(Article Metadata)Created at don't-know-whenLast modified at 2023-07-21

Rule 1 of Policy Making.md

Don’t do stupid.
A stupid you do may cause death of thousands.

Predicting the outcome of public policy seems to be an impossible task for any human. The only way to reliable know the outcome of a policy is to implement it and observe the outcome. Learning from similar past policies under similar social condition is less reliable, but still useful. All other methods of policy making matter none.

Your ideology matter none. Maybe you think you can predict the outcome of a policy. I’ve tried to predict the outcome of dozens. I can’t.

Our society is just too volatile. With accelerating invention of technology, it becomes more unpredictable.

The solution? Don’t make policies. Make solutions to existing social problems. Try them. If they work then good. If not, try something else.

At start, try the solution at small scale. Then, gradually expand the region where it is applied. Be cautious, for that the solution only work in some places.

This stupid method is called Randomized Control Trial. Existing implementation in India use terrible statistical tools to analyze the data collected. Nevertheless, RCT works reliably.

Some caveat: Data- and test-driven policy making takes time. For emergency cases, prepare and test multiple solutions before hand. Additionally, RCT doesn’t come with exciting marketing slogans that social politicians usually employ. It simply works, not even over-performing.

Also, don’t do obviously stupid things. Let your conscience be your guide.