Back in the day when the British had a penchant for conquering the world, they ran into a little problem on the subcontinent; cobras. Turns out there were a hell of a lot of the buggers wandering around India and it also turned out that they were rather venomous which didn’t sit well with the colonials. Ingenious as the British were, they decided to offer the citizens a bounty – you hand in dead cobras that would otherwise have bitten some poor imperialist and you get some cash. Problem solved.
Unfortunately, the enterprising locals saw things differently and interpreted the “cash for cobras” scheme as a damn good reason to start breeding serpents and raking in the dollars. Having now seen the flaw in their original logical, the poms quickly scrapped the scheme meaning no more snake bounty. Naturally the only thing for the locals to do with their now worthless cobras was to set them free so that they may seek out a nice cosy British settlement somewhere.
This became known as the Cobra Effect or in other words, a solution to a problem that actually makes the whole thing a lot worse.