Let’s take a trip back in time during the British colonial rule of India, which began in 1858. The English, concerned about the number of cobras slithering around Delhi, decided to offer bounties to people who presented them with dead cobras.

Initially, the proposed solution to this problem proved successful. People were killing cobras by the boxful, presenting them to British officials, and collecting their money.

There was just one problem: human beings are a slick bunch. Once word got out that you could get money for dead snakes, people decided to stop working so hard to find them in the wild and started breeding and murdering them at home instead.

Once the British government caught wind of this tactic, they called the whole bounty system off. The massive amounts of homebred cobras, now useless to their owners, were released in the wild.

A postulated remedy to a problem ultimately resulted in making said problem worse. And that is, the Cobra Effect.


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