individual freedom and private property, as well as a stable currency and efficient public services. Hence the principal task of the state is to guarantee this security, so that those who work and produce can enjoy the fruits of their labors and thus feel encouraged towork efficiently andhonestly. . . .Another task of the state is that of overseeing and directing the exercise of human rights in the economic sector. However, primary responsi­ bility in this area belongs not to the state but to individuals and to the various groups and associations which make up society.” 217 2432 Those responsible for business enterprises are responsible to society for the economic and ecological effects of their opera­ tions. 218 They have an obligation to consider the good of persons and not only the increase of profits. Profits are necessary, however. They make possible the investments that ensure the future of a business and they guarantee employment. 2433 Access to employment and to professions must be open to all without unjust discrimination: men and women, healthy and dis­ abled, natives and immigrants. 219 For its part society should, ac­ cording to circumstances, help citizens find work and employment. 220 2434 A just wage is the legitimate fruit of work. To refuse or withhold it can be a grave injustice. 221 In determining fair pay both the needs and the contributions of each person must be taken into account. “Remuneration for work should guarantee man the op­ portunity to provide a dignified livelihood for himself and his family on the material, social, cultural, and spiritual level, taking 216 CA 48. 217 Cf. CA 37. 218 Cf. LE 19; 22-23. 219 Cf. CA 48. 220 Cf. Lev 19:13; Deut 24:14-15; Jas 5:4. 221 GS 67 § 2. 1908 1883 2415 1867