Debt, Value and Dignity – as a Human Value and as a Moral Value
This paper examines the relation between debt, value and dignity in the context of the still present European Union debt crisis. It considers dignity as a human value and as a moral value. Dignity is namely closely related to a human value, dignity and (human) value or worth being synonymous, as well as the most important moral value for the European Union, as evidenced from the Treaty of Lisbon. It is stated that both in the contexts of labour and of debt, the contradictive elements necessity and freedom have a vital impact on human dignity, and thus also on human essence (or being) and value as the two essential ingredients of dignity. The argument of this paper is that value plays a key role for losing dignity or a loss of dignity both in the contexts of labour and of debt. Namely, in the context of labour what is critical is the value of things, and in the context of (public) debt what is critical is the value of debt, since both values are considered to be in a contraposition with the human value or the value of man (worker and debtor or rather “debtor”). It is thus reasoned that value held primarily in the interests of the economic market is counter to human value and human dignity; however, it is not also counter to moral value, as dignity is not just a human value but also a moral value. Namely, it is noticed that the role of the moral values is to mask the importance of such value held primarily in the interests of the economic market on the one side and the simultaneous unimportance of the human value on the other side. Thus, although the European Union publicly promotes both sides of value, the difference is that the value held primarily in the interests of the economic market is being promoted in actuality, whereas human value is being promoted only in words, first and foremost vía statements of morality.
Subjectshuman dignity, human value/worth, moral value, (public) debt, labour, value of things, value of debt, European Union
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