A single broken window

2019-11-11

There’s an idea adjacent to the sketchy Parkinson’s Law called the Broken Window theory. The idea is that if a building is allowed to stand with broken windows, it will attract graffiti, squatters, drug dealers and various other forms of crime.

This is pretty broadly regarded as debunked, but the idea is compelling, so let’s examine it. The core seems to be that when things are bad and nobody takes care of them, they get worse.

Seems reasonable. But it also seems reasonable that when things are good and nobody takes care of them, they also get worse.

This is actually formalized in science as the second law of thermodynamics, which I will paraphrase here: Things will constantly get worse, all on their own, unless you work on them.

So take care of the things that matter.