Indirect Effects

Unintended consequences are claimed when somebody gets kicked in the shins and the aggressor did not mean to break the leg and thereby cause the victim to lose his job and rob the family of its provider. The perpetrator is sorry. Next time he will use less force and aim higher.

Indirect consequences are different in that they have a delayed time effect and are often more devastating especially for the innocent victims, often referred to in the military as collateral damage. It is somewhat understandable that the immediate and the direct consequences get the most attention in our private and business lives. However, thinking about possible indirect effects aids us in expecting and preparing for otherwise nasty surprises. Usually we will try to console ourselves by saying that we did not see that coming. An example would be the actions of local, national or international overlords and their minions, actions which we mistakenly might view as irrelevant to our present situation, but which may have dire future consequences for us as individuals. In the example, we are fortunate that the perpetrators are by their nature lethargic and stupid, while we can be nimble and make rational decisions if we choose to recognize the time delayed effects. We are in the investment business; directing our capital towards expected, delayed effects, before they become common knowledge, has been particularly profitable for the entrepreneur.