Higher-order control

Higher-order control

Higher-order control is contrasted to first-order control. In second- and higher-order control, the way the mechanism is used may change.

It can be said that first-order control is "how much" something is done, second-order control is "what" is done, and third-order control is "inventing new things to do".

:Example: The problem is that people become addicted to drugs and steal things to pay for their addiction.::First-order solution: increase police presence and introduce stricter laws against trafficking in drugs.::Second-order solution: legalize drugs; make a clear distinction between acceptable drug users who don't steal and criminals who do.

There is no reason to believe a higher-order solution is preferable in all situations; but higher-order solutions should be attempted when first-order solutions have been shown to be ineffectual.


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