Submitted by Arthur Dahl on 5. June 2011 - 18:42
e-learning centre on sustainable development


Heading: Economy    Topic: Employment

If the aim of an economy is to generate wealth, then employment is one of its most critical components. Work in a craft or profession enables everyone to create wealth for themselves and others. Leaving anyone unproductive is a waste of the economic potential of society.

Employment therefore involves the mutual responsibility of both the individual and society. The individual has a moral obligation to work, both to contribute productively to society and for the spiritual benefit that comes from being of service. Idle people who lack the desire to work can have no place in a sustainable society. Society must also give every individual the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in some kind of profession, as well as the means of utilizing such a talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning a livelihood. Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, should engage in some work or profession, including homemaking and other forms of work that are of fundamental importance to society but not presently considered employment. If a person is incapable of earning a living, is poverty-stricken or helpless, then society should provide him with a monthly allowance for his subsistence.

Human potential varies throughout a lifetime. If it is the goal of a sustainable society to utilize all the available human potential, then the concept of a single career becomes obsolete, and employment could take many forms, with different activities mixed or replaced as appropriate throughout one's life. Retirement would only be necessary when advancing age and infirmities make regular employment too difficult.

It should be a fundamental goal of any economic system to create employment for everyone.


Bahá'u'lláh. 1873. The Kitáb-i-Aqdas. The Most Holy Book. Bahá'í World Centre, Haifa, 1992. Note 56 to para. 33, p. 192-193.

Article last updated 29 June 2006

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