Friday, September 16, 2005

Dont fix the broken window

The broken window theory in economics argues (from wikipedia) that

"A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, say the book's authors, is to fix the problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows within a short time, say, a day or a week, and the tendency is that vandals are much less likely to break more windows or do further damage. Clean up the sidewalk every day, and the tendency is for litter not to accumulate (or for the rate of littering to be much less). Problems do not escalate and thus respectable residents do not flee a neighbourhood. The theory thus makes two major claims: 1) further petty crime and low-level anti-social behaviour will be deterred, and thus 2) major crime will be prevented."

There are critics of this theory and opponents of this theory, but heres a small corollary based on how it can be used to advantage in some scenarios.

From what I have seen through personal experiences, A dent or two on your car that is visible to other drivers (note: car drivers, not truck drivers) makes them wary of you and they will think twice before cutting across your path or overtaking you from the wrong side. Therefore, it makes sense to leave that dent there as it is.

Similarly, a visible scar on the face of a kid (or a bouncer) signals to other kids (or gatecrashers) that he is mischeivous (or he means business). Of course, the unrepaired dent or scar can have negative effects too, esp when a positive effect is desired, but then, who said theres anything like a free lunch.

1 comment:

Pradeep said...

Just stumbled on your blog. Superb piece this!!!