Summit 2012

At a time of enduring financial crisis, widening gaps between developed and vulnerable economies and increasing nationalist agendas; it is more than ever necessary to remind ourselves that our interdependence makes us de facto an international community.

This sense of a shared fate – for example facing the consequences of climate change – as much as our shared values, should compel us all to converge, cooperate and interact with individual and global benevolence.

Governance and entrepreneurship in the XXIst century have indeed a lot to draw from the antique ideal of the Common Good; in an era of proliferating and multi-dimensional interconnection but marked by social fragmentation and diplomatic divergence.

This year, the 3rd Zermatt Summit will engage in timely reflection on how reviving and recommitting to the vision of the Common Good can help us rise above the notion of general interest and remind us of the obvious limitations of fighting for our individual interest.

Reorienting our energy towards the Common Good allows for hope to achieve a better world as the Common Good is the grammar of living together and lays out the conditions for doing it well, in a peaceful manner.

The Common Good

This ideal which belongs to ancient philosophy and Christian theology appears today as one of the most needed and useful aggregators

of goodwill and personal engagement.

The Common Good has been often confused with the concept of common interest. While inherently positive – as it aims at social cementation and embetterment – , the general interest always favours the collectivity over the individual, to the point of often sacrificing personal rights or aspirations in the name of community cohesion and protection.

History has often produced tragic consequences of the systematic application of the general interest principle, culminating in the creation, at times, of totalitarian societies or regimes, such as Sparta or modern dictatorial states.

On the contrary, the Common Good is in itself a social transcendence which maintains the integrity of individual freedom and personal happiness in the quest for collective

well-being and justice. It is the basis for any effort to humanize as Common Good gives an infinite value to the human person.

As a matter of fact, in the cultural history as well as in international law, all human rights derive from the concept of human dignity, including newly forms of universal rights, such as access to energy, water or education.

The Common Good

Based on the profound understanding of human dignity and universal human aspirations,and guided by spiritual and ethical values shared across civilizations, the Zermatt
Summit proposes the following characterization of the Common Good:

  1. The Common Good is more than the general interest of a community as it involves the added idea that the individual good of none of its members will be violated.
  2. The Common Good is less than the sum of various interests because it carries also the idea that members of the community are able to renounce voluntarily part of their individual interests for the good of the community.
  3. The Common Good is to be visualised in the future but is, at the same time, to be solidly grounded into reality to support action as a transformational force.

The 2012 Zermatt Summit will explore and discuss the various ways in which the Common Good can be used at both individual and collective levels for energising the commitment of citizens to benevolent behaviour and for fostering the engagement of private or public organizations towards an ethical and more humane global governance.

2012 will also see the unveiling of the Zermatt Summit Declaration to Humanize Globalization through the Common Good – which can be signed here (in both French and English)