In search of the common good

Malik, Kenan
Date Written:  2017-11-14
Publisher:  Pandaemonium
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21831

This essay examines the historical change in the meaning and understanding of the 'common good', particularly between ancient times and the modern world, and also takes a look at the social and political changes of recent decades that have shaped how we look at the issue.



The emergence of the modern world brought with it major changes that transformed the language of morality. In Europe, these changes took place from about the sixteenth century onwards.

One key change was the dissolution of traditional communities and traditional social relations. The coming of the market, the emergence of nascent capitalism, tore through feudal communities. Private property acquired new meaning, and increasingly took precedence over the common good. Common land, for instance – land that traditionally had been open to all for the common good – became enclosed and transformed into private property.

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