There's no way for those people to make it better without a huge investment by others
Instead of trying to fix it themselves, people let the thing get worse so it will attract the attention of others at which point those people will be willing to fix it.
Politics: Things are bad, but individuals are powerless to fix it until everybody else realizes how bad things are. Rather than try to fix it, individuals let it get worse so others will notice the problem too.
Software: There's an annoying bug, but it takes a lot of resources to fix. Rather than fix it poorly, you let it sit around so it will eventually get fixed properly.
Relationships: After a major life event, your partner begins developing annoying habits that are getting slowly worse. Rather than address them head on, you wait until they're worse and then present a larger case.
It's probably clear I don't have a background in philosophy, but this seems like the kind of thing that would have a name. Anybody know? I've looked around a bunch but I don't think I know enough to find a good answer.
It may pertain to the maxim "the worse, the better", often attributed to Vladimir Lenin in the years before the Communist Revolution.
There is a related philosophical idea: the modern (Hegelian/Marxist) use of the term dialectic. Hegel's idea was that each concept or position, theoretical as well as practical, continues to develope until it becomes useless and corrupt - entangled in its own contradictions. Then, a shift is made to another concept/position - the negation of the previous concept/position. Marx used the same idea in economical and political contexts. Hence the famous prediction concerning the imminent collapse of capitalistic economies, destined to be caught up in their own contradictions, until there is no remedy but a popular workers revolution.
You might talk about an addict hitting rock bottom before they were motivated to improve their life. An organization might have to hit rock bottom before they're compelled to adjust their management structure.
I feel like there might be a better term for this but it's not coming to me.
In politics in particular, there is the notion of Accelerationism .
Accelerationism is the advocacy of intentionally accelerating a presumably unstable or untenable policy until the point that it totally breaks down or fails to the point that most people would agree it needs replaced.