The Common Good

 

“We face a crisis about the common good because there are powerful forces at work among us to resist the common good, to violate community solidarity, and to deny a common destiny. Mature people, at their best, are people who are committed to the common good that reaches private interests, transcends sectarian commitments, and offers human solidarity”
-Walter Brueggemann
Journey to the Common Good

The single-minded pursuit of profit has led the world economic system down a catastrophic blind alley. In the face of staggering unemployment rates, mass migration, widespread starvation, global warming, the financial meltdown and the credit crunch, it seems fair to question whether capitalism is conducive to fundamental and authentic human development. Capitalism, with its obsessive focus on the maximization of wealth, is not concerned with the common good or creating fraternity; its sole orientation is profit. Capitalism downplays human dignity, ethical concerns and social justice.

A downside of our current market-driven economic system is that it tends to isolate people into individual consumers. Christianity, through its understanding of the Trinity, is relational. We are all connected, all sons and daughters of God. Jesus calls us to a personal relationship with God and our neighbor. Jesus reduced the entire Law to a course of social action animated by a single word: charity. Jesus offers us a true and effective antidote to the ills of greed. Charity – given and received – is everything.

Materialism and consumerism are stumbling blocks to entering fully into the transcendent faith to which Christ calls us. Our society glorifies the amassing of individual wealth and an ever growing greater accumulation of goods. In our society, anything that furthers our goal of individual material prosperity is considered good; and anything that hinders it is considered bad. Ethics and morality are not part of the equation. Economic individualism and the idea of free competition without reference to the common good goes against the spirit of the Gospels.

“The more material abundance we have or seek, the more likely we are to starve from the scarcity of the Spirit.”
-Parker J. Palmer
The Company of Strangers:
Christians and the Renewal of America’s Public Life

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3 Responses to “The Common Good”


  1. 1 aliceny April 7, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Powerfully, beautifully, and cogently said, Gerry.
    Thank you. Have shared it with most on my email list.

  2. 2 luigidaniele April 9, 2014 at 9:26 am

    Capitalism: the worst economic system ever invented-excepting all the rest. 😉
    Capitalism isn’t the problem. Crony capitalism is. That and soulless Big Business.


  1. 1 Cactus Flower in Scottsdale Trackback on July 28, 2014 at 3:59 pm

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