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Shirky Principle

“Institutions will try to preserve the problem to which they are the solution.” Clay Shirky’s words – Kevin Kelly coined the term.

The target for this principle is the big nonprofit industry, major corporations and organs of government (to wit, the “Military Industrial Complex”). 

But the Shirky Principle is conceptually (if not literally) applicable to independent expertise businesses. People who run such institutions are subconsciously inclined to amplify or exaggerate the problems they solve. For organizations like these, the workaround the Shirky Principle is to be diligent in recognizing non-problems.