Implications for Policy
Few intellectual tasks are as challenging as the effort to anticipate the hitherto unanticipated, and perhaps none is so foolhardy. For it is quite possible that our efforts in this direction are doomed to be as hit-and-miss as the prognostications of a fortune-teller. Reverse consequences of purposive action will continue to plague us no matter what we do because of the powerful social forces that lie behind them, as our discussion in the preceding chapter must make clear. This does not mean, of course, that certain precautions should not be taken; but it is important to bear in mind that our precautions, being themselves interventions, are also subject to self-defeat. Thus, whatever recommendations one might offer for policy must be regarded as hypotheses that require investigation and debugging in their own right.
KeywordsTarget System Unanticipated Consequence Functional Disruption Evaluation Guideline Formal Goal
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