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Centering economic affairs on justice and the person

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Václav Havel in 1994 expressed great concern that the Maastricht Treaty and other public documents which constitute the formal basis for the economic unification of Europe pay too little heed to the social values which for more than 2,000 years have shaped and formed European civilization and culture. What is missing is a vision for the European economic union beyond the specifics, as Havel puts it, of "how many carrots can be exported". Drawing heavily from the public statements of John Paul II, this article seeks to offer such a vision by making those social values more visible. Centrally important to this vision are justice and person about which John Paul has written extensively. The rights and duties set forth in this article derive from these two concepts, and are intertwined with them. Indeed, there is no justice without rights which are respected and duties which are lived, and human beings are not fully persons if their rights are not affirmed. Further, while rights and duties may be expressed somewhat differently from one cultural setting to the next, they are the same in principle for all.
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Keywords: Economic Systems; European Union; Rights Issues; Social Responsibility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2000

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