What is it called when applying the solution provided to a particular question creates a new problem?

Potentially: "consecutive problem" or "subsequent problem"?

What is this called in plain English?

  • 1
    I can think of some two-word examples: chain reaction and domino effect. Jan 23, 2023 at 14:19
  • 1
    See also the adjective cascading, as in cascading failure: most often negatively, as in your example, but also used positively when it creates an amplification effect (signaling cascade in Biology, for example)
    – djs
    Jan 23, 2023 at 14:28
  • That's called "business as usual".
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:00
  • Please fix your punctuation and spelling.
    – Lambie
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:47
  • @Lambie Please correct my post, if I would know then did not ask question on first place :D and you have enough reputation to do that. Thanks
    – xkeshav
    Jan 24, 2023 at 4:58

2 Answers 2


It's the...

[Law of] unintended consequences

If that's not "self-explanatory" enough, it's all explained in the linked Wikipedia article.

  • no no, this is not I am asking, this is just like aftermath thing
    – xkeshav
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:35
  • I have seen unintended consequence used in both a positive and negative sense, as explained in the article. If this term were used, context would need to make clear that the unintended consequence in this instance is negative.
    – user770884
    Jan 23, 2023 at 16:38
  • @user770884: I don't generally think much of Wikipedia, but in this case it's misleading to suggest that clarification might be needed, because (1) the "unintended" consequences are almost always bad, and (2) in the relatively uncommon cases where they're serendipitously good, that should be contextually obvious anyway. Jan 23, 2023 at 17:09
  • @diEcho: I don't understand your comment. Everything about your question text points to "unintended consequences" being what you're asking for. If that's not what you're looking for, please edit your question text to give a clearer definition. Jan 23, 2023 at 17:16

Unintended consequences, though generally used in the negative sense, may also apply to a positive. The exclusively negative form of an unintended consequence is sometimes known as the "Cobra Effect," in which the solution to one problem can be directly linked to the emergence of another, potentially higher-magnitude, problem.

Per Wikipedia, the Cobra Effect originated as follows:

The British government, concerned about the number of venomous cobras in Delhi, offered a bounty for every dead cobra. Initially, this was a successful strategy; large numbers of snakes were killed for the reward. Eventually, however, enterprising people began to breed cobras for the income. When the government became aware of this, the reward program was scrapped. When cobra breeders set their now-worthless snakes free, the wild cobra population further increased.

  • To expand on this a bit, the Cobra Effect implies that the solution ultimately directly worsens the original problem (c.f. the idiom "the cure is worse than the disease"). It is also a specific example of the general idea of a "perverse incentive".
    – Aos Sidhe
    Jan 23, 2023 at 17:03

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