From « common goods » to the « common good of humanity »

This text, prepared by Francois Houtart, was presented by Francine Mestrum to the conference From ‘Common Goods’ to the ‘Common Good of Humanity’, organized by the Rosa Luxembourg Foundation in Rome, 28-29 April 2011, and revised after the conference discussions. The text has also served as the basis of a document for the Instituto de Altos Estudios Nacionales (IAEN) of Quito and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Ecuador.

All round the world there is deep unease caused by the growing divisions in society, lack of respect for justice, youth unemployment, abuse of power, destruction of na- ture. A new wave of social movements has emerged. The Social Forums enabled their globalization. A collective social consciousness is developing that things cannot go on like this. The economic development model that we have, with its political, cultural and psychological consequences, is at the origin of these imbalances. But it is neces- sary to find solutions urgently. The time has come to put forward new orientations and not just adaptations of the existing system. To reflect on this and to bring to- gether the forces for change has become a top priority.

Alongside the Italian initiative for a referendum on water (one of the ‘common goods’), the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation organized a conference entitled From ‘Common Goods’ to the ‘Common Good of Humanity’, at Rome in April 2011. The aim was to reflect on the connections between the two notions, i.e. ‘common goods’ and ‘Common Good of Humanity’, in order to encourage thinking about the links be- tween the two notions and to integrate the demands and social struggles for a change of society.

(see the full article in the attached pdf file)



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