The common good is seen as the socio-political advantage for the majority in a specific community. However, the “good” for all can be anything but common. The contrast in values between varying cultures makes it difficult to universally define a moral good, so to broadly propose a system benefiting the majority, we must base the “good” on the basic human needs shared by all: Food, shelter, water etc. The role of human dignity in the common good is one that differs between states, some argue that the right to life encompasses the rights to human decencies, such as the freedom to exercise any religion publicly and institutionally. The thought driving the aspect of dignity is that by allowing freedom to practice cultures of their choosing, people will come together and form a community, one that employs a sense of duty; a responsibility to the larger framework of society. While the idea of the common good is one of hypothetical clarity, the governance of this system is one that often results in the peoples’ forfeit of their individual autonomy.
The allocation of resources and policy towards the benefit of the common good should be conducted in such a fashion that it nourishes and harvests the best out of society. In John Locke’s political philosophy, he states that in order to understand society, we must understand a situation that necessitates society, and create a simulation where there is an absence of such a society. From here, we are introduced into what is referred to as mans State of Nature, a political philosophy that states man is own his own, to protect and defend his own (Stanford, 2005). His rights extend as far as he can reach, and end where another becomes powerful enough to stop him. In order to acquire objective gains, Locke indicates that men will band together to take from another. This action will push the victimized party to band together to protect mutual assets. However, in this there are certain rights that must be surrendered. No longer can one man freely exercise his powers to take all that he can, because he might use this to undermine the society that has just been created by their mutual agreement. In this, we have what become the predecessors to laws, doctrine, and social norms that indicate how one should act as a part of that society. In return, one is guaranteed protection from others. This is the basic form of society.
In this, we develop the situation where the success of such models grow into different forms of societal models, and vary due to multiculturalism. The side effect of this is that there often become certain factors that prevent one from fully contributing to society, and therefore they are not entitled or have a limited access to the same benefits of that society because of either institutional or abstract barriers that prevent them from this assistance. At first, it becomes very clear that man must band together to protect their supplies of food, their shelters that they use as homes, and that they acquire properties, distribute them, and protect them. However, in this we also see specializations, and we see the development of markets in societies, which leads to social classes. In the process of social classes, we begin to see a muddled transformation of what the society truly intends to accomplish.
Here is where we see the role of government becoming an integral part of achieving a goodness to assist in the victims of social oppression. Ethical Altruism is a position that holds that we have a moral obligation to do what is in the benefit of others (Britannica, 2012). It is the opposite of selfishness and holds that our greatest benefit is the benefit of others. From this position we extract that our greatest progression and our most important duty is to provide for the common good of others. This position calls for us to reevaluate the traditional mindset that we must act in our own self-interest and holds that the barriers of society that once protected us are now so constraining that they are constrictive upon others to a degree that is considered oppression.
Globalization seeks to reduce these barriers that stand in the way of social progress. Richard Fisher of the New York times expresses this in an article he writes in which he states “Nations can no longer sit within their borders and pursue policies incompatible with an increasingly integrated world economy. The types of services, manufacturing and entrepreneurship that generate national wealth are more mobile than ever, and they will forsake countries that shackle business and labor with unnecessary burdens (Fisher, 2006).” This altruistic position taken into account with our new formed economy forces us to ask how we shall use globalization for the common good? This is answered by the inherently obvious statement that our future generations are quantitatively increasing and that our future as a global society depends on resources that grow scarcer, in certain areas, with specific uses, and a large quantity demand. No longer can an egoist position be taken where nations choose to economically pursue their own interest. We must look to specialization, free trade, and the comparative advantage to reduce the opportunity cost of goods in order to maximize resources. The common good demands that as stewards of resources we must embrace globalization through free trade. This will allow us to not only maximize our use of resources, but to ensure that other societies are able to gain access to goods and services that we as well as third party societies can provide in order to enhance the progress and living standards of others.
According to Kent T. Saunders of Anderson University, “Global organizations are needed to ensure that globalization is a source of peace rather than conflict and that markets are used for the benefit of all and the exploitation of no one. There currently exist many global organizations that are designed to promote economic growth and help in times of need (e.g. World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization). The World Bank is “a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world” with the ‘mission of global poverty reduction and the improvement of living standards’ (Saunders, 2007).” What he intends to say in this writing is that our best form of tackling these societal barriers would be through the use of international organizations that set ethical standards to assist in the measuring system of how we, on a global level, can use the market to achieve its purpose of success and corporate growth, and harbor an environment that is equally conducive to our charitable intent of achieving this common good.
Dr. Kamran Mofid writes in the Journal of Globalization for the Common Good, “We view the problem and challenge of globalisation not only from an economic point of view, but also from ethical, spiritual and theological perspectives. Globalisation for the common good is predicated on a global economy of sharing and community, grounded in an economic value system whose aim is generosity and the promotion of a just distribution of the world’s goods, services, natural resources, and wealth (Mofid, 2005).” It is here that we see affirmation in that this is a struggle not only in how markets work, and not simply who is to be burdened with this task, but how we are to do it. By what means, what goals, and to what extent we are called to enhance this common good.
Therefore, in conclusive analysis we have seen that contrasting cultures and varying resources invariably split nations apart just as much as the rules and laws that each other different societies form from the beginning of the development of societies. It is in this that we see where our most prominent flaw is relevant, and that our use of resources, allocation of goodness, and intentions of progress are so similar that our difference disappear before our eyes in the light of social progress. Globalization shows us the answer to solving the common good by sharing and moving in a direction of communal intertwinement that embraces the comparative advantage in markets, as well as the charitable heart of human kind. This is done through the reduction of social barriers and the implementation of international organizations as some of the more prominent and widely supported methods.