Business in search of the common good

When the common good runs the risk of being the least common of all goods

Pexels - Lara Jameson

The principle of the common good refers to the conditions that make possible a society where people can fully develop. But not only individuals, but also the human groups that make up our social life: the family, associations, institutions, … and, of course, companies. Already, the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes of the Second Vatican Council defined the common good as “the set of conditions of social life which make it possible for associations and each of their members to achieve their own perfection more fully and more easily” (GS 26).

The common good, therefore, is constructed, it is the result of a whole exercise of both individual and collective responsibility. The company, as a social entity, as a reality capable of radiating corporate responsibility, is not only called to participate actively in the construction of the common good, but it finds in the common good both its raison d’être and its horizon. In other words, the necessary interdependence between the human person and society (the two key elements of this economic activity that is the company) necessarily takes shape under the concept of the common good.

But the common good is also an exercise in business intelligence. Sustainability over time is part of every company’s ambition, and this permanence, this desire to be part of people’s history, necessarily requires coexistence in the same environment, coexistence in the same world, and looking towards the same future.

By way of a simile, we could say that, just as philosophy and theology place human intelligence at the service of the search for truth (Saint Anselm already spoke of theology as fides quaerens intellectum, a faith that seeks understanding), business is called to place its intelligence at the service of the search for the common good.

Pope Francis, in his Catechesis “Healing the World” focused on love and the common good, and invited businesses to build a healthy, inclusive, just, and peaceful society on the rock of the common good. “The common good is a rock”, the Pope said, in a clear allusion to the text of Mt 7:24-27.

But it is in the apostolic exhortation Evangelii gaudium that we find a text launched directly into the conscience of every Christian entrepreneur:

“The dignity of every human person and the common good are questions that should structure every economic policy […] The vocation of an entrepreneur is a noble task, provided that he allows himself to be challenged by a broader sense of life; this enables him to truly serve the common good, by his efforts to multiply and make the goods of this world more accessible to all” (EG 203).

How nice it would be if, as the Pope points out in his recent Ludate Deum, the following call would appear in our job offers:

“Strategists capable of thinking about the common good” are needed”

Dionisio Blasco España is Territorial Delegate in the Diocese of Málaga and a member of the Executive Committee of Acción Social Empresarial.