higher-order macro

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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