The basic laws of human stupidity [Carlo M Cipolla] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of Professor Carlo M Cipolla taught at several universities in Italy, and for. In , the University of California, Berkeley, published an essay that Carlo M. Cipolla, a professor of economic history wrote, which outlines.

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The whole business would amount to massive transfers of wealth and welfare in favour of those who would take action. He was born in Paviawhere he got his academic degree in In addition, its base Corollary: The people unfortunate-smart, even if take individual losses can produce positive social effects.

The amount of damages should be measured from the perspective of the victim and not the bandit, and that is that most of the thieves and criminals are pretty stupid.

Improbable Research: the laws of human stupidity | Education | The Guardian

One may distinguish the composite population which constitutes a university in five cioolla groups, namely the blue-collar workers, the white-collar employees, the students, the administrators and the professors.

Stupid people cause losses to other people with no counterpart of gains on their own account.

When most of a society is stupid, then the prevalence of idiots becomes dominant and incurable. All this suggests some reflection on the performance of societies. This theoretical presumption is abundantly confirmed by an exhaustive analysis of historical cases.

You have no rational way of telling if and when and how and why the stupid creature attacks. Non-stupid people always underestimate the damaging power of stupid individuals.


If we study the percentage of stupid among the janitors who clean the classrooms after the students and teachers left, we find that is much higher than we thought. It may be parenthetically added here that of the Five Basic Laws, the Fifth is certainly the best known and its corollary is quoted very frequently.

We also recollect cases in which a fellow took an action which resulted in his loss and our gain: A person who robs you of pounds without causing you an extra loss or harm is a perfect bandit: It is also quite clear that, depending on their location in this system people will have greater or lesser degree of stupidity, intelligence, banditry, etc.

The probability that a certain person be stupid is independent of any other characteristic of that person. Always and inevitably, everyone underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.

People like to think of human beings as the output of a perfectly engineered mass production machine. However the “perfect” bandits are relatively few. Even by using his values to measure his gains but still using your values to measure your losses he falls in the B 2 area very close to the border of sheer stupidity. And the country goes to Hell.

It is extremely difficult to explain why this should happen and one can only remark that when confronted with stupid individuals often intelligent men as well as bandits make the mistake of indulging in feelings of self-complacency and contemptuousness instead of immediately secreting adequate quantities of adrenaline and building up defenses.


The truly amazing fact, however, is that also intelligent people and bandits often fail to recognize the power to damage inherent in stupidity.

Carlo M. Cipolla

Without mentioning any form of the word “stupidity”, it serves as an enlightening and dismaying supplement to the basic laws. These people may very possibly be too considered to tell me the truth.

stu;idity Unfortunately, I know how these tests work and they do not prove anything. After the action of a perfect bandit, the bandit has a plus on his account which plus is exactly equivalent to the minus he has caused to another person.

And brings us back to the painful original question: The First Basic Law prevents me from attributing a specific numerical value to the fraction of stupid people within the total population: The difference between the two societies is that in the society which performs poorly:.

Carlo M. Cipolla – Wikipedia

The X axis measures the benefits derived from their actions. As the Third Basic Law explicitly clarifies:. On occasion one is tempted to associate oneself with a stupid individual in order to use him for one’s own schemes. Retrieved 28 July Obviously both sides of the diagonal are the imperfect cipola. His essay about stupidity encompasses all those other topics, and perhaps all of human experience.