I am greatly intrigued by unintended consequences, odd connections, and strangely related events. In a book about health care, Thomas Goetz explains how the Beatles were to blame for our rising health care costs. Back in 1955, a small electronics company named EMI bought Capitol Records, which in 1966 signed a new British group called the Beatles. EMI made so much money from the Beatles that they hardly knew what to do with it. What they did was to invest it in some experimental medical technology that developed into the CT-scan, which could give 3-D X-rays. This, in turn, led to other devices, such as MRIs and PET-scans.
While most technology, such as DVD players and computers, gets cheaper as it develops and gets better, for reasons that Mr. Goetz tries to explain, these medical devices keep getting MORE expensive. In 1974, a CT-scan rig cost in the $300,000s. Now it costs upwards of $2.2 million. And doctors have been ordering super-expensive tests with these machines at a sky-rocketing rate. According to Mr. Goetz, this is a big reason health care costs have gone up so much.
So the next time your health insurance rates jump up, or you have to pay out of pocket for one of those tests that your insurance doesn’t cover completely, blame John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
Do you know any similar examples of strange series of causation?