Public Goods, Global Public Goods and the Common Good

Severine Deneulin, N Townsend

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Public economics has recently introduced the concept of global public goods as a new category of public goods whose provision is central for promoting the well-being of individuals in today's globalized world. This paper examines the extent to which introducing this new concept in international development is helpful for understanding human well-being enhancement. It argues that the concept of global public goods could be more effective if the conception of well-being it assumes is broadened beyond the individual level. 'Living well' or the 'good life' does not dwell in individual lives only, but also in the lives of communities which human beings form. A successful provision of global public goods depends on this recognition that the 'good life' of the communities that people form is a constitutive component of the 'good life' of individual human beings. The paper considers some implications of the concept of the common good for international development, and suggests that the rediscovery of this concept, and identification of how to nurture the common good, constitute one of the major tasks for development theory and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-36
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Social Economics
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2007


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