14 October 2009

Not fit for purpose: our justice and healthcare systems

Two podcasts from the Cato Institute, the Criminalization of (Almost) Everything, and How American Health Care Killed My Father, go a long way in showing how far removed our legal and healthcare systems are from the interests of ordinary people. The costs, financial and human, are huge; the waste extraordinary. Unfortunately, efforts to re-orientate the systems in piecemeal fashion are also likely to be very costly. As well, they'll require more regulation and more government intervention. The problem is one of capture by vested interests, including government agencies; nothing is changing there, so the divergence between the goals of each system and the public is likely to continue.

Social Policy Bonds are a meta-system. If any current correctional or healthcare (or education, or environmental, or whatever) system were actually efficient and meeting defined needs, then under a Social Policy Bond regime little would change. But even if the starting point were the same, you would not get, under a bond regime, the gradual evolution of systems to serve the service-supplying institutions and other vested interests rather than ordinary citizens. Social Policy Bonds subordinate all activities, programmes and projects to targeted, meaningful social and environmental goals. Under the current system, it's the institutions - generally public or private sector monopolies - that call the shots. And their over-arching goal has little to do with public benefit. Quite simply, it's self-perpetuation.

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