Saturday, September 6, 2014

The unintended consequences of banning the backyard bird feeder

Let’s consider the "unintended consequences" of not thinking ahead when you pass a well- intentioned law, this time at the state level....

"Residents of Mississippi with backyard bird feeders could run afoul of new state regulations that prohibit the ‘supplementary feeding’ of wild animals...The new rules appear to have been intended to limit the use of outdoor salt licks and other types of feeders designed for deer, but would apply to all animals, including birds."

I live in Oklahoma and do not have a “dog in this fight.” I do have a problem with some folks putting out salt licks to attract deer in order to make it easier to hunt them and that is what this law was attempting to stop, the intended consequence. 

Now my dad and my father-in-law could have faced charges if they lived in Mississippi [which they did not] because my dad had several bird feeders in his yard and my father-in-law put out salt blocks on his farm for his cattle and for the deer. My dad liked to sit on the back porch and watch the different birds and I bought him any number of birding books to help him identify the ones he did not know. This was one of the joys of his latter life. My father-in-law put the salt blocks out, and I helped sometimes, because he liked to see the deer on his farm, also a joy to him. BTW my father-in-law did not hunt deer or allow hunting on his land.

The idea of the law of unintended consequences goes back to Adam Smith but was made popular by sociologist Robert K. Merton in his statement, "...often unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences are outcomes that are not the outcomes intended by a purposeful action."

Some folks (especially in politics) do not consider what could happen other than what they want to happen...

Here are a couple of quotes related to unintended consequences that you should keep in mind before supporting any new proposition:

“Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.” - Margaret J. Wheatley

“There are downsides to everything; there are unintended consequences to everything. The most corrosive piece of technology that I've ever seen is called television - but then, again, television, at its best, is magnificent.” - Steve Jobs


Make sure and download a copy of Lucky and Good: Risk, Decisions and Bets for
Investors, Traders and Entrepreneurs

No comments:

Post a Comment