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The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

There is a concept in the philosophy of ethics called "innocent evil", which means a bad thing that results from the perfectly healthy and moral choices of human beings./p>

Ethical philosophers are generally classified into two groups, intentional philosophers and consequentialist philosophers. Intentivists argue that you should judge human behavior based on their intentions because we are unable to predict the consequences of our actions. Consequentialists also believe that you should judge human behavior based on the consequences and consequences of their actions, because what matters is the outcome of every action.

It can be said that innocent evil is the most difficult issue in the philosophy of morality. In fact, sometimes people with purely moral intentions have unethical consequences.

Some people believe that innocent evil is another name for the law of unintended consequences. In fact, it means that innocent wickedness is usually the result of people not paying attention to the possibility of unintended consequences. Governments are always accompanied by unpredictable or unintended consequences. This phenomenon has been considered by economists and social scientists for centuries, but has been largely ignored by politicians and the general public.

In the continuation of this article by BingMag, we We discuss the various dimensions of the "law of unintended consequences" and its various applications in areas such as decision making, futures research, and performance appraisal. Join us.

What is the law of unintended consequences?

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

Concept Unintended consequences are in fact one of the basic components of the economy. The same "invisible hand" of Adam Smith, one of the most famous metaphors in the social sciences, is the unintended consequences of positive actions.

He is guided by an invisible hand to accomplish a goal that was not one of his intentions, which is in the public interest.

Smith stated: Butchers or bakers' philanthropy is not provided, but it is their personal interests that meet our needs. "In fact, everyone seeks to satisfy their own desires and interests, but in general, the interests of the whole society are met."

What causes unintended consequences?

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

The first and most complete scientific analysis of the concept of unintended consequences was performed in 1936 by the American sociologist Robert K. Merton. In an influential article, The Unpredictable Consequences of Targeted Social Activity, Merton discovered and categorized five sources of unforeseen consequences. The first two and most pervasive were negligence and error. Merton called the third source "intense and immediate interest." In fact, Merton referred to cases in which a person is interested in the intended consequence of an action that deliberately chooses to ignore any unintended effect on that action (this type of intentional ignorance is very different from real ignorance).

"Essential Values" was the fourth source introduced by Merton. He wrote that Protestant morality, which is based on hard work and asceticism, has led to the accumulation of wealth and possessions, contrary to the beliefs of religious authorities, which in turn leads to the decline of religious and spiritual teachings.

The fifth and final source Introduced by Merton, it was a factor called "self-destructive prediction."

Gives. For example, warnings given in the early 21st century that population growth would lead to mass starvation contributed to scientific advances in the development of productivity in the agricultural industry, which made those unlikely predictions seem unlikely.

Unintended Consequences and Evaluation of Social Events

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

Law of Consequences Unintentionally, it is the cause of many criticisms of government programs. Critics have argued that unintended consequences could add so much to the cost of some government programs that even if they achieve their stated goals, they are still considered completely unjustifiable and irrational.

For example, The United States has imposed heavy tariffs on steel imports to support the US steel industry in competing with low prices from foreign competitors. These heavy tariffs really help the US steel industry. But these steel companies do not supply steel to American automakers at cheap international prices.

As a result, automakers will have to pay more to buy steel than their foreign competitors. Thus, a policy that supports one industry against foreign competitors makes it difficult and impossible for another industry to compete with imported products.

Different dimensions of the law of unintended consequences

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

This section lists the different forms of the law of unintended consequences that apply in different situations. This list is based on 20 years of research in the fields of history, philosophy, biology and social sciences, and a large volume of it has been done by the well-known philosopher biologist, neurologist and anthropologist, Terence Dicken.

Causes, Reasons And Motives

  • No event has just one cause. In fact, causes have existed indefinitely from the past to the present.
  • You can never know everything about the motivations of others. So never say to someone confidently, "I know why you did it."
  • You do not even know everything about your motives. So again, do not say with confidence, "I know why I did this."
  • Being able to find a justification for a belief or action is significantly different from justifying it. We can always justify any belief or action.
  • Causes and reasons are never single factors. So never look for a specific cause, reason or motive. In fact, you should look for causes, reasons, and motives.
  • When we talk about causes, reasons, and motives, the words "only" and "only" indicate ignoring the possibility of unintended consequences. . When we say "I just wanted to help" or "you are just trying to hurt me", these terms mean "ignoring all other possibilities". We should not ignore other possibilities.

Consequences

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

  • No event has a single consequence. The consequences of an event appear in different directions over time. Life is like playing the piano with gloves (one piece) for the stove. You press a button on the piano and the buttons around it are played in the process.
  • What you interpret as trivial and meaningless may be an important and meaningful element. Small differences can make a big difference.
  • What you interpret as an important factor may be trivial. Big differences can make a small difference.

Rules of Speculation

  • All our decisions are a kind of bet that can lead to failure. No matter how confident you are about your bets, the important thing is that every decision is a bet anyway.
  • Just because every choice is a bet and can lead to failure does not mean that everyone Our choices are equally likely to fail. Because any type of bet can fail, it does not matter how you bet, because you are likely to fail anyway. On the other hand, you can make bets based on proven rules; Betting that minimizes the chances of failure.
  • Every choice you make has its pros and cons, the situations in which your choices can go right, and the situations in which your choices may be wrong and undesirable. When you ignore the situations that may prevent you from achieving the desired result, the likelihood of unintended consequences increases accordingly.
  • There are two situations in which you make a mistake in each choice. When the answer is no and you say yes and when the answer is yes and you say no. To minimize the unintended consequences, consider both before choosing.
  • No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but not because we are not smart enough. The world is inherently unpredictable, largely because of the difference between cause-and-effect phenomena and existing interpretations of means and purpose.
  • Our world, like billiard balls, is not subject to a definite cause-and-effect relationship. Our interpretation of phenomena does not, in fact, specify a cause-and-effect relationship with them. Interpretation is like reading, which creates a different meaning for everyone. You can read the writings on the wall or even the minds of others, but what you read is always interpretable. That's why interpretation is indefinite, so you should not think that you can move a ball on a billiards table according to a specific cause-and-effect rule and get the result you want, to achieve success in all aspects of life. , Take action and get results.

Blame and regret

BingMag.com The law of unintended consequences; Useful actions that have devastating consequences

  • Not all errors can be attributed to one person. Many mistakes are the product of what is going on between people. Everything passes through human channels, and in those channels there are many distorting effects on information. Many mistakes come from the process of interaction, not individuals.
  • Understanding the inner motivation of all human beings to project negatives and internalize positives. In fact, each of us instinctively tends to take on the problems of others and our own interests and achievements. All human beings tend to take responsibility for all the good things in the world and at the same time hold others accountable for all the bad things that exist, but the opposite is not true of anyone.
  • Sometimes we even go beyond each other. : We ask others to pay for our mistakes and at the same time enjoy the benefits of their efforts. We say to ourselves, "I am the cause and founder of all his successes, and he is the source of all my failures and misfortunes." Almost everyone feels the same way about each other.
  • You are not the exceptional person you always imagine. When you think someone else did something wrong, ask yourself, What would you do if you did it yourself? Also, ask yourself how many times you have done this.
  • You may regret your choice, but do not assume that you would not regret it if you had made another choice. Try saying, "I wish I had done this, but that does not mean that if I had done it, I would not have wished I had not done it."
  • When dealing with any uncertain phenomenon, you can Bet it is correct and the result is wrong anyway. If you bet that a coin will not go to the lion three times in a row, it is a good bet. Even if the milk coin came three times in a row, it is still the right bet.
  • It is an emotional regret that motivates you to learn positive lessons from a disappointment. There are two ways to fail in any situation regarding whether you should regret the choice you have made. You can not regret when you need to, and you will regret when you should not. In other words, there are times when you say "there is nothing to learn", when there are really valuable things, and there are times when you say "there is something to learn", when there is really something to learn. does not have. Regret is like a smoke alarm that tells you to pay attention. It is always possible that this system will give you false alarms or that its alerts will not go off when needed. is not. The phrase "my plan is to succeed" is not a plan either.
  • Demand is not the same as supply. The fact that you really need something may motivate you to find a way to get it, but there is no guarantee that you will find a way to get what you want. For example, never say, "I take my share of the stock market because I really need it."
  • Always distinguish between these two questions: What would you do if you were in charge of the world? The question is, what can you do about a world for which you are not responsible? And always ignore the first question because you are not responsible for the world.
This is for education and information only. Be sure to consult a specialist before using the recommendations in this article. For more information, read the BingMag Meg Disclaimer .

Source: Psychology Today , THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

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