Rhetoric impedes recovery(?) : Article by Dr. Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay

In the 19th century, the British, soon after occupying Delhi faced an unusual problem. Uncomfortable with too many cobras in Delhi, they announced monetary reward for anyone who would bring a dead cobra. Consequently, there was a rush to kill cobras and collect the reward. Soon enough, the cobra population dwindled, but to keep their income source going, people started importing cobras from other states and even  started breeding them. The British realised something wasn’t right as too many payments were being made. One fine day, they announced no more payments for dead cobras. The obvious followed; all the cobras brought to Delhi were left alone. Delhi ended up having more cobras than earlier. The story resonates now because the
inability to think through a proposed solution can aggravate the problem – a classic case of unintended consequence. A lockdown that is announced to maintain social distancing, must not see thousands of individuals packed in train stations, bus stations, buses and trucks.

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