Ok, here's the major economic problem that no one seems to want to deal with.
1) We want the poor person to have his physical needs properly cared for.
2) We want the worker who produces goods to be properly compensated for his labor.
The two goals are mutually exclusive.
It is easier to properly care for the poor if the cost of goods is low. Thus, those who care for the poor want us to donate things so they can give them away, either for free, or at very low cost, so that the poor can afford to pay whatever the very low cost is.
BUT, someone has to produce those goods. If I buy the product for less, I am paying less. The only way I can justifiably pay less is if the goods are worth less. But if the goods are worth less, then the work of the one who produced them is - by definition - worth less. Indeed, if the goods are given away for free, then the work of the one who produced it is - again, by definition - actually worthless.
We cannot both properly compensate someone for the work they do AND properly care for the poor. Someone is going to get it in the neck.
Automation allows us to drive down the price because the worker is no longer producing anything at all. In fact, he isn't even working. Instead, the producer has purchased a machine, a tool, and the producer's tool is working 24x7, producing goods. Human work is expensive. The goods are inexpensive precisely because there is no human worker involved.
To feed, clothe, and house the poor, I have to remove as much expense from production as I can. Human workers will always be the first aspects of the production cycle to go.
On the downside, insofar as humans have no work, they do not receive a wage, and therefore become part of the mass of the poor. On the bright side, because the goods they need are now extremely inexpensive, we can much more easily feed, clothe and house them.
Machines eat up the low-skill jobs first because those are the cheapest to automate. Seven men can lift a burden, or I can use a machine, a lever, and lift it myself. By using the lever, I have put seven men on the unemployment line. But it is not a sin to use a lever, or any other machine, in order to streamline production and reduce the cost of goods, especially if my goal in reducing the cost of goods is to make it more affordable for the poor.
I don't know how to resolve this problem.
I'm not sure it can be resolved.
Someone is likely to answer "distributism", but that is no answer at all.
The Church hasn't figured out how to handle the problem represented by automation and the proliferation of machines, the proliferation of tools. In all of human history, we've never quite had the problem we now face - a culture so inundated with machines that the need for human labor is actually disappearing even as the human population continues to rise.
Pope Francis is trying to articulate the problem, but it isn't clear that he fully recognizes what is going on. To be fair, it's not clear many people do. Certainly those who oppose Francis or see him as some kind of socialist have no appreciation for the difficulties he is trying to articulate to us. No one knows what to do here. Our biggest problem right now is to clearly articulate the full extent of the problem. Any assistance anyone can give in this direction would be most helpful.