THE SOURCE: “The Church of Labor” by Lew Daly, in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, Fall 2011.
Why do roughly 70 percent of European workers have collective bargaining coverage, while only 13 percent of their American counterparts do? Religion is a surprisingly big part of the answer.
In Europe, politics evolved hand in hand with forms of Christianity—especially Catholicism—that were sensitive to “labor’s dignity in a religious sense,” observes Lew Daly, author of God’s Economy: Faith-Based Initiatives and the Caring State (2009). As a result, in many parts of Europe, natural associations such as the family, churches, and labor unions were incorporated into public structures and protected from market competition because they were seen “as vital instruments of the common good.”
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