Commentary Articles
In The News
News Releases

Media Inquiries

Kim Cloidt
Director of Marketing & Communications
(510) 632-1366 x116
(202) 725-7722 (cell)
Send Email

Robert Ade
Communications Manager
(510) 632-1366 x114
Send Email


Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook

Your participation will advance liberty. Join us as an Independent Institute member.

Contact Us
The Independent Institute
100 Swan Way
Oakland, CA 94621-1428

510-632-1366 Phone
510-568-6040 Fax
Send us email

Interested in working with us?  Click here for more information.


Unintended Consequences: Hurting When You Think You're Helping


I’ll be the first to admit that economics has its limitations. Economics as such can’t tell you what is good and what is evil. It can’t tell you what values, tastes, and preferences to have. In spite of these limitations, economics has a lot to teach us about the effects of policies governments enact in the name of promoting good or punishing evil, or in pursuit of our values, tastes, and preferences.

We enter into a fundamental confusion when we base our discussions of policies on their stated goals rather than their likely effects. I doubt that many people seriously disagree that feeding the hungry and clothing the naked are worthy objectives. A lot of the policies we enact in the name of these goals have unintended and positively counterproductive consequences. Here are just a couple of examples of the unintended consequences of interference with prices.

The unintended and undesirable consequences of attempts to implement rent control and minimum wages are pretty straightforward. Rent control and laws against “price gouging” create shortages. Minimum wages create unemployment, particularly for those at the margins of society.

Read the full article

Art Carden is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California, and Assistant Professor of Economics at Samford University.
Full Biography and Recent Publications

Home | About Us | Blogs | Issues | Newsroom | Multimedia | Events | Publications | Centers | Students | Store | Donate

Product Catalog | RSS | Jobs | Course Adoption | Links | Privacy Policy | Site Map
Facebook Facebook Facebook Facebook
Copyright 2015 The Independent Institute