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What is the Common Good?


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Introductory speech at the Common Good Forum, Paris Aug 25 2013

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What is the Common Good?

  1. 1. Prof. Claude Rochet Common Good Forum Paris 25 aout 2013
  2. 2. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *The first Resistance against nazi and Vichy rule was spiritual *A legal regime is illegitimate if it infringes the principles of the common good *Citizens may appreciate the legitimacy in the eyes of the natural right
  3. 3. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * “…not the individual good, but the common good is what makes Cities great. And, without doubt, this common good is not observed except in Republics » Machiavelli, Discourses, II, 2 « … it should be said that the common good of the city and the particular good of one person differ not only according to quantity (to much and little), but according to a formal difference. The meaning of the common good and that of the singular good are different, just as the meaning of the whole and the part are different. » Summa Theologica II-II, q. 58, 7 ad 2 More than the sum of the parts, so… … Where stands the common good? … Who, and how to, define(s) it? ….What is it for?
  4. 4. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *The Sharing of the Good: *Pooling the good(s): i.e public services, commons… *The Commonality of the Common Good *Has everyone access to the good in common?: i.e equality of access to public services, capacity to use the commons (A. Sen) *The Good of the Common Good *The systemic effect of the common good: * How the good of the individual improves by living in a society ruled by the common good * How the interplay between the one and the global improves the common good? Ref: Gaston Fessard “Autorité et bien commun”
  5. 5. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *The sum of the private goods *The common goodS *The general interest *A defined moral norm *A convention from the contractual law *A decision of the ruler or of the majority against the minority *More than the sum: an emerging reality *The use of the goods *A permanent process of deliberation *General lines to be found by human reason according to the principles of natural right * The common good is a deliberative process, not a content!
  6. 6. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *Political: *A demarcation line between negative liberty (each individual is naturally free and knows what is good for him: the common good is the sum of private goods, Cf. Isaïah Berlin) and positive liberty (man aspires to liberty but is not free: liberty is a constructivist process, Cf Machiavelli, A. Sen) *Without common good, there is no political life since there is no end for the society that is superior to individual ends *The common good requires an active political life, the Machiavelli’s vivere politico that allows the many of the people to offset the power of the few rich. The common good can’t exist without deliberation and confrontation : the common good is the source of the legitimacy of the State
  7. 7. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *Economical: * A demarcation line between economy as a man created activity (increasing returns economy) and economy as nature given activity (decreasing returns) * The assumption of a common good incites to institutions that favor synergies between economic activities * Synergies reinforce the common good since global prosperity depends on the interplay between each economic player & vv. Global prosperity is not the sum of selfishness but the product of synergies brought about by the common good
  8. 8. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *Social: *A demarcation line between liberal individualism (each one is responsible for his own fate) and republicanism (capacitation + meritocracy + protection against misfortune) *Each man is guided by benevolence toward others and hungers for justice (Cicero’s mutual offices, Renaissance civic humanism, Adam Smith’s sympathy…) *Social life is the source of (informal) institutions at small scale (Oström) and the State is the institution of institutions (Hauriou) at large scale Prosperity relies on citizens’ commitment in social life
  9. 9. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * *Emergence: A reality that doesn’t exist in itself but is the abstract product of interactions between tangible realities that allows the global system of the society to be consistent Polity Economy Social life Common Good *This system is dynamic and adaptive: it maintains its stability through transition and change
  10. 10. 25/08/13Prof. Claude Rochet - Coomon good forum Paris * LOVE - SENSE MORAL LAW & POLITICS TECHNO-ECONOMIC Angélism Cynism Tyranny Common good Ordering your thinking according logical categories: A problem in each categories has its own logic, but needs to resort to the superior category. Ignoring this leads either to cynism (rash materialism), angelism (ignoring the contingency) or tyranny (reducing every problem to one category) (Inspired from Blaise Pascal)