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:
- 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.
- The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
- Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
- 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.
- 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|