The common good

“Governments should change every four years. That’s the only way the people can win,» a wise villager remarked the other day, using simple words to convey his conception of the common good, intervening in a conversation about much-discussed social handouts. After much thought, he had reached the conclusion that this is the only way to increase the chances of any redistribution of wealth to the citizens and that this should be sought by the people. This is perhaps an oversimplistic approach to politics, and corresponding to the traditional model of pre-election campaigns characterized by patron-clientele relations. Indeed, this opinion is supported by current developments, by the nature of the social policy measures currently under discussion, and by the tradition every fall for policy to shift the government’s focus onto the poor and needy, on the weakest strata of the population, as a type of absolution for the politicians’ many sins. Usually such measures – a few paltry bonuses for aging farmers and ailing pensioners – do not make much of an impression and yield very little, despite the amount that is invested for their provision. And so, quite rightly, the impression is created that only the elections can bring about more, something better. But things have changed. Social needs are more complex, and economic ones even more so, and our system, stuck in the past, is showing that it can no longer endure blanket policies with limited social and economic yields.