The Law of Unintended Consequences

The Law of Unintended Consequences

By Robert L. Hall

Unintended consequences are outcomes that are not foreseen or intended.

Three examples of those of: # 1 -Unexpected benefit: Consequences that produce unexpected benefits or positive results.

#2-Unexpected drawback: An unexpected detriment occurred in addition to the desired effect.

#3-Perverse result: A result contrary to what was intended, or ‘backfired.’ And recently, I have witnessed examples of all three of these unintended consequences. First there was the government shutdown… and excellent example of unexpected benefits.

I mean, if you are a libertarian, you probably felt you were in heaven when this was announced. Departments of useless function and even more useless government employees put aside for a period of time.

Now, try to expand on that idea — for instance, to dropping federal departments that are duplicating state rights functions or superseding state local environments and city/county/ states regional interests.

Consider in conjunction with that, the new slimy foul-mouthed socialist liberal freshmen just arrived in Washington, D.C., who are uttering curses and defaming our president and our way of life, or talking about working people paying 70 percent, 80 percent, 90 percent in taxes in order to pay for free education/ insurance/medicine/jobs for those who don’t choose to work for a living: Anyone, anytime, anywhere…



Those political morons need to be out of work right now.

So, shut it down.

Shut it all down.

Now, with the exception of national security interests.

You know… like the constitution intended when this country was started?

The Unexpected benefit?

… seeing how a government shutdown is a GOOD thing.

Next, a type of unexpected drawback?

The cable pay-for view airing free movies during the recent holiday season.

What was the intended purpose?

Obviously, it was to sell their product to more viewers.

However, did you see the offerings… that is, the movies that they were playing?

Oh, boy. Serial movies of horror tales, same flying body parts, same tallying of body counts. Then there are mysteries that I could predict the ending in the first minute of viewing.

Some sex offerings that are of course, completely mindless.

All without development, without plot, minus personality, sans interest, sans invention, sans me.

Bottom line: Horrid offerings.

Instead, during the holidays, I turned on the old stations and watched flicks from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. Ten times better, with great actors, plot, interest and writers.

And that, dear friend, was the unexpected drawback to their plan.

Maybe they got some buyers. But who wants to pay more for less?

No one at my house.

Then there is the unintended consequence of perverse results.

I can think of no better of such an outcome as that achieved by raising the minimum wage.

And in Arkansas, no less.

Where we hover just barely above the poverty line.

And that is BEFORE the minimum wage get raised.

So, what did lawmakers and the people who voted for it think would happen?

Well, I think I can tell you.

Many thought it was like voting themselves a raise.

What a great idea, I bet they imagined.

Then, came the morning, as the old gospel song has it.

You walk into work… or what used to be work…

and find you have been let go because the expenditures for the company are now insufficient to run the business and there are only two options left open to the owner: # 1 -Cease operations or #2-Cut staff.

And guess who they cut?

Usually, it is last hired, first fired. And that would be?

C’mon… that would be?

One guess… that would be?

The minimum wage employees.

So, guess what else?

You just voted for a referendum that put you out of work.


And not only that. Now the products that are produced in Arkansas are also increased in price in order to pay for that uptick in company expenditures.

Who did you think would pay for that? The boss?

No… that expense is passed on to the consumer.

And that includes all the voters who even voted against the minimum wage.

So, thanks.

Thanks a lot.

You just exemplified the law of perverse result in action.

So, there you have it, the three types of Laws of Unintended Consequences.

Any questions?

Anyone… .anyone…


Class dismissed.

Robert L. Hall is a resident of Marion and has a Bachelor’s Degree in music from the University of Memphis and a Master’s Degree from Florida State University. He is the pianist for Avondale Baptist Church and a writer of fiction on Amazon eBooks.

“Wordaholic” Robert L. Hall