Behavior Politics

Dumbness should pay tax

Dumbness should pay tax

"There are so many dumb people bossing around men of intelligence that sometimes I think that dumbness is a science."

Antônio Aleixo

At a time of tax reform, when the aim is to be creative in order to increase tax collection and improve fiscal balance, the government has been doing all sorts of things to scrape the bottom of the barrel and collect more. It has shelved a tax simplification project, interfered in the balance of CARF and launched a crusade to tax the rich. This treasure-hunting agenda could be increased with more creativity. I suggest taxing stupidity.

Depending on the rate applied and thinking about the number of azemoles we have in the world, I estimate an additional revenue of billions of reais for the public coffers. Incidentally, this makes me adapt Abraham Lincoln's famous phrase: "God must love stupid (mediocre, in the original) men. He made a lot of them". 

I'm not talking about the ignorant, the uneducated, or those who have some kind of retardation or special condition. These are the victims of a policy that doesn't prioritize basic education and leaves it up to the less well-off to seek a minimum education.

I'm referring to classic stupidity, which in the words of the Italian historian and economist Carlo Cipolla "is someone who causes harm to another person or a group of people, without gaining any advantage for themselves, or even harming themselves".

Dumbness has the inseparable characteristic of translating itself into action, which is why it becomes dangerous. Even intelligent people tend to overlook the risks inherent in stupidity. It is more dangerous, for example, than cruelty, because cruelty has an understandable logic and can be dealt with. In the words of Nelson Rodrigues, "What can be done about stupidity? I suspect there is no possible reaction".

The new tax is democratic because it affects rich, poor, men, women, asexuals, transsexuals and the entire LGBTQI+ chain, regardless of race or creed.

And in order to define the element of incidence of the new tax on stupidity, we will see the following characteristics present:

1) Dumbness is recurrent: dumb people repeat the same mistake over and over again. They don't recognize their own limits, they remain inert in their convictions and don't change. The Italian psychologist Luigi Anolli often says that "in the clinical field, stupidity is the worst disease, because it is incurable". The stupid repeat their stupidity because they don't understand the damage they've done and therefore can't correct themselves;

2) Dumbness is transmissible: crowds are dumber than isolated people. This explains why entire populations can be easily conditioned to pursue insane goals, a phenomenon commonly known in psychology, because the emotional contagion of the group diminishes critical capacity. According to Anolli, "we can see the polarization of decision-making";

3) Dumbness is usually in a position of command: "power dumbens", says the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. For the philosopher, people think they are better, more capable, more intelligent than others when they are in power and they often surround themselves with sycophants and profiteers who reinforce this illusion.

We all have a greater stupidity factor than we realize, which is why the tax reaches a wide range of taxpayers. It leads, for example, a President of the Republic to ignore scientific studies because they don't coincide with his point of view; King Louis XVI, on July 14, 1789, (the date of the fall of the Bastille, the event that started the French Revolution) to write in his diary: "Today, nothing new"; or Napoleon Bonaparte to attack Russia in the middle of the winter of 1812; or even the collective masturbation of medical students at a renowned Brazilian college.

Scientific studies have concluded that it's possible to discover that we're a bit dumb, but our brains work in such a way as to hide this reality from us. Statistics show that 50% of drivers don't know how to drive, but they aren't aware of it, otherwise they would use public transport and increase their chances of survival. However, 80% of people admitted to hospital as a result of a car accident believe they belong to the elite of drivers. The same example can be applied to the helicopter, the world of work, the soccer pitch, and so on. It's not for nothing that the coaches of soccer teams are constantly "awarded" the adjective "dumb" for not seeing what 70,000 people can clearly see.

The point to be circumvented in this new tax is that when we recognize that we owe the tax, we automatically recognize that we are dumb, and our ego and self-esteem do not easily accept this unwelcome guest. So, in order to avoid this tax evasion, the tax would be levied under the heading of "tax on madness", because it is well known that we find it easier to call ourselves mad, but never dumb.

Dumbness has a positive side because it allows us to make mistakes, and in the experience of making mistakes there is always progress in knowledge. Therefore, the key to overcoming stupidity is to recognize your own mistakes and correct yourself. However, paying a modest tax on the act of stupidity would help the public coffers and, consequently, society as a whole.

This tax tends to decrease over time. If not, let's see: the greater the stupidity, the greater the tax, and the greater the tax, the more investment in education. Therefore, the greater the education, the less future stupidity, reducing the incidence of the same tax. Or, for lovers of the exact sciences, represented in the following mathematical expression (where b stands for stupidity; Imp stands for tax and Edu stands for education):

b = Imp2 => Edu ... Edu > b

In this way, society can profit from stupidity. In the words of the French writer Paul Valéry: "There is a stupid inside me. I must take advantage of his mistakes".

About Author

Maurício Ferro

What do soccer, wine, law, politics, and economics have in common? Much more than you can imagine. And contrary to what the popular saying says, they can and should be debated and analyzed, yes. Welcome to Maurício Ferro's site, a channel to create and exchange thoughts and opinions. Maurício Ferro is a lawyer, graduated from PUC university in Rio de Janeiro, with a Master's degree and specializations from universities such as the London School and the University of London. He studied OPM at Harvard Business School. Author of published works in the commercial and capital markets areas, and acting in the Board of Directors of large companies, he based his legal and executive career with a focus on Business Law. But his passion goes beyond the corporate world. A passionate Flamenguista, Mauricio knows the ins and outs of the professional world of soccer and other sports. He is a partner in innovative companies such as 2Blive, a global startup focused on technological solutions to fill the education gap, especially in areas of great need such as Africa. He also invests in the Flow Kana company, based in California, and focused on the scientific production of cannabis for various purposes, such as medicinal, clothing production, or recreational use. To all these ingredients, add a deep knowledge of wine and the delicious ways of winemaking. That is the recipe for what you will find here.

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