The bachelor tax and unintended consequences

“A bachelor tax existed in Argentina around 1900. Men who could prove that they had asked a woman to marry them and had been rebuffed were exempt from the tax. In 1900, this gave rise to the phenomenon of “professional lady rejectors”, women who for a fee would swear to the authorities that a man had proposed to them and they had refused.”

This reminds me of a recent conversation with an Italian friend when we were traveling around Puglia, in southern Italy. She said it used to be commonplace for landowners to burn down forests or olive groves so they could build or expand their existing property. So the government passed a law saying landowners couldn’t build anything for 10 years anywhere there had been a fire. Then people started to set fires on their neighbour’s land, to prevent them from building or expanding their real estate. The law of unintended consequences at work 😀

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