The common good and coronavirus lockdowns

23 August, 2021

People in greater Sydney are incredibly frustrated after weeks in lockdown as case numbers are not going down. Dr Matt Beard, Program Director Vincent Fairfax Fellowship, talks about about the moral decisions that locked-down residents are making every day.

“We need to build a sense of solidarity. We need to recognise that we are not doing this for the greater good or the good of some people. We are doing this for the common good, for all of us, for the shared values that we hold as a community.”

Dr Matt Beard

It’s really frustrating that we do all the necessary things and the numbers don’t go down. And so we look for someone to blame, like the non-compliant communities. But this just divides us and doesn’t get us anywhere. What we need to do is to build a sense of solidarity.

We don’t know to what extent non-compliant behaviour is involved. There are myriad reasons why people don’t comply with rules. For some the rules are inconvenient, for others they are devastating.  The environment and situation people find themselves in has far more power in determining how people behave than any internal aspects of their character. People find themselves in very different circumstances and that is much more powerful in determining who is complying and who isn’t.

Making the decision to lock down is only one step. To bring people on board, it is hugely important how you communicate this decision and the way you attend to people who feel they missed out as a result of it.

We need to stop using the term “the greater good” because that means that I am loosing out for some kind of collective benefit. It’s about the common good – the wellbeing of everyone, with no one loosing out.

As to the question of vaccination: self-interest and common interest are super aligned in this.

ABC News, 29 July 2021. Watch the video below

Photo by Elena Mozhvilo on Unsplash

Cranlana Centre for Ethical Leadership’s programs include the 2 day Executive Ethics, 6 day Executive Colloquium and year-long Vincent Fairfax Fellowship. We also deliver online and tailored corporate programs. Find the right program for you. They are all held under the Chatham House Rule to encourage genuine and open debate, and allow participants to candidly discuss sometimes sensitive issues in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public, and contribute to a broader conversation. The alumni program offers ongoing leadership development support and a lifelong connection with Cranlana.