Berkeley Prof. states 5 Laws of Stupidity

Posted On: Monday - June 5th 2017 6:11PM MST
In Topics: 
  General Stupidity

Commenter Heidi something-or-other brought up this article on a website called "Quartz", about a month back. We wish we had thought first about coming up with some laws, but these 5, from a Berkeley Professor of Economics back in 1976 seem pretty reasonable. Since this was back > 40 years, I shudder to think of what new laws will be discovered very soon, as we reach the peak.

Intro from the Quartz article:
In 1976, a professor of economic history at the University of California, Berkeley published an essay outlining the fundamental laws of a force he perceived as humanity’s greatest existential threat: Stupidity.

Stupid people, Carlo M. Cipolla explained, share several identifying traits: they are abundant, they are irrational, and they cause problems for others without apparent benefit to themselves, thereby lowering society’s total well-being. There are no defenses against stupidity, argued the Italian-born professor, who died in 2000. The only way a society can avoid being crushed by the burden of its idiots is if the non-stupid work even harder to offset the losses of their stupid brethren.

Here are Professor Cipolla's 5 laws without comment, but the article has elucidations on each:

Law 1: Always and inevitably everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

Law 2: The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person.

Law 3. A stupid person is a person who causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses.

Law 4: 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.

Law 5: A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person. (PS: One must read the article about his 3 types of people in order to understand "dangerous type" here.)



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