In the year 2008, the world was hit by a disastrous financial crisis which was rooted from the U.S housing market. Since the great depression in 1930s, this was the worst recession to have occurred. This crisis affected U.S economy greatly and expanded out through Europe to the rest of the world. this crisis affected economies, disintegrated financial corporations and impoverished individual lives.
The issue of common good was not addressed well before this crisis hit the world. before the crisis, the housing market did not consider the well being of all. Giving of subprime loans, gave rise to housing bubble between 2005 and 2006. Government policies enacted did not consider the well being of anybody but only centered on amassing profits. Faulty mortgages affected the housing market and in the long run caused a lot of consequences. With occurrence of this event, unemployment went down, there were massive evictions in America. The rate at which foreclosures of houses happened was very high such that banks were forced to give faulty and very risky loans that caused a lot of problems in the banking sector. From this, it is evident that no one benefited from this crisis. There was no common good between any involved party. Fortunately, the government of the United States came to the rescue by the huge bailout of financial institutions to save them from the impeding collapse. The financial regulations and policies on housing mortgage were changed. Australia was able to withstand this at some extent.
Common good according to Scanlon (1998), is the morality of right and wrong. This means that people should conform to certain moral standards. In a community, a member should stand in a social relationship. They should think and operate in ways that show a kind of mutual concern. Common good entails elementary necessities of social justice, as human being should offer each other some essential rights and freedoms and should not take advantage of each other. Common good goes beyond these requirements of justice since it needs citizens to uphold particular patterns of comportment on the grounds that these outlines are obliged to certain mutual interests. In order to uphold the virtue of common good, citizens and stakeholders should share this responsibility. states should remember that the benefits of economic growth are a substance of common good.
Upholding these requirements of common good helps, one maintain dignity. Human dignity is a very important aspect of human life. In pursuit of human dignity, one is able to promote the virtue of common good. Respect for human dignity is the major way in which common good is achieved. Promotion of human dignity goes hand in hand with the aspect of common good. According to John Rawls’s book “A theory of justice”, he says that when sharing the fruits of economic growth, in order to uphold common good and human dignity, it is advisable to remember that these paybacks belong to the common good. This will promote justice and satisfy all. Respect for human dignity promotes justice.
The problem of common good can be addressed in many ways. Having a solidaristic concern is one of the ways of promoting common good. Common good in some cases has been defined as practical reasoning that resembles the solidarity model. Solidarity in this concept means having the courtesy of offering a particular part of another person’s interests a status in you such that it is analogous to the status that that person gives those particular interests in their own reasoning. This means in an example that if a friend needs somewhere to sleep, it is in that person’s mind that I should offer him the couch. For the common good, I have to do this because in a friendship it is required that I should take the events that affect my friend’s basic interests like they were affecting my basic interests in the same manner.
According to a conception of common good, it is advisable for a community to keep certain facilities because they in one way or the other serve the same needs. So, when citizens think as the conception necessitates, they efficiently present the interests of their fellow citizens with a status in their reasoning that is similar to the status that they give to their own welfares in their cognitive. This kind of solid thinking ensures that the citizens are thinking in the same line and for the good of each other.
Another way of promoting common good is by having a non-aggregative concern. This means that we should not be concerned with the aggregate results. The outsets of the common good do not take a collective view of individual interests. The general view of individual interests treats them as commensurable values, and may lead to citizens striving to maximize the amount of these values. Since their main concern is the aggregate, this may lead to some citizens imposing deliberate harsh conditions such as slavery to their fellows so that they can realize sufficient profits out of them. although this might realize substantial benefits, it is a failure of citizens to promote common good for all.
Advocacy means deployment of resources and power in dealing with societal problems. This involves all efforts involved in protest against what you don’t want while pushing for what you want while partnering with the real groups so as to achieve what you want. The main goal of advocacy is to achieve a visible change in both individual and social reality. Since advocacy goal is to achieve a better outcome for the bigger population, especially community, advocacy can be an important too in stopping the aggregate ideas of the community. This will help in attaining the non-aggregative concern which is good for the aspect of common good. With help of good people who have the right expertise and experience, it is possible to sensitize everyone in the community on the need to have a common good. Since advocacy is the transfer of information from one person to another, use of letters, phone calls and emails is helpful.
Community engagement is an expression personal mission to transform and change those surrounding us. This happens by association with all classes of human beings in the community- the privileged, poor, oppressed and the vulnerable one. Community engagement requires us to work with the people rather than work with them. this means we collaborate with others to address the problems in the community, and each person in the community should be open to change and influence from the other and change. Through community participation it is easy to promote the aspect of solidarity concern. Since those in the community stand a chance of being advised and changed, it is through this that we can instill the aspect of caring for others as would like to be done to us for the purpose of common good.
In conclusion the common good is a great aspect that should be observed in day to day life endeavors. It plays the central role in reflection about the public and private dimensions of social life. In order to maintain human dignity, we should promote common good. Having a solidaristic and a non-aggregative concern toward other human beings help promote common good. It is through advocacy and community participation that we can promote the common good.
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Peters, Glen P., et al. “Rapid growth in CO 2 emissions after the 2008–2009 global financial crisis.” Nature Climate Change 2.1 (2012): 2.