Monday, February 3, 2014

Lessons of humility.................or, The Law of Unintended Consequences strikes back....

Those of you who share my belief in the inevitability of above stated law as it concerns human affairs may enjoy reading an academic study on the subject.  Said academic study is here.  A few excerpts here:

"...the best advice for political actors is very often to simply stop trying to solve social problems, since interventions not based on precise understanding are likely to do more harm than good."

"When one lacks a precise and detailed understanding of a complex system, any attempt to radically improve that system is more likely to disrupt the things that are working well than it is to repair the system’s imperfections. Marx’s failure to improve society should have been about as surprising as the failure of George Washington’s doctors to cure his infection by draining his blood."

"Political leaders, voters, and activists are well-advised to follow the dictum, often applied to medicine, to “first, do no harm.” A plausible rule of thumb, to guard us against doing harm as a result of overconfident ideological beliefs, is that one should not forcibly impose requirements or restrictions on others unless the value of those requirements or restrictions is essentially uncontroversial among the community of experts in conditions of free and open debate."

thanks greg

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