The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity

Carlo Maria Cipolla, an italian economist, wrote in 1976 a small essay titled The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity (later collected in his 1988 book Happy but not too much), where he listed these five fundamental laws of stupidity:

  1. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

He also created a graph to graphically show where the stupids relate to other people :

Damages to self Benefits to self
Benefits to others Naive Intelligents
Damages to others Stupids Bandits


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