For individuals living in a small community, the notion of “common good” seems almost natural; it can be thought of simply as neighborly morality. However, in a complex modern society, it is far more challenging for individuals to define and agree upon what is the common good. Nonetheless, two contemporary roles would benefit from embracing a broader sense of the good: 1) membership in a profession; and 2) membership in a polity. Drawing on findings from the GoodWork Project, I describe how the common good can become a guiding value in the professional and civic realms; discuss threats to such guiding values; and suggest some ways to promote the common good in contemporary American society.

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