- 6,99 €
'A classic' - Simon Kuper, Financial Times
'Brilliant' - James O'Brien, author of How to be Right
The five laws that confirm our worst fears: stupid people can and do rule the world.
Since time immemorial, a powerful dark force has hindered the growth of human welfare and happiness. It is more powerful than the Mafia or the military. It has global catastrophic effects and can be found anywhere from the world's most powerful boardrooms to your local pub. This is the immensely powerful force of human stupidity.
Seeing the shambolic state of human affairs, and sensing the dark force at work behind it, Carlo M. Cipolla, the late, noted professor of economic history at the University of California, Berkeley, created a vitally important economic model that would allow us to detect, know and neutralise this threat: The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity.
If you've ever found yourself despairing at the ubiquity of stupidity among even the most 'intellectual' of people, then this hilarious, timely and slightly alarming little book is for you. Arm yourself in the face of baffling political realities, unreasonable colleagues or the unbridled misery of dinner with the in-laws with the first and only economic model for stupidity.
Stupidity is "one of the most powerful dark forces that hinder the growth of human welfare and happiness," according to this tongue-in-cheek treatise originally published in a 1976 private edition. Cipolla (1922 2000), a professor of economic history at UC Berkeley, argues that, of the four types of human beings ("the helpless, the intelligent, the bandit, and the stupid"), a stupid person is the most dangerous to society because he "causes losses to another person or to a group of persons while himself deriving no gain and even possibly incurring losses." Though every group has the same percentage of stupid people, their actual numbers are always underestimated, Cipolla posits. Previously, class, caste, and religion guaranteed that stupid people rose to power, but nowadays general elections achieve the same ends by offering stupid voters "a magnificent opportunity to harm everybody else without gaining anything from their action." In countries on the decline, Cipolla writes, "bandits with overtones of stupidity" proliferate in the corridors of power, while the rest of the population sees an "alarming growth in the number of helpless individuals." Cipolla never drops his arch, academic tone to reveal his political views, but progressive readers looking for parallels to the Trump era will find plenty in this subtly lacerating account.