Thomas Sowell (born June 30, 1930), is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. Events 350 - Roman usurper Nepotianus, of the Constantinian dynasty, is defeated and killed by troops of the Usurper Year 1930 ( MCMXXX) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display 1930 calendar of the Gregorian calendar. The United States of America —commonly referred to as the An economist is an expert in the Social science of Economics. While often described as a "black conservative", he prefers not to be labeled, and considers himself more libertarian than conservative. Black conservatism is an international political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the conservative movement Libertarianism is a term used by a broad spectrum of political philosophies which prioritize individual Liberty and seek to minimize or even abolish the  He often writes from an economically laissez-faire perspective. Laissez-faire ( pronunciation: French,; English,) is a French phrase literally meaning Let do (“allow to do” He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. A fellow in the broadest sense is someone who is an equal or a comrade The Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace is a libertarian Public policy Think tank and Library founded in 1919 by U Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is a private Research university located in In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. The Francis Boyer Award was once the highest honor conferred by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI is a conservative Think tank, founded in 1943 In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science. 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 History is the study of the past particularly the written record Those who study history as a Profession are called Historians Etymology Economics is the social science that studies the production distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Political science is a branch of Social sciences that deals with the theory and practice of Politics and the description and analysis of Political systems
Thomas 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). North Carolina ( is a state located on the Atlantic Seaboard in the southeastern United States He later moved with his mother's sister (whom he thought to be his mother; his father died before he was born) and siblings to Harlem, New York City. Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, long known as a major African American cultural and business center The City of New York He dropped out of high school when he moved out on his own at the age of 17 because of money problems and a deteriorating home environment.  These hard-scrabble years are detailed in his biography. Soon after, he served in the US Marine Corps.
After his service, Sowell passed a GED and enrolled at Howard University. General Educational Development (or GED) tests are a group of five tests which (when passed certifies that the taker has American or Canadian High Howard University is a private, Coeducational Nonsectarian University located in Washington D His high grades enabled him to transfer and complete a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Harvard College, magna cum laude, a Master of Arts in Economics from Columbia University, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Economics from the University of Chicago. Economics is the social science that studies the production distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Harvard College is the undergraduate section and oldest school of Harvard University, a Private university in the United States founded in 1636 by the Massachusetts Latin honors are Latin phrases used to indicate the level of academic distinction with which an Academic degree was earned A Master of Arts ( Latin: Magister Artium) is a Postgraduate academic Master's degree awarded by universities in a large Columbia University is a private University in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. "PhD" redirects here for other uses see PhD (disambiguation. The University of Chicago is a Private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. He initially chose Columbia University he has said, because he wanted to study under George Stigler. Columbia University is a private University in the United States and a member of the Ivy League. George Joseph Stigler ( January 17, 1911 December 1, 1991) was a U After arriving at Columbia and hearing that Stigler had moved on to Chicago, Sowell followed him there. 
Sowell has taught at prominent American universities including Howard University, Cornell University, Brandeis University, and UCLA. Howard University is a private, Coeducational Nonsectarian University located in Washington D Brandeis University is a private research University with a Liberal arts focus located in Waltham Massachusetts, United States. The University of California Los Angeles (generally known as UCLA) is a public research university located in Westwood Los Angeles, California, United Since 1980 he has been a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he holds the fellowship named after Rose and Milton Friedman. The Hoover Institution on War Revolution and Peace is a libertarian Public policy Think tank and Library founded in 1919 by U Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly known as Stanford University or simply Stanford, is a private Research university located in Rose Director Friedman, also known as Rose D Friedman and Rose Director, is the widow of Milton Friedman, the winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize Milton Friedman (July 31 1912 November 16 2006 was an American Nobel Laureate Economist and Public intellectual. 
Sowell is both a syndicated columnist and an academic economist. Howard University is a private, Coeducational Nonsectarian University located in Washington D Rutgers The State University of New Jersey (also known as Rutgers University) is the largest institution for higher education in the state of New Jersey The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety wage and hour standards Print syndication is a form of syndication in which News articles columns, or Comic strips are made available to Newspapers, Magazines A columnist is a Journalist who writes material on a regular basis for publication in a series
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. Print syndication is a form of syndication in which News articles columns, or Comic strips are made available to Newspapers, Magazines Forbes is an American Publishing and media company Its flagship publication Forbes magazine is published bi-weekly Sowell primarily writes on economic subjects, generally advocating a free market approach to capitalism. A free market is a Market in which property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers Capitalism is the Economic system in which the Means of production are owned by private Persons and operated for Profit and where Sowell opposes Marxism, providing a critique in his book Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. Marxism is the political philosophy and practice derived from the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. He also argues that, contrary to popular perception, Marx never held to a labor theory of value. The labor theories of value (LTV are theories in Economics according to which the values of Commodities are related to the labor needed to
Sowell also writes on racial topics and is a critic of affirmative action. Affirmative action in the United States|Employment equity (Canada|Reservation in India|Numerus clausus The term affirmative action describes many policies aimed at a historically  
In another departure from economics, Sowell wrote The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late, a follow-up to his Late-Talking Children. Einstein Syndrome is a term used to describe exceptionally bright people with a slow development of speech (unlikely to have conversations before age four This book investigates the phenomenon of late-talking children, frequently misdiagnosed with autism or pervasive developmental disorder. Language development. The terminology The diagnostic category pervasive developmental disorders (PDD as opposed to Specific developmental disorders (SDD refers to a group of five disorders characterized He includes the research of — among others — Professor Stephen Camarata, Ph. D. , of Vanderbilt University and Professor Steven Pinker, Ph. Vanderbilt University is a private, Nonsectarian, Coeducational Research University in Nashville, Tennessee, Steven Arthur Pinker (born September 18 1954 is a prominent Canadian - American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, and author D. , of Harvard University in this overview of a poorly understood developmental trait. It is a trait which he says affected many historical figures. He includes famous late-talkers such as physicists Albert Einstein, Edward Teller and Richard Feynman; mathematician Julia Robinson; and musicians Arthur Rubenstein and Clara Schumann. Albert Einstein ( German: ˈalbɐt ˈaɪ̯nʃtaɪ̯n; English: ˈælbɝt ˈaɪnstaɪn (14 March 1879 – 18 April 1955 was a German -born theoretical Edward Teller (original Hungarian name Teller Ede) (January 15 1908 &ndash September 9 2003 was a Hungarian -American theoretical Physicist Richard Phillips Feynman (ˈfaɪnmən May 11 1918 – February 15 1988 was an American Physicist known for the Path integral formulation of quantum Julia Hall Bowman Robinson ( December 8, 1919 – July 30, 1985) was an American Mathematician, born in St Arthur Rubinstein KBE ( January 28 1887 &ndash December 20 1982) was a Polish - American pianist who is widely Clara Josephine Wieck Schumann (September 13 1819 &ndash May 20 1896 was a German musician one of the most distinguished Pianists of the Romantic era, as The book and its contributing researchers make a 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. The brain is the center of the Nervous system in animals All Vertebrates and the majority of Invertebrates have a brain This may temporarily "rob resources" from neighboring functions such as language development.
The book contradicts speculation by Simon Baron-Cohen that Einstein may have had Asperger's Syndrome. Simon Baron-Cohen is a professor of Developmental psychopathology in the departments of Psychiatry and Experimental psychology, a Fellow of Trinity Asperger syndrome (also called Asperger's syndrome, Asperger's disorder, Asperger's or AS) is the Autism spectrum disorder (ASD
Sowell regularly writes a nationally syndicated column that appears in various newspapers, as well as online on websites such as the conservative Townhall.com. Townhallcom is a web-based publication primarily dedicated to conservative United States politics.
Sowell considers the following to be problematic issues in modern-day society:
Sowell is a supporter of free market and pro-growth economics. Media bias in the United States is the description of systematically non-uniform selection or coverage of news stories in the United States media. Judicial activism is a pejorative term for the misuse of judicial power and is a neologism for the older classical term " board judicial review. Intact dilation and extraction ( IDX or intact D&X) also known as intact dilation and evacuation ( intact D&E) dilation and extraction A minimum wage is the lowest hourly daily or monthly Wage that employers may legally pay to employees or workers Socialized medicine is a term used primarily in the United States to refer to certain kinds of Publicly-funded health care. Affirmative action in the United States|Employment equity (Canada|Reservation in India|Numerus clausus The term affirmative action describes many policies aimed at a historically Bureaucracy is the structure and set of regulations in place to control activity usually in large organizations and government The foreign policy of the United States is highly influential on the world stage as it is a Superpower. The War on Drugs is a prohibition campaign undertaken by the United States government with the assistance of participating countries intended to reduce the Illegal A free market is a Market in which property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers Economic growth is the increase in the amount of the goods and services produced by an economy over time In a recent column he criticized as "socialism for the rich", certain policies which he points out benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor. 
Sowell also favors decriminalization of drugs. 
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 research from the United States to the international sphere, finding supporting data and patterns from several cultures and nations. He has demonstrated that similar incentives and constraints often result in similar outcomes among very different peoples and cultures.
Five themes in his work cut across specific topics:
These five keys place the economist's writings in the greater context of historical synthesis and human decision-making, rather than being simply those of a conservative pundit or "race" writer on particular contemporary social issues. Sowell's work is also a significant answer to critiques of economics arguing that the discipline has failed to come to grips with real world problems and is occupied too much with technical models and details, while paying little attention to historical processes.  Broad, incisive analysis of history is a fundamental pillar of Sowell's method, and he has repeatedly demonstrated that he can take the models of the discipline and integrate them to shed light on important historical problems and trends. The summary below does not attempt to "endorse" or establish whether the claims or arguments advanced by Sowell are "true" or "false" but encapsulates a good deal of his thought, cutting across three decades.
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. Empirical research is any research that bases its findings on direct or indirect Observation as its test of Reality. "n objective account is one which attempts to capture the nature of the object studied in a way that does not depend on any features of the particular subject who studies it Debt AIDS Trade in Africa (or DATA) is a Multinational non-government organization founded in January 2002 in London by U2 's Social policy relates to guidelines for the changing maintenance or creation of living conditions that are conducive to human welfare. Sowell contends that in no field are these distortions greater than when the topic of race is discussed. Sowell maintains that common assumptions and stirring rhetoric about poverty, slavery, discrimination, economic progress or education don't hold up when measured against hard data. 
2) What counts in assessing a social or economic policy is not the stated intentions of promoters, but the incentives created and the actual end results produced: In his book Marxism: Philosophy and Economics Sowell shows that this was the outlook of Marx. He applies this "bottom line" approach to other social policies, ranging from IQ Tests to affirmative action. An Intelligence Quotient or IQ is a score derived from one of several different Standardized tests attempting to measure Intelligence. 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, the goals of 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 not been satisfied when the empirical evidence is analyzed. Sowell contends that too often, social policy is made on the basis of sweeping assumptions, arbitrarily selected statistical data, and ideological dogma, without sufficient evidence. Statistics is a mathematical science pertaining to the collection analysis interpretation or explanation and presentation of Data. An ideology is a set of beliefs aims and Ideas especially in politics Dogma (the plural is either dogmata or dogmas, Greek, plural) is the established Belief or 
3) Numerous factors determine income and education levels among American ethnic groups, and between genders, not the overgeneralized, "all-purpose" explanations of racism, or sexism: In books, such as Markets and Minorities, Ethnic America, Race and Culture and others, Sowell demonstrates the importance of such factors as geography, degree of urbanization, cultural structures, field of work, and other factors more relevant than charges of “racism”. He believes that those who make such charges seldom present credible empirical evidence. As for the “pay gap” between men and women, for example, Sowell’s book Civil Rights argues that most of said gap is based on marital status, not a “glass ceiling” discrimination. Earnings for men and women of the same basic description (education, jobs, hours worked, marital status) were essentially equal. That result would not be predicted under explanatory theories of “sexism”. 
4) Internationally, empirical evidence shows colonialism, imperialism, and/or claims of genetic superiority are all theories failing to explain technological or economic differences among nations. See Colony and Colonization for examples of colonialism which do not refer to Western colonialism Imperialism has two meanings one describing an action and the other describing an attitude Sowell’s trilogy, Race and Culture, Migrations and Culture and Conquests and Cultures exemplifies his broad analytical approach to historical processes, cutting across centuries of history, and many different peoples. He compares nations and minority groups within nations, particularly migrants. Immigration refers to the movement of people among countries While the movement of people has existed throughout human history at various levels modern immigration implies long-term On an international scale, cultural factors are very important. Some countries heavily subjected to imperialism and colonialism are themselves among the most prosperous. For example, he notes that once backward Britain survived centuries of Roman colonialism and imperialism, to emerge centuries later as the most powerful empire on earth. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located Rome ( Roma ˈroma Roma is the capital city of Italy and Lazio, and is Italy's largest and most populous city with more than 2
Too often, Sowell maintains, trendy explanations of racism and imperialism, or their reverse- simplistic claims of genetic superiority- are used to explain significant historical patterns, when mundane factors such as geography can be much more relevant and useful in understanding an issue. Factors such as the presence of navigable rivers, good harbors favorable for transportation and trade, mountain ranges that capture water for later irrigation, fertile land, climate patterns that facilitate the movement of productive plants and animals, etc. all heavily influenced nations' or people's successes over the span of history. Tropical Africa for example, is particularly deficient on a number of such geographic advantages. Sowell shows that for centuries, non-white nations like China were more advanced that those of Europe until comparatively recent times. China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National He also argues that the European West borrowed and adapted freely from other nations and regions- from the writing systems and domesticates of Southwest Asia, to the numerous inventions or innovations of China (gunpowder, compass, etc), to various other strands in-between. Within national settings, students of East Asian origin in the West frequently outperform their white counterparts and score higher on IQ tests. These patterns undercut simplistic white supremacist theories of inherent genetic superiority. In 1983's Economics and Politics of Race Sowell predicts that the long cycles of history may yet again reshuffle the success of nations and peoples.
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. iDeaS is a Nintendo DS Emulator for Microsoft Windows and Linux, using GTK+. The word theory has many distinct meanings in different fields of Knowledge, depending on their methodologies and the context of discussion. The vision of the anointed relies heavily on sweepingly optimistic assumptions about human nature, distrust of decentralized processes like the free market, impatience with systemic processes that constrain human action, and absent or distorted empirical evidence. Human nature is the concept that there are a set of logical characteristics including ways of thinking feeling and acting that all 'normal' human beings have in common A free market is a Market in which property rights are voluntarily exchanged at a price arranged completely by the mutual consent of sellers and buyers The constrained or tragic vision relies heavily on a reduced 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. The rule of law, in its most basic form is the principle that no one is above the law A constitution is a system for government often Codified as a written document that establishes the rules and principles of an autonomous political entity It distrusts sweeping theories and grand assumptions in favor of heavy reliance on solid empirical evidence and on time-tested structures and processes. 
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 related to minorities such as Jews and blacks.
7) What some portray as "authentic black culture" is actually a relic of a highly disfunctional white southern redneck culture. Such a dysfunctional white culture Sowell maintains, in turn derived 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, including 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 of the Southern and Applachian regions and the culture of more northerly Americans, than between whites and blacks. 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:
9. Government action is too often perceived as beneficial, just and noble, when in fact it often hurts those it is purportedly trying to help. As far back as 1975's Race and Economics and continuing through his Affirmative Action Around The World and Basic and Applied Economics series, Sowell repeatedly shows that much government action in the social and economic arena has not only failed to achieve desired or claimed results but in many cases has created worse conditions than those previously existing.  Examples given to bolster Sowell's arguments range from rent control (which decreases the supply of housing), to busing for racial balance (schools in some areas under busing are just as segregated or worse than before), to crime control, to zoning laws, to education. Sowell also takes strong issue with the notion of government as a helper or savior of minorities, arguing that the historical record shows quite the opposite- from the lower level Jim Crow laws created and enforced by state and local regimes, to welfare subsidies at the federal level that have promoted family dependency and breakdown. Sowell draws upon a mass of historical data to question both the priorities and logic of those who call for even more government intervention and spending to 'solve' the problems of minorities. 
10. On several measures, black progress was much more positive prior to the significant rise of the welfare state, and prior to the era of affirmative action. Another of Sowell's themes is to show the painful but steady rise of blacks in the US against heavy odds before massive intervention by government programs, a rise that contradicts some popular assumptions.
11. Human capital is the most durable, most precious of all, trumping both physical and financial capital, and overcoming the most adverse circumstances. Over and over again in Sowell's works the theme of "human capital" appears. Human capital is the sum total of values, attitudes, skills, work effort and cultural inheritance and patterns, often extending back for centuries. Human capital can be individual- education, self-discipline, savings or hard work - but more important to Sowell's work, it is also mass capital, the combined product of millions, not the selected preserve of a few.
Human capital and oppressed minorities. Human capital has permitted ethnic minorities to bounce back and triumph over the harshest, most brutal treatment by majorities. Sowell's works (Economics and Politics of Race (1993), Ethnic America(1981), Affirmative Action around the World (2004), and Race and Culture (1994). etc) are laced with such illustrations, across several nations of the world, and across several centuries. Jews in Europe or the Middle East for example, often harshly persecuted for centuries and denied a basis in agriculture, used their skills in urban economies to not only survive, but to ultimately end-run their enemies. Overseas Chinese are another such group- enduring harsh treatment from the colonial and modern era of Southeast Asia to the mining towns of 19th Century California, where rampaging white mobs did not give them "a Chinaman's chance. " Today their native born descendants as a group surpass the US white average on a number of counts, from income and education, to IQ and academic tests. Japanese-Americans show a similar pattern despite such obstacles as racist land laws designed to freeze them out of farming occupations, or the internment camps of WWII.
Human capital in patterns reaching back centuries. In several works- Sowell demonstrates this triumph of human capital, and the human spirit. These are repeated across several different countries. Industrious German farmers for example who took over "wasteland" scorned by others and made them productive farms did so not only in the United States, but in places as far afield as Russia and Argentina. Japanese farming skill and discipline repeated itself from the produce fields of California to Brazil. Italian stone and vineyard workers dominated certain related trades from the streets of New York, to the fields of distant Argentina. None of this is by accident- but reflects human capital earned the hard way across the span of centuries, in multiple nations, across multiple generations. The importance of human capital- mass capital attained by ordinary men and women through generations of experience and sacrifice, is for Sowell, much more important to human well-being than the theories of racial supremacists or utopian activists. Such capital is the foundation of human liberty and civilization. Some critics claim that the sharp, sometimes scarcastic tone found in some of Sowell's works such as Inside American Education reflects his exasperation and frustration at the waste of human capital occurring in many minority, particularly black communities. 
12. Systemic processes mated to the common wisdom and practical action of the ordinary volk are superior to the grandiose presumptions of intellectual, political and bureaucratic elites. In several works, such as Knowledge and Decisions, A Conflict of Visions and The Economics and Politics of Race, Sowell stresses the importance of systemic processes like free markets, the rule of law and constitutional government. Such systemic processes are orderly, structured and sequential. They are not perfect, nor can they be, since humans themselves are flawed. Instead, on the balance, they provide the best framework whereby imperfect humans, can achieve large measures of freedom in not only the political sphere but the economic one as well. Such processes are continually refined and improved incrementally over time. Improvements over time to common law judicial systems like that of the United States for example, did not quickly come about by sweeping decrees from those with allegedly superior wisdom, but by a long, painful process extending back to the Magna Carta and beyond. Likewise US blacks pulled themselves from poverty not because of government programs or policies, but often in spite of government, largely using the processes of free markets. Blacks broke segregation in many white neighborhoods for example, not because of the goodness of the government or the goodwill of whites, but because their combined dollars outbid or induced even racist whites to sell them property in 'reserved' areas.
On the balance Sowell maintains, systemic processes are superior to the dictates or condension of those on high, who presume to know better than ordinary people. A product of the hard-scrabble streets himself, Sowell also stresses the practical action and wisdom of the broad masses within those methodical frameworks, versus the presumptions, confiscations and social engineering of elites. The ordinary masses deserve freedom as much as "their betters. " Such elites he argues, are only too ready to claim freedom for their own trendy notions and self-aggrandizing profit, while denying similar freedom to the small man on the street to manage his own resources and make his own decisions. A deep skepticism towards intellectual and bureaucratic elites runs through much of Sowell's work. This is perhaps summed up best at the end of Knowledge and Decisions (1983):