The Agenda

Unintended Consequences and the NBA

A friend passes along an observation regarding the NBA:

The funny thing is, they redid the contract rules because they were pissed that the Heat got all the good players. But in making it harder to get a lot of good players, they only made it even easier for the Heat to dominate the next few years. They needed instead to force Miami to divest themselves of one of their good players. Alas.

This reminds me of Albert O. Hirschman’s The Rhetoric of Reaction, which distills reactionary thought into three basic theses: (1) perversity (this reform of yours will actually exacerbate the problem you are trying to solve), (2) futility (this reform of yours won’t do anything at all), and (3) jeopardy (this reform of yours will endanger all of the progress we’ve made on other fronts). It happens that these arguments are often pretty sound, but it is nevertheless helpful to have a sense of the structure and provenance of the arguments we make. 

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