27 January 2018

Doomsday or dog-food?

Even now America and North Korea are perilously close to a conflict that risks dragging in China or escalating into nuclear catastrophe. .... Conflict on a scale and intensity not seen since the second world war is once again plausible. The world is not prepared. The growing danger of great-power conflict, 'The Economist', 27 January
There's a huge mismatch between the catastrophic consequences of a nuclear exchange and our relatively feeble efforts to avoid it. There is probably more human ingenuity going into devising new ways of selling dog-food than avoiding nuclear war. There's nothing wrong with people choosing to make a career of advertising dog-food. They're not greedy. They are simply reacting rationally to the incentives on offer. Meantime, almost everyone on the planet wants to avoid nuclear conflict. But that want isn't channelled into meaningful ways of doing so. So we have bureaucrats in the United Nations, and in numerous well-meaning think-tanks and charitable institutions who are doing what they can. But where are their effort's taking us? Doomsday clock' ticks closer to apocalyptic midnights? 

There has to be a better way. A means by which we can reward people for avoiding nuclear conflict, rather than merely turning up to work for a large international organisation that says that's what it's doing. An approach that encourages smart people who are currently developing new marketing strategies for pet-food to think instead about effective ways of achieving nuclear peace.

We don't know what those ways might be. But we do know that our current ways aren't working. What we need is a system that encourages people to research, experiment, and implement effective approaches to nuclear peace. Which is where Nuclear Peace Bonds would enter the picture.

Nuclear Peace Bonds: these would be backed by funds contributed by governments, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists, perhaps swelled by contributions from ordinary people, none of whom wish to see nuclear conflict. The issuers of the bonds would define a nuclear peace targets, with rewards to be paid after a specified, sustained period (say, thirty years) during which a nuclear exchange does not occur. Bondholders would be motivated to bring about nuclear peace by whatever means they see as being efficient. They would not be limited to the solutions or activities that only government can implement. With a decent monetary incentive they could bring in our undoubted, boundless ingenuity to remove what is probably one of the greatest threats to our survival.

For more about applying the Social Policy Bond principle to ending conflict, see here.

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