From Crisis to Renewed Approaches to Freedom and Common Good.

Giuseppe Mastromatteo, R. M. Burlando

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in libroChapter


Our work moves from the consideration of the various current crises (financial, economic, ecological and energetic, social, political and moral), of their main links and of their many roots. In this last respect in our view it is important to distinguish among different types of roots (also pointed out in the “Caritas in Veritate”) and especially between the two groups of contingent and “deep” ones. To do so, though in a very schematic way, we take up both the distinction of the Post Second World War period in 4 phases (in paragraph 2) and consider their main features, linking them to the cultural, ethical and spiritual climate prevailing in each (Burlando 2011a) and the evolution of the concept of common good in the history of economic thought (in paragraph 3, Mastromatteo 2011a). The progressive transformations of the definition of what constitute the common good (well-being and happiness) are, in our view, connected with the prevalence of a reductionist and individualist reason (or world-view) that is particularly evident at both the methodological and ethical levels (Burlando 2011b). Such a view tends to diminish the relevance of both persons and communities reducing them to the abstract and minimal notions of “representative agent” and to that of their simple and mechanical aggregation. We therefore propose (in paragraph 4) a re-visitation of the concepts (anthropological as well as philosophical) of “person” and of the many dimensions of his true freedom and realization (Berlin, Sen 1989 and 2010, Nussbaum), to be compared to that of individual agents (Grasselli, 2009), and of communities. In this last regard the indirect approach to the definition of social preferences is compared to a version of the direct one based on values and “constitutional” principles and on the adoption of a new version of the principle of “convergence by super-position” (Nussbaum 2011). In the last part of our work we explore a different framework for reasoning about economics and politics, based on the one side on the Aristotelian approach and its developments (Sen and Nussbaum and other authors) but also with its integration with system theory (Bunge, Hodgson, Laszlo etc.) and bio-economics (e.g. GeorgescuRoegen, Rifkin, Latouche) and the relational approach in economics. This last part is complemented using the Gandhian framework (Diwan, Panikkar, Piano, Burlando 2007) to provide an articulated and interdependent perspective on persons, families and communities. The core of this part are the notions of evolutionary dynamics and phases of live (that is similar to that of important streams of current social and economic psychology) and the nature and role attributed to the values and to their hierarchy within the perspective of a reflection on what are the main aims in life (see also Cantor). Such a composite approach seems quite useful in helping us to imagine again a sound perspective leading to the use of economic and politics at the service of life and people.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Whole Breadth of Reason. Rethinking Economics and Politics
Numero di pagine24
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2012


  • common good
  • crisis


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