4 min read.Updated: 28 Mar 2022, 01:19 AM ISTNitin Pai
Societies, governments, businesses and individuals are harming their own interests in their response
In The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity, a brief but very insightful treatise on the subject, the 20th century economic historian Carlo M. Cipolla defines a stupid person as one who harms others while deriving no benefit oneself. Unlike intelligent people who create win-win outcomes or bandits who benefit at the cost of others, stupid people act in ways that create lose-lose scenarios. In a way, Cipolla resolves “one of history’s most compelling paradoxes" that Barbara Tuchman poses in The March of Folly—why governments pursue policies that are contrary to their own interests. The answer is stupidity.