Recovering the Common Good: The Key to a truly Prosperous Society?
This article argues that the common good would have much to contribute to political discourse in New Zealand at the present time. Beginning with a definition of the concept, particularly as it has developed within Catholic Social Teaching, the article examines attempts by New Zealand church leaders to introduce it into public debate in recent decades, and concludes that, were the common good to be given serious consideration today, it would both prompt New Zealanders to look critically at their society and consider the purpose of their common life together, and enhance their quality of life individually and communally. The article addresses the charge that promoting the common good might be seen as favouring one (religiously-inspired) notion of 'the good life' over others, and, following Raymond Plant, suggests that, in a pluralist society, a more appropriate starting point for a conversation about such issues would be an exploration of 'social justice'. The article also explores the extent to which markets and governments might promote the common good.
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Authors retain copyright in their work published in the Victoria University of Wellington Law Review.