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.