Unintended Consequences

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Term used to describe occurrences and reactions not initially contemplated when an action is taken.

Examples include:

  • Prohibition
    • In an effort to curb drinking, the US government handed an entire industry over to violent cartels, increasing the crime rate immensely.
  • The War on Drugs
    • The above-mentioned Prohibition was actually against intoxication of all sorts, though repealment was only of alcohol based intoxicants, though even they remain heavily regulated. Other substances, some of which have been shown to be less harmful than alcohol, remain illegal, the production and distribution of which are firmly in the hands of the criminal element. Another effect is a reduction in quality and safety in a product which would have been much safer, if manufactured legally.
  • Minimum wage
    • As wage increases are forced upon employers of unskilled and entry-level employees, a frequent response is the reduction of these positions, increasing the unemployment rate.
  • Treaty of Versailles
    • It has been noted that the economic punishment levied upon the civilian population of Germany following World War I had a large part of Hitler gaining power, leading to yet another World War, and the slaughter of millions of innocents.
  • Gun Control
    • It is notable that in the areas with stern gun control legislation, the violent crime rate tends to be considerably higher than the surrounding areas where civilians are allowed to own defensive arms. This appears to be due to the fact that the criminal element has little use for these laws in the first place, except as a tool to disarm their potential victims. It is also notable that many groups who have suffered greatly as a direct result of gun control legislation have somehow been convinced that it was for their own good, though the feeling is not universal.
  • The New Deal
    • In a stated attempt to save America from the Great Depression, the government created many new programs, spawning numerous bureaucratic offices, and effectively freezing commerce for years. This is widely believed to have prevented recovery from the depression until years later. Eventually, the market adapted, and began to improve despite the socialized controls. As an unforeseen result of these policies, an entire underclass was created, generation after generation suffering under government-subsidized poverty.
  • Chemical control of children/ population
    • It has been a common practice to have children placed on mind-altering drug treatments in order to make them more compliant and easy to manipulate. Some, however, react in a manner far removed from the stated purpose of the treatment. A similar, yet more disastrous scenario takes place in the movie Serenity.

A book with this title was authored by John Ross, as well, and covers much of the same subject matter.

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