Over two thousand years ago, there was a philosopher, Laozi, who was sure that people were naturally good (someone called Jesus Christ had the same idea). About the same time another character, Shâng Yâng, reckoned they were naturally bad and invented an impressive list of punishments. Funny, ancient history seems to give us no wise guys who thought that people were naturally suckers. How did they miss such a deep human truth? Give me a reason, any reason, that your scam or your widget will work and I can sell it. It’s the story that sells, not the balm or the widget. (Well, except to a few boring characters who actually want facts). People always want to believe in something, tailored in simplicity to their intelligence. It just needs Joe Blogs to be given an attractive reason and he’ll believe that the moon is made of cheese, so find out what he thinks adds up to an attractive reason. Few people will admit that their own judgement is poor. Actually the evidence for common bad judgement is overwhelming (e.g. exibit A: marriage with a 50% national failure rate). How lucky. Since so many individuals make such infallibly bad choices, the market has no rational boundaries. A crooked operator can parley almost anything into a dollar. Heck, even an honest man can sell fridges to Eskimos.
(also see http://thormay.net/unwiseideas/aphorism.html for this and other Shortcuts)