Conflicts between interest groups - Social Policy Bonds

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Conflicts between interest groups


This page and the others under the Features head contain posts that appeared first in the Social Policy Bonds blog

Clive James writes:

[W]e tend to believe that there is some natural state of justice to which political life would revert if only the conflicts between interest groups could be resolved. but whatever justice we enjoy arose from the conflicts between interest groups, and no such natural state of justice has ever existed. The only natural state is unjust.... The Meaning of Recognition

Indeed, the unplanned effects of the things our species sets out to do can be beneficial as well as disastrous. Adam Smith's Invisible Hand generates material benefits, as does government planning. But they also create social and environmental problems, and only partly because of market failure. In my view, the world is too small now for the solution of social and environmental problems to be left to chance. But on the other hand, government usually does a terrible job in actually achieving our social goals. There is a middle way, between the happenstance of a free market approach to solving our problems, and the coercive, and (often) ham-fisted, inefficient way of central planning. Let government do what it does best: articulating society's goals and raising the revenue to achieve them. And let the market do what it does best: allocating that revenue to the most efficient achievers of the goals that government targets.

This is what Social Policy Bonds attempt to do. They would, I believe, achieve our social and environmental goals more efficiently and less randomly than the current system. The planet as a whole cannot afford either the time for the conflict between interest groups to be resolved or the collateral damage that such a conflict is inflicting on our ever smaller planet.

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