There are certainly some
positives in a digital economy and one can go on ‘ad nauseam’ highlighting some
of the benefits accrued because of the digital platforms to this modern age.Unfortunately, an objective and
a more dispassionate look into reality, will clearly show the negative impact
it has on millions of people.
The ordinary labourer is the
most affected by the digital economy. One of the most pathetic sights on the TV
screens and the print media to see pictures of migrant workers from all over
the Southern States in India walking back from the big cities to their homes in
the rural areas, in the height of the pandemic. These were men and women, for
whom digital platforms means absolutely nothing.
It is not without
reason that Pope Leo XIII in his pathbreaking Encyclical of 1891, ‘Rerum Novarum’ wrote “when there is
question of defending the rights of individuals, the poor and badly off have a
claim to especial consideration.The richer class have many ways of shielding
themselves, and stand less in need of help from the State; whereas the mass of
the poor have no resources of their own to fall back upon, and must chiefly
depend upon the assistance of the State”. One
hundred years later, in 1991, John Paul II in his encyclical ‘Centesimus Annus’ said, “Justice
will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is
asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an
opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment”.