21 December 2012

Incentives to sell off fountain pens

Academic research has suggested that human rights treaties either do not improve human rights at all or do so very little, for a limited group of treaty rights, and among a select group of countries, not the worst offenders. Why the U.S. Shouldn’t Sign On to Empty Human Rights Treaties, Eric Posner, 'Slate', 21 December
No surprises here. Not that different from the Kyoto process either. Motivation is important: but we need systems that supply motivation to achieve meaningful outcomes, not to sign useless treaties while grandstanding at the United Nations. Against what metrics are the current thug regimes tested for meaningful human rights outcomes? None of course. Perhaps we could persuade some genuine philanthropists to issue Human Rights Bonds, on the Social Policy Bond principle.

We'd need to devise reliable targets for human rights, raise some funds, then issue Human Rights Bonds that would be redeemable once our human rights targets had been achieved. Not very glamorous perhaps, and no possibility of selling off the pens used to sign meaningless treaties. But a Human Rights Bond regime could hardly be less effective than the current corrupt system.

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