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Encyclopedia > Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930), is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. While often described as a "black conservative", he prefers not to be labeled, and considers himself more libertarian than conservative.[1] He often writes from an economically laissez faire perspective. He is currently a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science. Conservative British author Paul Johnson has described Sowell as "America's leading philosopher". June 30 is the 181st day of the year (182nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 184 days remaining. ... 1930 (MCMXXX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link is to a full 1930 calendar). ... Alan Greenspan, former chairman, United States Federal Reserve. ... Look up laissez faire in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University (or simply Stanford), is a private university located approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles northwest of San José in Stanford, California. ... Hoover Tower at the Hoover Institution The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded by Herbert Hoover at Stanford University, his alma mater. ... The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) is a conservative think tank, founded in 1943, whose stated mission is to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism — limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and responsibility, vigilant and effective defense and foreign policies... The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities. ... History studies the past in human terms. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Political Science is the field concerning the theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behaviour. ... Paul Johnson (born Paul Bede Johnson on November 2, 1928 in Manchester, England) is a British Roman Catholic journalist, historian, speechwriter and author. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ...

Contents

Education

Sowell was born in North Carolina, where, he recounts, his encounters with white people were so limited that he didn't believe that "yellow" was a possible color for human hair (A Personal Odyssey), and later moved with his mother and siblings (his father died before he was born) to Harlem, New York City. There he attended the highly selective Stuyvesant High School, but dropped out when he moved out on his own at the age of 17 because of money problems and a deteriorating home environment.[1] Soon after, he served in the US Marine Corps as a photographer and pistol instructor. Official language(s) English Capital Raleigh Largest city Charlotte Area  Ranked 28th  - Total 53,865 sq mi (139,509 km²)  - Width 150 miles (240 km)  - Length 560[1] miles (901 km)  - % water 9. ... For other uses, see Harlem (disambiguation). ... Midtown Manhattan, looking north from the Empire State Building, 2005 New York City (officially named the City of New York) is the most populous city in the state of New York and the entire United States. ... Stuyvesant High School, affectionately known as Stuy, is a New York City public high school that specializes in mathematics and science. ... United States Marine Corps Emblem The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is the second smallest of the five branches of the United States armed forces, with 170,000 active and 40,000 reserve Marines as of 2002. ...


After his service, he first enrolled in college at Howard University, but earned an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College, an A.M. in Economics from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago. He chose University of Chicago, he has said, because he wanted to study under George Stigler, who would later (in 1982) win the Nobel Prize in Economics. Sowell has taught at prominent American universities including Howard University, Cornell University, Brandeis University, and UCLA. Since 1980 he has been a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University, where he holds the fellowship named after Rose and Milton Friedman. [2] Howard University is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research extensive historically black university in Washington, D.C. Affectionately known as Black Harvard, Howard was established in 1867 by congressional order and named after Oliver O. Howard. ... Harvard Yard Harvard College is the undergraduate section and oldest school of Harvard University, having been founded in 1636. ... Columbia University is a private research university in the United States. ... The University of Chicago is a private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ... George Joseph Stigler (1911 - 1991) was a U.S. economist. ... The Nobel Prizes (Swedish: ) are awards in Physics, Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physiology or Medicine and Economics. ... Howard University is a Carnegie Doctoral/Research extensive historically black university in Washington, D.C. Affectionately known as Black Harvard, Howard was established in 1867 by congressional order and named after Oliver O. Howard. ... Cornell University is a private university located in Ithaca, New York, USA. Its two medical campuses are in New York City and Education City, Qatar. ... Brandeis University is a private university in Waltham, Massachusetts, United States. ... Binomial name Ucla xenogrammus Holleman, 1993 The largemouth triplefin, Ucla xenogrammus, is a fish of the family Tripterygiidae and only member of the genus Ucla, found in the Pacific Ocean from Viet Nam, the Philippines, Palau and the Caroline Islands to Papua New Guinea, Australia (including Christmas Island), and the... Hoover Tower at the Hoover Institution The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded by Herbert Hoover at Stanford University, his alma mater. ... Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University (or simply Stanford), is a private university located approximately 37 miles (60 kilometers) southeast of San Francisco and approximately 20 miles northwest of San José in Stanford, California. ... Rose Director Friedman (believed to be born the last week of December1911. ... Milton Friedman (July 31, 1912 – November 16, 2006) was a prominent American economist and public intellectual. ...


Writings

Sowell is both a popular columnist and an academic economist. A columnist is a journalist who produces a specific form of writing for publication called a column. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and the Internet. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ...


Besides scholarly writing, Sowell has written books, articles and syndicated columns for a general audience, in such publications as Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and major newspapers. Sowell primarily writes on economic subjects, generally advocating a free market approach to capitalism. Sowell opposes Marxism, providing a critique in his book Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. He also argues that, contrary to popular perception, Marx never held to a labor theory of value. Sowell also writes on racial topics and is a critic of affirmative action,[3],[4]. Alternate meaning: For the Boston Brahmin family associated with John Forbes Kerry, see Forbes family. ... The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is an influential international daily newspaper published in New York City, New York with a worldwide average daily circulation of more than 2. ... A free market is an idealized market, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of coercion are inclusive of theft). Colloquially and loosely, a free market economy is an economy... It has been suggested that Definitions of capitalism be merged into this article or section. ... Marxism takes its name from the praxis (the synthesis of philosophy and political action) of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... The labor theory of value (LTV) is a theory in classical economics concerning the value of an exchangeable good or service. ... Manifestations Slavery · Racial profiling · Lynching Hate speech · Hate crime · Hate groups Genocide · The Holocaust · Armenian Genocide · Pogrom Ethnocide · Ethnic cleansing · Race war Religious persecution · Gay bashing Blood libel · Black Legend Pedophobia · Ephebiphobia Movements Discriminatory Aryanism · Neo-Nazism · Ku Klux Klan National Party (South Africa) American Nazi Party Kahanism · Supremacism Anti...


In another departure from economics, Sowell's book The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late (A follow-up to his Late-Talking Children) investigates the phenomenon of late-talking children frequently misdiagnosed with autism or pervasive developmental disorder. He includes the research of- among others- Professor Stephen Camarata, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University and Professor Steven Pinker, Ph.D., of Harvard University in this overview of a poorly understood developmental trait which affected many historical figures. Some of the famous late-talkers mentioned include physicists Albert Einstein, Edward Teller and Richard Feynman, mathematician Julia Robinson and musicians such as Arthur Rubenstein and Clara Schumann. The book and its contributing researchers make an interesting case for the theory that some children develop unevenly (asynchronous development) for a period in childhood due to rapid and extraordinary development in the analytical functions of the brain, which may temporarily "rob resources" from neighboring functions such as language development. Einstein syndrome is a hypothetical developmental condition identifiable in infants, where delayed development of speech is paradoxically combined with signs of high intelligence in other respects, such as music, numeracy and puzzle-solving. ... Autism is classified by the World Health Organization and American Psychological Association as a developmental disability that results from a disorder of the human central nervous system. ... Vanderbilt University is a private, nonsectarian, coeducational research university in Nashville, Tennessee. ... Steven Pinker Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18, 1954) is a prominent Canadian-born American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and popular science writer known for his spirited and wide-ranging advocacy of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA and a member of the Ivy League. ... Albert Einstein ( ) (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a German-born theoretical physicist who is best known for his theory of relativity and specifically mass-energy equivalence, . He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his services to Theoretical Physics, and especially for his discovery of the... Edward Teller (original Hungarian name Teller Ede) (January 15, 1908 – September 9, 2003) was a Jewish Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as the father of the hydrogen bomb. ... Richard Phillips Feynman (May 11, 1918 – February 15, 1988; surname pronounced ) was an American physicist known for expanding the theory of quantum electrodynamics, the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, and particle theory. ... Julia Hall Bowman Robinson (December 8, 1919 - July 30, 1985) was an American mathematician, born in Saint Louis, Missouri. ... Arthur Rubinstein photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1937 Artur Rubinstein (January 28, 1887 – December 20, Polish pianist best known for his performances of Chopin and his championing of Spanish music. ... Clara Schumann Clara Josephine Wieck Schumann (September 13, 1819 – May 20, 1896) was a German musician, one of the leading pianists of the Romantic era, as well as a composer, and wife of composer Robert Schumann. ... In animals the brain, or encephalon (Greek for in the head), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for thought. ...


Sowell, a layman in the fields of speech pathology and developmental psychology, is clear that his own son’s late speech development and later giftedness sparked his interest in the subject. From this personal standpoint, as well as from the observation that child development fields lack information on the issue, the book appears to be an attempt to urge more researchers to look more deeply into what autism "is not" while research continues on what autism "is", all in order to avoid future misdiagnosis. Through case studies, the book provides evidence that many late-talking children mislabeled as autistic or "retarded" (as were Einstein, Feynman, Rubinstein, Schuman and Robinson before they could communicate) may defy diagnoses and develop into extraordinary adults without lingering speech problems or social maladroitness. This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


The book includes personal accounts of families who battled misdiagnoses of their bright, late-talking children. The overall effect of the anecdotes, research and Sowell's observations paint a culture of incomprehension, territoriality and jealousy among, as Sowell calls them, "para-professional" speech therapists and even some medical specialists in fields of child development, resulting in the misattribution of pathology to all things differing from the norm, particularly traits displayed by gifted individuals. Pathology (from Greek pathos, feeling, pain, suffering; and logos, study of; see also -ology) is the study of the processes underlying disease and other forms of illness, harmful abnormality, or dysfunction. ...


The book contradicts speculation by Simon Baron-Cohen that Einstein may have Asperger's Syndrome. Simon Baron-Cohen is a British professor of developmental psychopathology in the departments of psychiatry and experimental psychology at the University of Cambridge, a Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom. ... Asperger described his patients as little professors. Aspergers syndrome (AS, or the more common shorthand Aspergers), is characterized as one of the five pervasive developmental disorders, and is commonly referred to as a form of high functioning autism. ...


Columns

Sowell has a regular politics column that appears on the conservative Townhall.com website. Townhall. ...


A selection of the liberal positions of which Sowell is a staunch critic:

He has defended racial profiling regarding terrorist suspects today. He is a supporter of free market and pro-growth economics. In a recent column he criticized as "socialism for the rich" certain policies which he claims benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. [17] Media bias is a real or perceived tendency of journalists and news producers within the mass media to approach both the presentation of particular stories, and the selection of which stories to cover, with an unbalanced perspective. ... Judicial activism is the tendency of some judges to take a flexible view of their power of judicial interpretation, especially when such judges import subjective reasoning that displaces objective evaluation of applicable law. ... Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States, by Howard Chandler Christy. ... The phrase partial-birth abortion is a controversial one used primarily by abortion opponents in the United States. ... This article or section needs copy editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone and/or spelling. ... Same-sex marriage is marriage between individuals who are of the same legal or biological sex. ... Life support, in the medical field, refers to a set of therapies for preserving a patients life when essential body systems are not functioning sufficiently to sustain life unaided. ... The minimum wage is the minimum rate a worker can legally be paid (usually per hour) as opposed to wages that are determined by the forces of supply and demand in a free market. ... Publicly funded medicine is a level of medical service that is paid wholly or in majority part by public funds (taxes or quasi-taxes). ... Manifestations Slavery · Racial profiling · Lynching Hate speech · Hate crime · Hate groups Genocide · The Holocaust · Armenian Genocide · Pogrom Ethnocide · Ethnic cleansing · Race war Religious persecution · Gay bashing Blood libel · Black Legend Pedophobia · Ephebiphobia Movements Discriminatory Aryanism · Neo-Nazism · Ku Klux Klan National Party (South Africa) American Nazi Party Kahanism · Supremacism Anti... The Politics series Politics Portal This box:      Bureaucracy. ... Racial profiling, also known as ethnic profiling, is the inclusion of racial or ethnic characteristics in determining whether a person is considered likely to commit a particular type of crime (see Offender Profiling). ... Terrorist redirects here. ... A free market is an idealized market, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of coercion are inclusive of theft). Colloquially and loosely, a free market economy is an economy... This article needs additional references or sources to facilitate its verification. ...


Sowell also favors decriminalization of drugs.[2]


Summary of some of Sowell's thought and philosophy

This section briefly summarizes some of the major themes and philosophies of Sowell. They range from social policy on race, ethnic groups, education and decision-making, to classical and Marxist economics, to the problems of children perceived as having disabilities. Sowell has also extended his themes from the United States to the international sphere, finding supporting data from several cultures and nations, and demonstrating that similar incentives and constraints often result in similar outcomes among very different peoples and cultures.


There are three fundamental keys to his work that seem to cut across specific topics: (a) the competing basic visions of policy makers, (b) the importance of empirical evidence both in initiating decisions and actual end results produced, and (c) an "economic" approach stressing trade-offs, constraints and incentives. These 3 keys place Sowell's writings in the greater context of human decision-making, rather than merely being those of a conservative pundit or "race" writer on particular contemporary social issues.


It should be noted that while his works are scrupulously documented, Sowell may sometimes employ humorous or sarcastic use of quotation marks as part of his trenchant writing style, but this style also includes the ability to clearly explain complex phenomena in layman's terms. See "Articles and writings" below. Example from "Basic Economics":

"By its very nature, as a study of the use of scarce resources which have alternative uses, economics is about incremental trade-offs, not about “needs” or “solutions.” That may be why economists have never been as popular as politicians who promise to solve our problems and meet our needs."[3]

1) Empirical evidence and objective analysis of relevant factors is sorely lacking in claims surrounding race, culture and society: In his writings Sowell has repeatedly emphasized the need for empirical evidence and objective assessments of data, as opposed to the sweeping generalizations, wishful thinking, and distorted or false evidence provided by numerous writers in the field of social policy and economics. In no field are these distortions greater than when the topic of race is discussed. Common assumptions and stirring rhetoric about poverty, slavery, discrimination, economic progress or education don't hold up when measured against hard data.[4] Empirical research is any activity that uses direct or indirect observation as its test of reality. ... In science, the ideal of objectivity is an essential aspect of the scientific method, and is generally considered by the scientific community to come about as a result of strict observance of the scientific method, including the scientists willingness to submit their methods and results to an open debate by... For other uses, see Data (disambiguation). ... Social policy is the study of the welfare state, and the range of responses to social need. ...


2) What counts in assessing a social or economic policy is not the stated intentions of promoters, but the actual end results produced: In his book "Marxism: Philosophy and Economics" Sowell shows that this was the outlook of Marx, and applies this "bottom line" approach to other social policies ranging from IQ Tests to affirmative action. In numerous cases he demonstrates that the stated aims of promoters had little relation to the actual results produced. In regard to affirmative action, for example, claims by proponents that it was a temporary measure, that it helped those categories of minorities less fortunate, that it would promote social harmony, et cetera, have all proven false when the empirical evidence is actually analyzed. Too often, Sowell points out, social policy is made on the basis of sweeping assumptions, arbitrarily-selected statistical data, and ideological dogma, where evidence is neither asked for nor offered.[5] Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818, Trier, Germany – March 14, 1883, London) was a German philosopher, political economist, and revolutionary. ... IQ tests are designed to give approximately this Gaussian distribution. ... In sociology and in voting theory, a minority is a sub-group that is outnumbered by persons who do not belong to it. ... A graph of a Normal bell curve showing statistics used in educational assessment and comparing various grading methods. ... Political Ideologies Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      An ideology is an organized collection of ideas. ... For the film Dogma, see Dogma (film) Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas, Greek , plural ) is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization, thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed or doubted. ...


3) Numerous factors determine income and education levels among American ethnic groups, and between genders, not the commonly used, overgeneralized, "all-purpose" explanations of racism, or sexism: In books such as Markets and Minorities, Ethnic America, Race and Culture and many others, Sowell demonstrates the importance of such factors as geography, degree of urbanization, cultural structures, field of work, and other factors much more relevant than charges of “racism”. As with so much social policy, those who make such charges seldom present credible empirical evidence and often none is asked for. As for the “pay gap” between men and women, for example, Sowell’s “Civil Rights” book shows that most of said gap is based on marital status, not some sinister “glass ceiling” discrimination. Earnings for men and women of the same basic description (education, jobs, hours worked, marital status) were essentially equal, something that would not be possible under explanatory theories of “sexism”.[6]


4) Internationally, empirical evidence shows easy charges of colonialism and imperialism, or claims of genetic superiority, to be sorely lacking in explaining technological or economic differences: Sowell’s trilogy, "Race and Culture", "Migrations and Culture" and "Conquests and Cultures" take his analysis up to international level comparing nations and minority groups within nations, particularly migrants. On an international scale, cultural factors are very important and some of the countries heavily subjected to imperialism and colonialism are themselves among the most prosperous- Britain for example which suffered under centuries of Roman colonialism and imperialism. Geographic factors also play an extensive part- from the lack of navigable rivers or fertile land, to settlement patterns. Sowell shows that non-white nations like China were more advanced that those of Europe for centuries until comparatively recent times, and how the West borrowed freely from such nations. Within national settings, students of East Asian origin in the West frequently outperform their white counterparts and score higher on IQ tests, undercutting white supremacist theories of inherent genetic superiority, It has been suggested that Benign colonialism be merged into this article or section. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Immigration is the act of moving to or settling in another country or region, temporarily or permanently. ... Nickname: Motto: SPQR: Senatus Populusque Romanus Location of the city of Rome (yellow) within the Province of Rome (red) and region of Lazio (grey) Coordinates: Region Lazio Province Province of Rome Founded 21 April 753 BC Government  - Mayor Walter Veltroni Area  - City 1,285 km²  (580 sq mi)  - Urban 5... World map showing the location of Europe. ...


5) Many modern ideological struggles can be traced to two visions: the vision of the anointed and the vision of the constrained realist: Sowell lays out these concepts in his "A Conflict of Visions", and "The Vision of the Anointed". These two visions encompass a range of ideas and theories, but essentially the vision of the anointed relies heavily on sweepingly optimistic assumptions about human nature, distrust of decentralized processes like the free market, impatience at systematic processes that constrain human action, and missing or falsified/distorted empirical evidence. The constrained vision relies heavily on a less grand view of the goodness of human nature, and prefers the systematic processes of the free market, and the systematic processes of the rule of law and constitutional government. It distrusts sweeping theories and grand assumptions in favor of heavy reliance on solid empirical evidence and on time-tested structures and processes. For a thought or concept, see idea. ... In mathematics, theory is used informally to refer to a body of knowledge about mathematics. ... For other uses, see Human nature (disambiguation). ... A free market is an idealized market, where all economic decisions and actions by individuals regarding transfer of money, goods, and services are voluntary, and are therefore devoid of coercion and theft (some definitions of coercion are inclusive of theft). Colloquially and loosely, a free market economy is an economy... The rule of law is the principle that governmental authority is legitimately exercised only in accordance with written, publicly disclosed laws adopted and enforced in accordance with established procedure. ... Constitutional government is a political science term which refers to a government acting within constitutional law and the constitution. ...


6) On race and intelligence (as measured by IQ), whole groups and nations have raised their IQ scores over time, undermining various theories of intelligence as regards various minorities like Jews and blacks.

  1. In his writing "Intelligence and Ethnicity" Sowell demonstrates how IQ scores have risen among many groups, (see the Flynn effect) and notes that a number of white ethnic groups tallied poor scores as they began entry into the American urban economy. Jews for example scored dismally on Army intelligence tests during WWI leading to some disparaging commentary. However Jewish IQ scores rose steadily until they currently rank near the top. East Asian IQ scores were likewise unimpressive on some early measurements, but currently that situation is totally reversed.
  2. Black IQ progress has been concealed Sowell shows, by statistical redefinitions or "norming" of the beginning measurement baselines. Thus an IQ score that might have been considered "normal" or "average" in 1960, is today considered below par. By going back and recalculating from the original baselines, not only blacks but entire nations have shown significant rises in IQ over time. He notes that the rough 15-point gap in contemporary black-white IQ scores is similar to the gap between the national average and the scores of assorted white ethnic groups in past times.[7] Indeed similar gaps have been reported within white populations, such as Northern Europeans versus Southern Europeans.
  3. In short Sowell argues, IQ "gaps" are hardly startling or unusual between, and within ethnic groups. What is distressing he claims, is the sometimes hysterical response to the very fact of IQ research, and movements to ban testing in the name of "self-esteem" or "fighting racism." He argues however, that few would have known of black IQ progress if scholars like James Flynn had not undertaken allegedly "racist" research.[8]

7) What some portray as "authentic black culture" is actually a relic of a highly disfunctional white southern redneck culture. This in turn came from the ‘Cracker culture’ of certain regions in Britain, mainly the harsh English borderlands, origin of many 'cracker' migrants. Sowell gives a number of examples that he regards as supporting the lineage, e.g. The Flynn effect is the rise of average Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test scores, an effect seen in most parts of the world, although at greatly varying rates. ... James R. Flynn James R. Flynn, (also Jim Flynn), Emeritus Professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, is notable for his discovery of the Flynn effect, the continued year-on-year rise of IQ test scores in all parts of the world. ...

an aversion to work, proneness to violence, neglect of education, sexual promiscuity, improvidence, drunkenness, lack of entrepreneurship,… and a style of religious oratory marked by strident rhetoric, unbridled emotions, and flamboyant imagery.

Sowell also provides figures to support his argument that there was a far bigger divide between the cracker/redneck culture and the North than between white and black. E.g. Northern blacks tried to stop redneck blacks coming up from the South, and the same happened between northern whites and redneck whites. This thesis is the title essay of Sowell's book Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Black Rednecks and White Liberals is a collection of essays by Thomas Sowell, published in 2005. ...


8) Ordinary citizens might benefit from analyzing issues and public policies in terms of costs, benefits and tradeoffs, where scarce resources have alternative uses, rather than rely on lofty rhetoric from political leaders, activists and special interests. In Basic Economics and Applied Economics, Sowell lays out the fundamentals of the discipline so that the layman can understand them, and his essential way or model for approaching problems. There are no free lunches Sowell emphasizes, only tradeoffs at various levels. This "transactional" approach to social and economic policy is one of the hallmarks of Sowell's writings. Quote:

"Lofty talk about “non-economic values” too often amounts to very selfish attempts to impose one’s own values, without having to weigh them against other people’s values. Taxing away what other people have earned, in order to finance one’s own fantasy ventures, is often depicted as a humanitarian endeavor, while allowing others the same freedom and dignity as oneself, so they can make their own choices with their own earnings, is considered to be pandering to “greed.” Greed for power is more dangerous than greed for money and has shed far more blood in the process. Political authorities have often had “revolutionary values” that were devastating to the general population."[9]

Those influenced by Sowell

Sowell's book Race and Economics greatly influenced Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Thomas read the book in 1975, and later said that the book changed his life. Bates College in Maine has an endowed professorship in economics named after Sowell.[18] Race and Economics is a book by Thomas Sowell, in which he makes three basic arguments. ... Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures (List) State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest judicial body in the... Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist and has been an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States since 1991. ... For other uses, see Bates (disambiguation), Bates (surname) Bates College is a private liberal arts college, founded in 1855 by abolitionists, located in Lewiston, Maine, in the United States. ...


Quotes

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • "One of the bitter ironies of the 20th century was that communism, which began as an egalitarian doctrine accusing capitalism of selfishness and calloused sacrifices of others, became in power a system whose selfishness and callousness toward others made the sins of capitalism pale." [19]
  • "'Entitlement' is not only the opposite of achievement, it undermines incentives to do all the hard work that leads to achievement. It is the people who were born and raised in the welfare state atmosphere who seem to have great difficulty finding jobs."
  • "To me, the fact that I have never killed an editor is proof that the death penalty deters."
  • "When I see the worsening degeneracy in our politicians, our media, our educators, and our intelligentsia, I can’t help wondering if the day may yet come when the only thing that can save this country is a military coup." [20]
  • "Too many academics write as if plain English is beneath their dignity and some seem to regard logic as an unconstitutional infringement of their freedom of speech."
  • "Envy plus rhetoric equals 'social justice'."
  • "One of the sad signs of our times is that we have demonized those who produce, subsidized those who refuse to produce, and canonized those who complain."
  • "If you have always believed that everyone should play by the same rules and be judged by the same standards, that would have gotten you labeled a radical 60 years ago, a liberal 30 years ago and a racist today."
  • "Blacks were not enslaved because they were black but because they were available. Slavery has existed in the world for thousands of years. Whites enslaved other whites in Europe for centuries before the first black was brought to the Western hemisphere. Asians enslaved Europeans. Asians enslaved other Asians. Africans enslaved other Africans, and indeed even today in North Africa, blacks continue to enslave blacks."
  • "The next time some academics tell you how important 'diversity' is, ask how many Republicans there are in their sociology department."
  • "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."
  • "Both free speech rights and property rights belong legally to individuals, but their real function is social, to benefit vast numbers of people who do not themselves exercise these rights."
  • "Prices are important not because money is considered paramount but because prices are a fast and effective conveyor of information through a vast society in which fragmented knowledge must be coordinated."
  • "The real minimum wage is zero [unemployment]."
  • "Imagine a political system so radical as to promise to move more of the poorest 20% of the population into the richest 20% than remain in the poorest bracket within the decade? You don't need to imagine it. It's called the United States of America."
  • "The most fundamental fact about the ideas of the political left is that they do not work. Therefore we should not be surprised to find the left concentrated in institutions where ideas do not have to work in order to survive."
  • "Liberals seem to assume that, if you don't believe in their particular political solutions, then you don't really care about the people that they claim to want to help."
  • "A recently reprinted memoir by Frederick Douglass has footnotes explaining what words like 'arraigned,' 'curried' and 'exculpate' meant, and explaining who Job was. In other words, this man who was born a slave and never went to school educated himself to the point where his words now have to be explained to today's expensively under-educated generation."
  • "Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."
  • "Freedom has cost too much blood and agony to be relinquished at the cheap price of rhetoric."
  • "One of the most fashionable notions of our times is that social problems like poverty and oppression breed wars. Most wars, however, are started by well-fed people with time on their hands to dream up half-baked ideologies or grandiose ambitions, and to nurse real or imagined grievances."
  • "Like a baseball game, wars are not over till they are over. Wars don't run on a clock like football. No previous generation was so hopelessly unrealistic that this had to be explained to them."
  • "Would you bet your paycheck on a weather forecast for tomorrow? If not, then why should this country bet billions on 'global warming' predictions that have even less foundation?"
  • "Many of the same people who cry 'No blood for oil' also want higher gas-mileage standards for cars. But higher mileage standards have meant lighter and flimsier cars, leading to more injuries and deaths in accidents — in other words, trading blood for oil."
  • "It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance."
  • "The simplest and most psychologically satisfying explanation of any observed phenomenon is that it happened that way because someone wanted it to happen that way."
  • "Facts do not 'speak for themselves.' They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theories or visions are mere isolated curiosities."
  • "The march of science and technology does not imply growing intellectual complexity in the lives of most people. It often means the opposite."
  • "The Massachusetts Institute of Technology accepts blacks in the top ten percent of students, but at MIT this puts them in the bottom ten percent of the class" (1980s)

Image File history File links This is a lossless scalable vector image. ... Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ... // A coup dÉtat (pronounced ), or simply coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government, often through illegal means by a part of the state establishment — mostly replacing just the high-level figures. ...

Books by Sowell

  • 2007. A Man of Letters. Encounter Books, ISBN 1-5940-3196-7
  • 2006. Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays. Hoover Institution Press, ISBN 0-8179-4752-3
  • 2006. On Classical Economics. Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-11316-1
  • 2005. Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Encounter Books, ISBN 1-59403-086-3
  • 2004. Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study. Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-10199-6
  • 2004. Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy, revised and expanded ed. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08145-2
  • 2003. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One, ISBN 0-465-08143-6
  • 2003. Inside American Education, ISBN 0-7432-5408-2
  • 2002. The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late, ISBN 0-465-08141-X
  • 2002. Controversial Essays, ISBN 0-8179-2992-4
  • 2002. A Conflict of Visions: Ideological Origins of Political Struggles. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08142-8
  • 2002. A Personal Odyssey, ISBN 0-684-86465-7
  • 2002. The Quest For Cosmic Justice, ISBN 0-684-86463-0
  • 1998. Conquests and Cultures: An International History, ISBN 0-465-01400-3
  • 1996. Migrations and Cultures: A World View, ISBN 0-465-04589-8
  • 1996. The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08995-X
  • 1994. Race and Culture: A World View, ISBN 0-465-06796-4
  • 1987. Compassion versus guilt, and other essays, ISBN: 0688071147.
  • 1986. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. Quill, ISBN 0-688-06426-4
  • 1984. Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality? William Morrow, ISBN 0-688-03113-7.
  • 1983. Economics and Politics of Race. William Morrow, ISBN 0-688-01891-2
  • 1981. Ethnic America: A History. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-02074-7
  • 1981. Markets and Minorities. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-04399-2
  • 1980. Knowledge and Decisions. Basic Books.
  • 1975. Race and Economics. David McKay Company Inc, ISBN 0-679-30262-X.

Black Rednecks and White Liberals is a collection of essays by Thomas Sowell, published in 2005. ... Encounter Books is a publishing house that has published books by many authors including Wesley J. Smith, Victor Davis Hanson, Melanie Phillips, William Kristol and Thomas Sowell. ... Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study is a 2004 nonfiction work by economist Thomas Sowell, catalogued ISBN 0300101996. ... A Conflict of Visions is a book by Thomas Sowell. ... The Vision of the Anointed is a book by political columnist Thomas Sowell skewering people Sowell calls teflon prophets, who predict that all sorts of social, economic, or environmental problems will occur without massive government intervention. ... Marxism takes its name from the praxis (the synthesis of philosophy and political action) of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. ... Race and Economics is a book by Thomas Sowell, in which he makes three basic arguments. ...

Articles and interviews

External links

Notes

  1. ^ Sawhill R. (1999) "Black and right: Thomas Sowell talks about the arrogance of liberal elites and the loneliness of the black conservative." Salon.com. Accessed May 6, 2007.
  2. ^ Sowell, Thomas (1987); Compassion versus guilt, and other essays; ISBN 0688071147.
  3. ^ Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell, p. 311
  4. ^ Sowell, Thomas (1981). Knowledge and Decisions
  5. ^ Sowell, Thomas (2004). Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study, Yale University Press, ISBN 0-300-10199-6
  6. ^ "Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality", Thomas Sowell, 1984. "Markets and Minorities, Thomas Sowell, 1981
  7. ^ The Bell Curve Wars- Thomas Sowell- Chapter 6 'Ethnicity and IQ", pg 70-80
  8. ^ "Race and IQ" - column for townhall.com
  9. ^ Basic Economics, Thomas Sowell, p. 308

  Results from FactBites:
 
Thomas Sowell - definition of Thomas Sowell in Encyclopedia (207 words)
Thomas Sowell (born 1930) is a writer and economist and a prominent libertarian.
Sowell graduated in 1948 from Stuyvesant High School in New York City, and holds an A.B. in Economics from Harvard College, an A.M. in Economics from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Chicago, known for its Chicago school of economics.
Sowell also writes on racial topics, and is a critic of affirmative action, which has made him a controversial figure.
Thomas Sowell - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1279 words)
Thomas Sowell (born 30 June 1930) is a prominent American economist, political writer, and conservative/libertarian [1] commentator.
Sowell was born in North Carolina, where, he recounts, his encounters with white people were so limited that he didn't believe that "yellow" was a possible color for human hair (A Personal Odyssey, 2000), and later moved with his mother and siblings (his father died before he was born) to Harlem, New York City.
Sowell primarily writes on economic subjects, in which he generally advocates a free market approach to capitalism.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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