Problem Management — failure
Solving the Wrong Problem

As mentioned in a previous chapter, it is very easy to end up treating symptoms or finding solutions that improve measured statistics rather than solving the underlying fundamental problems.

Diabetes was a terrible killer disease until insulin treatment was discovered. Now, instead of dying young, diabetics can live long lives and have children of their own, many of whom inherit the disease. The incidence of type-I diabetes is far higher now than it was before the insulin solution was found, and it is higher because of that very solution. Even worse, people with type-II diabetes (an unrelated disease with similar symptoms) can use insulin too. Instead of having to accept their situation and simply live a healthy lifestyle, they can abuse themselves and use insulin to avoid the worst effects. Now type-II diabetes is reaching epidemic proportions in North America, again because of the availability of a treatment for the obvious symptoms.

The people that started food banks at least realized that it was a bad idea, but insisted that it would be only a temporary measure. Now food banks have become an essential service, and the real problem is worse than it ever was.

Saddam Hussein suppressed almost everyone in Iraq and had led Iraq to fight wars against neighbouring countries. Obviously removing him from power would solve many problems, or at least that's what George W. Bush came to believe. As it turns out, the suppression was keeping Iraq's Sunnis and Shiites from killing each other, and the conflicts with neighbouring countries such as Iran were helping to prevent them from spreading Islamic terrorism. Iraq is a far worse place to live today than it was under Saddam Hussein, and now, with no one to challenge Iran, the whole world is a lot less safe.

Sunlight can damage one's eyesight, dark glasses cut down on the amount of sunlight entering the eyes, so there is a problem that has an obvious solution. Except that the kind of light that damages eyes is ultraviolet, which isn't blocked by traditional sunglasses. Even worse, dark glasses cause the pupils to enlarge which lets in more ultraviolet light than would be admitted without the sunglasses. Once again, the obvious solution makes the problem worse, not better.