Sun | Jan 24, 2021

Fighting for the common good

Published:Tuesday | February 11, 2020 | 12:27 AM


The ‘common good’ are those facilities – material, cultural or institutional – that a community provides to all members in order to fulfil a relational obligation they all have to care for certain interests that they have in common. The most cogent examples of the common good are water and air – essential for life. Water and air can be polluted or, like in Jamaica, some communities have problems accessing clean drinking water. A society cannot function and be united if the common good is not a major part of the political and social reality.

One practical manifestation of the common good is the public good. A public good is a product that one individual can consume without reducing its availability to others and from which no one is deprived.

The modern democratic reality in Jamaica is based on divisive politics – us against them. Politicians practise divide and rule. Even criminals are products of our political and social system. They made bad decisions when dealing with unfavourable socio-economic conditions. If you just punish them without dealing with the conditions that created them, you are not solving the social problem.

To heal the nation, politics must emphasize the common good or it is mere divisive politics.


The common good is achieved when we work together to improve the well-being of people in our society and the wider world. The rights of the individual to personal possessions and community resources must be balanced with the needs of the disadvantaged and dispossessed.

This is an alternative perspective that has helped nations to rise. The country rises when the populace has the conviction that their country provides them with their material and social needs – the common good – so they work fiercely for the common good.