reply to post by oghamxx
Is the public good a political/legal and/or economic concept?
All of the above, at least.
A common good may be strictly defined as one in which all members of a group or community share. Specific examples range from the air we breathe,
through property rights held 'in common' by all members of a group (such as rights to a piece of land on which all members of a community may graze
their cattle, hunt or gather firewood) to the services and benefits, such as law enforcement or the public transport system, which larger societies
create for the use and benefit of their members, and even rights such as freedom of movement, expression or assembly.
This strict definition does not require all members of the group to have an equal share in the common good. However, nobody may be denied his share of
the benefit from it except in very unusual circumstances. These are commonly defined by law or tradition.
A less strict definition uses 'the common good' as a synonym for 'the public interest.' This is much trickier to pin down. The term is most frequently
heard in discussions relating to an action or proposed action that is thought to affect the public weal. The difficulty here is, of course, that some
people may perceive an action or programme as being of benefit to the general public, while others will perceive it as detrimental. Often these
opposed positions will reflect the holders' private
interests, so that the debate over the common good masks a struggle between factions each
seeking to secure its own interests. Libertarian types will often deny the concept of the public good altogether, claiming that only individual
interests exist. I feel this is going rather too far.
Should it be given a specific binding legal definition?
In a free, democratic society, strict definitions of the common good or the public interest are neither possible nor desirable. Everyone has a right
to his or her own opinion. All deserve a hearing and some merit serious consideration. The subsequent debate may be heated, but so long as the
mechanisms of peaceful decision-making retain their democratic integrity and a reasonable degree of transparency this is not really a concern.
Does/should it prohibit industry specific or social class beneficial legislation?
Only if the benefits to the industry, class or other select group are enjoyed at the expense of other members of society. Which they very often are,
Can/should it exclude those who don't have skin in the game?
Such as a property qualification for voters, you mean? There used to be one in the early days of the franchise, in England and elsewhere, but this was
soon found to be impractical as well as socially unjust.
Some people seem to think that non-taxpayers shouldn't vote, or shouldn't be entitled to state support when unemployed. Aside from being selfish and
wicked, such policies are ultimately very stupid, because they result in unrest, insurrection, repression, state violence against citizens and
ultimately to the breakdown of society.
Do you feel you benefit from or are hindered by it?
Pardon me for saying so, but that is exactly the wrong question to ask. When honourable men and women consider the public interest, they first set
aside their own.
edit on 9/4/12 by Astyanax because: of too many Ayn Rand quotes.