A reader in Australia has asked, amongst other things, about the role of existing lobby groups under a Social Policy Bond regime. Could they recognize the"threat" posed by the bonds (that is a redirection of government resources away from themselves) and lobby to ensure that the conditions attached to any Social Policy Bond issue favour them, or even worse, are impossible to complete? I am more sanguine. There would be some attempted manipulation, but as long as there were a strong performance incentive, the goals of these lobby groups would have to become much more congruent with society's. That is where the money would be. They would find it hard openly to come out and oppose targeted outcomes. For instance, they would find it difficult to say we are against lower unemployment, or the eradication of illiteracy. Under a bond regime, government's goals would be expressed in terms of such outcomes. Which means that the public will be able to follow the policymaking process, and the attempted hijacking of it, much more closely. And there is more consensus over outcomes than the alleged means of reaching them.
So my thought, or hope, is that the lobby groups who would be inclinded to oppose Social Policy Bonds would see the writing on the wall. The bonds mean the democratisation of policymaking. Lobby groups who want to see Social Policy Bonds fail would suffer public opprobrium and, more to the point, they would be doing so very openly. Lobby groups could still influence policy, but not in secret.