The concept of the common good had been long forgotten, but for some time now the idea has been finding its way back into the public's consciousness. It has a long tradition. Plato and Aristotle wrote in "The Republic (Politeia)" and "Politics" respectively that the common good is the highest goal of a political community. Thomas Aquinas incorporated the term into Christian social ethics. There are equivalent concepts in virtually every culture, such as "buen vivir" in Latin America, "Ubuntu" in Africa, "Dharma" in Buddhism, or "happiness" in Bhutan. The universality of the value of the common good can also be seen in that it is firmly anchored in the constitutions of many modern democracies.
"All economic activity shall serve the common good."
(Bavarian Constitution, art. 151)
"The accumulation of capital shall not be an end in itself, but a means for developing the national economy."
(Bavarian Constitution, art. 157)
"Property entails obligations. Its use shall also serve the public good."
(German Basic Law, art. 14)
"The law shall determine economic planning so that public and private-sector economic activity is aligned to the common good."
(Italian Constitution, art. 41)
"The entire wealth of the country in its various forms and irrespective of ownership shall be subordinated to the general interest."
(Spanish Constitution, article 128)
"Economic activity and private initiatives can be freely exercised within the limits of the common good."
(Constitution of Colombia, article 333)