Unintended Consequences

My medical assistant called in sick today. I wonder if she came down with the swine flu. I’m still feeling fine though.

Speaking of which, when the swine flu first broke out, I remember listening to a NPR report on the Egyptian government’s plan to slaughter all the hogs in the country. My very first reaction was ‘this is not smart’; my next thought was, ‘they’re going to regret this’. Lo and behold, 5 months later they’re running into trouble. Apparently, Egypt’s hogs are equivalent to our Mafia, AKA Waste Management. 

These hogs consume organic wastes, and now that the Egyptian government has essentially wiped out the country’s ‘Waste Management’, piles of moldering meat and vegetables lie on the streets.  Piles of garbage are now becoming potential sources of infectious diseases.  This reminds me of another famous example of ‘unintended consequences’: the introduction of rabbits in Australia for hunting purposes leading to an explosion of the rabbit population, and destruction of native vegetation.  Why do we not learn from history, and continue to intervene in ways that will ultimately backfire on us?

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