Side Effects

«Don’t try to blame me. I didn’t ask you to turn on the thermal heater. I merely commented that it was freezing in the princess’ chamber. But it’s supposed to be freezing. How are we going to dry out all her clothes?»
Threepio (while being on the ice planet Hoth) in «The Empire Strikes Back»

I think I’ve made this point a while ago, but it’s worth repeating. When dealing with complex problems, one major issue are side-effects. You try to change one thing, and you change other things as well.

It’s one of the major problems in dealing with complex problems (Dörner’s “Die Logik des Misslingens” [roughly translated as: ‘The logic of failure’] is a great source here).

And I do wonder about the side effects of many policies.

For example, I wonder, what are the side effects of the pandemic? For example, many people who work remotely now or have worked remotely likely have screen sharing apps installed. Or what about those Covid tracking apps, great way to create social graphs of the whole society.

But that’s only Covid, there are many other policies where it is expedient to ask: If they change what they say they want to change — what else do they change? Whether deliberately or accidentally.

And are these changes actually worth it?