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[–]magnora7[S] 1 insightful - 1 fun1 insightful - 0 fun2 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

tldr: The government paid a penny per rat tail, in order to try and clean up the sewers that were overflowing with rats. So people just start chopping off the tails, to allow the rats to breed to create more rats. And some even went as far to create rat farms.

This unintended backfire effect due to government policy is known as the "cobra effect"