The Law of Unintended Consequences – Part I

How will the Government’s regulations affect the building industry?


The law of unintended consequences is that the actions of people, particularly those of Government, always have effects that are unanticipated or unintended.  Economists and other social scientists have heeded its power for centuries and for just as long, the general population and indeed our elected politicians have mainly ignored it.

 In fact, the “Father of Liberalism” John Locke, wrote to the then English Government way back in the 17th century to warn them about the idea of unintended consequences when they decided to regulate interest rates which was devised to assist borrowers at the time but in fact would in the end harm widows, orphans and others that had their estates in money which sounds like the current situation that faces our Pensioners and self-funded retirees in the 21st century with very low interest rates regulated by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

Unintended consequences are generally negative results but can also have positive implications sometimes.

So now in 2020 we have the Australian and then the State Governments all regulating like they have never had to before in terms of social engineering.   They have ensured the world’s most isolated continent is now more isolated than ever and the unintended result immediately has seen our highest unemployment since and soon surpassing the Great Depression.

With talking about terminology, we have word of the year moving from “Coronavirus” to “Covid-19” and soon on to “pivoting” where one business works in to a white space where they can move from one industry to another with little change management.  We have recently written about this where the Independent Builders Network Builder Members have managed to learn new markets through our Zoom training and are currently seeking new work in unique fields that has benefitted those willing to accept the change.

Having professional, qualified and well-trained Builders means that moving sideways to say, a new method of construction or a different client market such as Disability housing has been an easy transition and the IBN Member has been able to pivot with little effort.  Now, however, the challenge and upcoming disaster looming is the banks tightening up on lending to even those with current jobs, and a vacuum will appear within the industry over the next 3 to 12-months which has many in the industry looking well ahead to try and fix this air pocket.

So our unintended consequence of saving Australian lives has been a worthy regulated isolation law that means many elderly or people living with a disability who are in care, not having the opportunity to have visits from their families or loved ones in order to protect their lives.  It is a sad state of affairs and even our Prime Minister has not been emotionally immune to the dilemma having already broken down publicly as a consequence of his Government’s draconian regulation. 

The opportunity comes when these families take stock of the current situation and future-proof the independence of their own and see that through new design changes with IBN’s Adaptable Living, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) or Special Disability Accommodation (SDA) houses that we can bring the family home and ensure isolation doesn’t need to be separation.

As for this unintended consequence, the current crisis can now have a positive outcome.