Saturday, April 21, 2007

Stupidity triumphs

Ever since I discovered the late Carlo M. Cipolla's 1987 essay on "The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity" on the Web, I kept it bookmarked.

Cipolla's Third, or "Golden Law" of Human Stupidity is that the actions of the stupid always result in loss for the stupid person himself and quite often other around him. Or something like that. I'm quoting Cipolla's Third Law by memory, for his heirs, or at least someone who holds the copywrite, have caused it to be scrubbed from the Web. Obviously worldwide the business community has something to hide, Cipolla, after all, was a professor of economics at the Univeristy of California, Berkeley.

So any way, in total disregard and disrespect of Prof. Cipolla's heirs I have found the basic laws, without explanation. I suggest printing them for future reference.
  • First Basic Law: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

  • Second Basic Law: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

  • Third (and Golden) Basic Law: A stupid person is a person who caused losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

  • Fourth Basic Law: Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals. In particular non-stupid people constantly forget that at all times and places and under any circumstances to deal and/or associate with stupid people always turns out to be costly mistake.

  • Fifth Basic Law: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person.

  • Corollary to the Fifth Basic Law: A stupid person is more dangerous than a bandit.
  • Certainly someone out there wants stupidity to triumph over intelligence, or at least common sense. Look are our current president, George W. Bush. He most certainly illustrates the "Third (and Golden) Basic Law" as do many, many of our so-called business leaders.

    1 comment:

    smendler said...

    The actual text of Cipolla's essay has been expunged from the Net, but the above link leads to a very interesting recapitulation and extension of his ideas ---