Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The Law of Unintended Consequences

A story from the New York Times today about anti-spam efforts provides a good look at the law of unintended consequences.

Congress passed a bill last year known as the "Can Spam Act". The effect: the percentage of all e-mail that is spam has gone from roughly 45% in 2003 to roughly 70% in 2004.

But, hey, at least politicians can say they "did something", right? The fact that what they did DIRECTLY (read the article) lead to more spam shouldn't have any bearing on our feelings, should it?

Seems like we would have been better off taking Calvin Coolidge's advice: "When you see ten troubles rolling down the road, if you don't do anything, nine of them will roll into a ditch before they get to you."


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