The Law of Unintended Consequences - Deepstash

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The Law Of Unintended Consequences

The Law Of Unintended Consequences

There are many situations and disastrous circumstances where impulsive and emotional solutions are applied, which apparently solve the problem but unintentionally create new problems or collateral damage that may be worse. This is known as The Law Of Unintended Consequences.

Example: The Forest Service rapidly extinguished forest fires as soon as they erupted, causing larger, more severe forest fires due to an abundance of unburned deadwood spread all over.

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Decision Making And The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Our worst decisions are only later known to us as being terrible ones. When we make those decisions, we think of them as good ones

We take shortcuts and solve problems in a quick-fix, rapid-relief method. We don’t consider any long-term effects or where the dominos will fall based on our choices.

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Reasons We Suffer From The Law Of Unintended Consequences

  1. We play it safe and do not want to take the time and investigate the root cause of a problem.
  2. Our many cognitive biases act like blind spots, making us only see immediate threats.
  3. We focus on something visual and available (like what’s on TV) and worry about those problems instead of focusing on the real but invisible problems which may be more lethal.
  4. Our decisions have certain compounding effects that are not visible for years, yet when the entire time period and the corresponding events are accounted for, the stupidity of the solution is revealed.

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Avoiding The Law Of Unintended Consequences

Some basic techniques we can apply to minimize the unintended problems:

  1. Apply non-action: Not acting out the impulsive reaction that we think will solve a problem is often the simplest way to let it subside.
  2. Think of the risks: What feels right is often not so. Take the worst-case scenario into account.
  3. The opposite effect: Understand that regulating or focusing on eradicating something can even lead to its proliferation.
  4. The undo button: Permanent decisions that can’t be undone are the worst offenders. If you have to make a decision, make something that can be corrected.

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CURATED BY

gra_maa

"I think the next best thing to solving a problem is finding some humor in it." -Frank Howard Clark ⁠

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