Here are some examples:
- I live in The New Forest, which is famous for the ponies that roam free in the forest. There are many horse owners who live in the forest and who keep their animals in pony paddocks or stable yards, usually 2 or 3 fields. The forest recently became a National Park and new rules were proposed which were not well thought through. One of these was that ‘every horse must have at least one hectare (2.4 acres) of land to graze’. This was to prevent over crowding. So pony owners would have to have at least 4.8 acres to keep two ponies. Any horse owner will tell you that the amount of grass which would grow in one hectare during the summer would far exceed what the horse could eat - in fact, given that amount of grass, the horse would almost certainly go down with laminitis and possibly die. So the National Park’s decision to avoid overcrowding in pony paddocks would have had the (LUC) effect of killing off the very horses that were trying to encourage. Thanks to a local ‘uprising’ the policy was never implemented.
- Aid is given to developing countries from western governments. This may or may not be effective. An example might be the provision of fishing nets for local people to allow them to catch fish. Very worthwhile, you may think. But this action puts the local supplier of fishing nets out of business and perhaps he moves away. What happens when the new fishing nets need to be mended or replaced? There is nobody to do it. LUC has played it’s part and the locals have gone from having some old fishing nets, to plenty of new fishing nets, to no fishing nets at all.
- The welfare state was introduced to help people out of poverty. The founders little realised that LUC would ensure that millions of people now take welfare as an alternative to work.
These are all negative examples. There are positive examples too.
- The Chilean miners that were trapped underground for nearly two months were rescued by drilling a rescue shaft. Whilst drilling this shaft, LUC came into play and previously unknown deposits of gold and silver were discovered. These may even cover the cost of the rescue, which was funded by the Chilean government.
So when you make decisions, don’t ignore LUC. It’s impossible to second guess every angle but don’t assume that things will work out the way that you always expect them to!