“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 a costly mistake.” Carlo Cipolla

In the 1970s, an economic historian called Carlo Cipolla wrote a provocative article titled “The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity”. This week’s episode is about his theory of the destructiveness of stupid behaviour and why it is so underestimated and misunderstood.

A quick summary

  1. Everyone underestimates the number of stupid people
  2. The probability that a person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic
  3. A stupid person causes loses to others without gains to themselves (consistently)
  4. Non stupid people underestimates the danger of the stupid
  5. Stupid people are the most dangerous people