17 January 2009

Social Policy Bonds as a metasystem

A jarring commentary by Theodore Dalrymple on seeing two schizophrenics in the Paris Metro, obviously in some discomfort and distress, but being ignored by the passengers:
[W]hat really struck me about the scrawlers [of slogans on adversting posters] of the Réaumur-Sébastopol station was their passionate certainty about large and distant abstractions; while at the same time, no one among many thousands knew, apparently, what to do in practice about the two individuals who were causing some inconvenience, displeasure, and even fear to those same thousands. Reading the Signs, 'City Journal' 6 January
Social Policy Bonds are a meta-system. They don't assume, as do most of us, that government will do the things that we cannot currently do, or choose not to do. Government is never slow to expand its role ('With government, mission creep is the defining feature' says Mark Steyn), and we acquiesce too easily in letting it. But a Social Policy Bond regime would reward people for achieving targeted social goals, however they do so and whatever their identity, provided only that they are efficient. If government cannot provide decent care for disturbed people, then others, including volunteers, should be given the resources to enable them to do the job. A Social Policy Bond regime would alocate resources impartially, with efficiency in achieving targeted goals being the sole criterion for allocating taxpayer funds.

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