When I wrote along the above lines to an internet comment forum, one respondent said: 'What you don't do is cause a problem, then ignore it while you "fix" the symptoms.' My response is that we should not be dogmatic about whether we tackle causes or symptoms. The 'cause' of a large proportion of the crime problem is 'young men': we don't force all boys to undergo a sex change just so we can save money on a justice system.
There are undoubtedly symptoms whose root causes we can identify readily and address. There are others whose root causes are currently unknown or too expensive to tackle. We could still, with Social Policy Bonds, target the symptoms for solution and motivate bondholders to work out whether or not the best way of dealing with them is to go after possible root causes. There are problems whose root causes might never be unambiguously identified. But if we issue Conflict Reduction Bonds, for instance, there's no need to resign ourselves to living on a planet wracked by war.