12 April 2006

'I don't know what to do' is not good enough

Nuclear weapons under the control of the current Iranian regime are scary. Is there anything we can do apart from try to distract ourselves or take the fatalistic approach? Well yes there is. We could issue Nuclear Peace Bonds. To do this we'd have to be prepared to contribute or raise funds that would be paid out if there were no use of Iranian nuclear weapons over the next, say, 10 years. The bonds could carry provisos stipulating that certain other, slightly less scary scenarios, would not be played out: for example, conventional military action resulting in large numbers of deaths.

That's just an idea, but it does show that we do not either have to continue to disengage from the political process, or pretend that these challenges don't concern us or that we can and should no nothing about them. Of course, some of our lethargy is because we feel powerless in the face of large-scale problems like Iranian nukes, or climate change, or other potential catastrophes. But we are not as powerless as we think. We might not know how to respond, but Social Policy Bonds give us a means by which we can contract out the response to those best able to meet whichever problems we target. For more on issuing your own Social Policy Bonds take a look at this 18-page pdf publication, which takes the example of bonds promoting female literacy in Pakistan. We don't have to know all the answers. All we need are concern, and access to enough cash to motivate others to find the answers.

● Chapters 4-6 of my core text, Injecting incentives into the achievement of social and environmental goals can be downloaded free of charge here. It's a 224kB pdf file.

No comments: