Curating Content To Support Learning About Humanity's Transition

This content was posted on  14 Apr 22  by   Enlivening Edge  on  Website
The Cobra Effect: Never Invent Rules from the Ivory Tower

By Joost Minnaar and originally published at

Around the year 1900, rats were a huge problem in Hanoi, Vietnam — known then as French Indochina. The colonial government came up with a new public policy to solve the problem: a citywide rat bounty program. In an effort to encourage the local entrepreneurial spirit, and to provide locals with a new source of income, the government started to pay citizens to kill rats. But since the colonial rulers didn’t want to be bothered with the task of rat corpse disposal, they decided to pay a bounty of one cent to any person that brought in a rat tail. Sounds like a good policy, right?

The new policy seemed to work brilliantly at first.[…]

Scroll to Top