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View from the Foot of the Tower: The Cobra Effect
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The Cobra Effect is not that phenomenon where you find yourself ordering more poppadoms than you can eat and being full by the time your main course arrives. It instead refers to an attempt by someone (usually the State) to solve a problem only to find later that the solution makes the problem far worse.
The story goes that when the British were heavily involved in India they became troubled about the proliferation of cobras and the number of people who were being bitten and injured by them. They introduced a policy to tackle this – they put a bounty on cobra’s heads (or more accurately on their tails) and paid Indian people a sum of money for every dead cobra they could bring to the British.
Originally this worked with people killing cobras for the bounty and...
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