The mandatory hermit requirements for estates larger than eighty acres was one of the many “Inverse Consequences” directives undertaken by the Commonsense Party. The theory was not sound, but that was the point: Bearing in mind that well-meant ideas often had negative unforeseen consequences, it was argued that daft, pointless or downright bizarre ideas might have unforeseen positive outcomes. Hence mandatory hermits. Aside from the weekly gruel allowance and the construction of a damp cave, it cost little.
(from The Woman Who Died A Lot, by Jasper Fforde)
8½*/10. The full review is here.