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Law of Unintended Consequences (or, beware of what you vote for)


I enjoyed this timely story in today’s Portland Tribune: OOPS! Portland’s good intentions often have unexpected results, by Peter Korn, the Portland Tribune, Oct 30, 2008

Excerpt: “…Economists call it the Law of Unintended Consequences, otherwise known as the Law of You Never Know. Portland State University urban studies professor Carl Abbott says, just maybe, there’s more of it here than other places, far beyond Jamison Square.

“Portland is a city that likes to experiment with things,” Abbott says. “Not every innovation is going to work out quite like you like it to. Maybe we do more things here that might have unintended consequences.”

Those homes playing dominoes as they slide down the West Hills may have been part of an unintended consequence, says Scott Burns, chairman of the Portland State University geology department. Burns has been sounding an alarm for years about the shortsightedness of Portland’s storm water disconnect policy.

You want more? We’ve got a comically large number of Portland-ized examples of the Law of Unintended Consequences….”
(read full story)

(You can be sure that Portland, Oregon is not the only place this law operates!)

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