Intentions and results


From a video produced by, a project of Institute for Humane Studies: “Prof. Don Boudreaux explains what economists mean when they talk about unintended consequences. Essentially, unintended consequences are the large outcomes that emerge from the actions made by many individuals. These outcomes can be good or bad. Therefore, when analyzing various polices, we must be extremely careful to distinguish between intentions and results.”

Boudreaux concludes the video with this: “We live in this incredibly complex world. When we take any action, we know that the consequences of those actions are going to extend out very far. We can see those consequences only a little bit in front of us. We can’t trace them out fully. And it applies whether or not you believe in big government, tiny government, and medium-sized government. Yes, it’s difficult in many cases to trace out how the incentives will have real-world effects. But that difficulty does not excuse us from the task of pursuing it. We can’t just simply say, oh the intentions of the policymakers are good, therefore we can be assured that the results will be good. That’s cheating. We just can’t do that. That’s very bad public policy.”

Understanding this is especially important as we in Wichita and the surrounding area prepare to undertake a comprehensive government plan for sustainable communities.

The video’s page is Unintended Consequences, or click below to view at YouTube.


One response to “Intentions and results”

  1. Cicero

    The media gives credit to the Democrats for “good intentions”, but never for their negative outcomes.

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