看似抽象的，共同的命运的想法其实是很熟悉的。 通俗地说，我们知道这作为 更大的好处 或者它的同义词：在 公益 or 共同利益.
It is currently unfashionable to think about ourselves as having shared interests, collective purpose and a common future. A corollary of this is that it is unfashionable to think and talk seriously about the greater good.
As Bernard Salt recently noted, the power of the collective has subsided. Yet this has not always been the case and may not remain so for much longer. Indeed, it is important to remember, as the late Tony Judt reminded us, that our current condition is an acquired, not a natural, one.
Given this, it is salutary to reflect on the meaning of the greater good. After all, fortune favours the prepared mind.
An Idea With A Long Pedigree
The idea of the greater good has a long yet punctuated history, replete with diverging meanings.
To illustrate, Plato imagined an ideal state in which private goods and nuclear families would be relinquished for the sake of the greater good of a harmonious society. Aristotle defined it in terms of a communally shared happiness, whose key constituents were wisdom, virtue and pleasure.
More sustained engagement with the concept occurred in the 17th century with the rise of social contract theory. This was a school of thought that we ought to forfeit our absolute freedom to live as we wish for the greater good of the security of shared life in a community.
Subsequently, 18th- and 19th-century thinkers such as John Stuart Mill argued that the right course of action is that which creates the greatest “utility” for society — with utility defined as experiencing pleasure and avoiding pain.
In the 20th century, the greater good received renewed impetus with the work of John Rawls. And in the 21st century, intellectuals such as 乔姆斯基 和 齐泽克 are readdressing the concept in affirmative and critical ways, respectively.
An Evolving Concept
The most serious limitation of most historical ideas about the greater good is that they are silent on the greater good as it relates to non-humans and other natural systems.
At minimum, construing the natural systems in which we are nested as the ultimate means upon which all else depends admits the current and future state of the environmental “commons” into our understanding of the greater good.
Of course, the idea of the commons — collective goods to which all group members have free access — is an old one. Common goods (e.g. clean water, air) are clearly a vital, if no longer inevitable, part of the greater good.
Existing and 紧急 public goods, which include tangible (e.g. roads) and intangible (e.g. democracy) goods, are another indispensable category of collective goods. They reflect our ideals of what a “good society” looks like.
A Once And Future Idea
Australians are endowed with quantities of superb collective goods. By and large, we enjoy equitable access to these goods. However, with the possible exception of those who witnessed their introduction in the post-war years, most of us accept their existence and provision as an unanalysed fact of life.
Too few of us are alive to the meaning of the greater good, its vulnerability – despite its apparent solidity – and its reliance on our collective short-term sacrifice of time, money and effort to confer it equitably in the present and future.
Nevertheless, as 新的研究 表示，我们深为关切的集体物品，我们的孙子将继承的状态。 我们还对政治领导人的这些集体物品的领导感到震惊。
我们所拥有，因为我们一直拥有的理念，共同的利益和共同的未来 - - 的更大利益的含义的把握是至关重要的。 这是因为它改进了可能性，我们将 选择 什么 罗斯郜若素 呼吁以“政治像往常一样”和“一切照旧”的“公共利益”的方式来我们面临的挑战，而不是坚持下去。