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Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, is no exception. In his book Reimagining Britain: Foundations for Hope, Welby sets out to create a new social and political vision for the United Kingdom based on the common good. The most precise definition Welby offers is that the common good “looks not to averages but to the totality of flourishing in a group.” He outlines a list of policy and cultural changes, including greater income redistribution and broadening the definition of family to include cohabitation.

Ultimately, for Welby, the common good requires a greater sameness, not only of human opportunity but also of outcome. For instance, he advocates mandating equal housing prices across urban and rural areas, a policy that, by artificially depressing prices in high-demand areas and thereby suppressing the supply of available units, would create widespread housing shortages in cities such as London. Welby’s project fails because he does not properly identify the means of producing a society with the greatest degree of human flourishing and the common good. Welby’s errors, however, are not primarily economic; rather his missteps concerning morality and human nature plunge him into other problematic prescriptions for society.

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Noah Gould, 2018 Acton intern, in a July commentary.