The term common good has been used in so many ways that it would be difficult to find any political thinker, however individualistically oriented, who has not, in one form or another embraced it. The classical definition, formulated in the Middle Ages on the basis of Aristotelian principles, referred to a good proper to, and attainable only by, the community, yet individually shared by its members. As such the common good is at once communal and individual. Still, it does not coincide with the sum total of particular goods and exceeds the goals of inter-individual transactions. Once the idea of community lost its ontological ultimacy (mainly under the impact of nominalist thought), a struggle originated between the traditional conception of the community as an end in itself and that of its function to protect the private interests of its members. Eventually the latter theory prevailed and, after it became reinforced by resistance movements against repressive national government policies, it led to a doctrine of individual rights as independent of society. The intellectual and moral pluralism of recent times has made theorists reluctant to attribute any specific content to the notion of a common good. At a time when national communities face an increasing integration with one another in a world of dwindling resources, such a privatization seems inappropriate. The article argues for a restoration of an idea of the common good which incorporates individual rights without separating them from their social context.