This piece resonated in the wake of the mess around California’s AB5 legislation, which puts limitations on classifying workers as independent contractors. The backlash to AB5 shows how it’s a case study in unintended consequences.
The modern interventionist’s view wildly overestimates how well problems are understood, and what the second- or third-order consequences of an intervention might be.
I’m reminded here of Hayek’s quote on economics (applicable to any uncertain, massively complex field):
The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
In complicated, many-sided issues like the AB5 one, it makes sense to take small steps to react to the issue at hand (which is, admittedly, a mess and imperfect for employees). Sweeping steps like AB5 feel good and address one problem while simultaneously generating multiple others.