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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell

Overview
Thomas Sowell is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, social theorist
Social criticism
The term social criticism locates the reasons for malicious conditions of the society in flawed social structures. People adhering to a social critics aim at practical solutions by specific measures, often consensual reform but sometimes also by powerful revolution.- European roots :Religious...

, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal
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.The award, given by the...

 winner, he advocates laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 economics and writes from a libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 perspective. He is currently a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

.

Sowell was born in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, but grew up in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. He dropped out of high school, and served in the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. He had received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in 1958 and a master's degree from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1959.
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Quotations

People who think that they are being "exploited" should ask themselves whether they would be missed if they left, or whether people would say: "Good riddance"?

Random thoughts, 29 April 2002

What the welfare system and other kinds of governmental programs are doing is paying people to fail. In so far as they fail, they receive the money; in so far as they succeed, even to a moderate extent, the money is taken away.

During a discussion in Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose" television series in 1980
Encyclopedia
Thomas Sowell is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 economist
Economist
An economist is a professional in the social science discipline of economics. The individual may also study, develop, and apply theories and concepts from economics and write about economic policy...

, social theorist
Social criticism
The term social criticism locates the reasons for malicious conditions of the society in flawed social structures. People adhering to a social critics aim at practical solutions by specific measures, often consensual reform but sometimes also by powerful revolution.- European roots :Religious...

, political philosopher, and author. A National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal
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.The award, given by the...

 winner, he advocates laissez-faire
Laissez-faire
In economics, laissez-faire describes an environment in which transactions between private parties are free from state intervention, including restrictive regulations, taxes, tariffs and enforced monopolies....

 economics and writes from a libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 perspective. He is currently a Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

.

Sowell was born in North Carolina
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

, but grew up in Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

. He dropped out of high school, and served in the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

. He had received a bachelor's degree from Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 in 1958 and a master's degree from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 in 1959. In 1968, he earned his doctorate degree in economics from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

.

Dr. Sowell has served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

 and University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, Los Angeles
The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

, and worked for "think tanks" such as the Urban Institute
Urban Institute
The Urban Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that carries out nonpartisan economic and social policy research, collects data, evaluates social programs, educates the public on key domestic issues, and provides advice and technical assistance to developing governments abroad...

. Since 1980 he has worked at the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

. He is the author of more than 30 books.

Biography


An African-American, Sowell was born in Gastonia, North Carolina
Gastonia, North Carolina
Gastonia is the largest city and county seat of Gaston County, North Carolina, United States. It is also the third largest suburb of the Charlotte Area, behind Concord and Rock Hill. The population was 71,226 as of Gastonia is the largest city and county seat of Gaston County, North Carolina,...

. His father died shortly before he was born, and his mother, a house maid, already had four children. A great-aunt and her two grown daughters adopted Sowell and raised him. In his autobiography, A Personal Odyssey, he said his childhood encounters with white people were so limited that he did not believe blond was really a hair color. When Sowell was nine, his family moved from Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte, North Carolina
Charlotte is the largest city in the U.S. state of North Carolina and the seat of Mecklenburg County. In 2010, Charlotte's population according to the US Census Bureau was 731,424, making it the 17th largest city in the United States based on population. The Charlotte metropolitan area had a 2009...

 to Harlem
Harlem
Harlem is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Manhattan, which since the 1920s has been a major African-American residential, cultural and business center. Originally a Dutch village, formally organized in 1658, it is named after the city of Haarlem in the Netherlands...

, New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

. He attended Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School
Stuyvesant High School , commonly referred to as Stuy , is a New York City public high school that specializes in mathematics and science. The school opened in 1904 on Manhattan's East Side and moved to a new building in Battery Park City in 1992. Stuyvesant is noted for its strong academic...

, the first in his family to study beyond the sixth grade. However, he was forced to drop out at age 17 because of financial difficulties and problems in his home. He worked at a number of jobs, including at a machine shop and as a delivery man for Western Union
Western Union
The Western Union Company is a financial services and communications company based in the United States. Its North American headquarters is in Englewood, Colorado. Up until 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S...

, and tried out for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948. Sowell was drafted
Conscription
Conscription is the compulsory enlistment of people in some sort of national service, most often military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names...

 in 1951, during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, and was assigned to the Marine Corps. Because of his experience in photography
Photography
Photography is the art, science and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either electronically by means of an image sensor or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film...

, he was assigned as a photographer, but he also trained Marines in .45 caliber pistol proficiency.

After his discharge, Sowell worked for Civil Service
Civil service
The term civil service has two distinct meanings:* A branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations....

 job in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 and attended night classes at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

, admitted on the basis of his General Education certificate. His high scores on the College Board
College Board
The College Board is a membership association in the United States that was formed in 1900 as the College Entrance Examination Board . It is composed of more than 5,900 schools, colleges, universities and other educational organizations. It sells standardized tests used by academically oriented...

 exams and recommendations by two professors helped him gain admission to Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

, where he graduated magna cum laude in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts
A Bachelor of Arts , from the Latin artium baccalaureus, is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, the sciences, or both...

 degree in economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

. He received a Master of Arts
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 from Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 the following year, and a Ph.D.
Ph.D.
A Ph.D. is a Doctor of Philosophy, an academic degree.Ph.D. may also refer to:* Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*Piled Higher and Deeper, a web comic strip*PhD: Phantasy Degree, a Korean comic series* PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

 in economics from the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 in 1968.

Sowell had initially chosen Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

 to study under George Stigler
George Stigler
George Joseph Stigler was a U.S. economist. He won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1982, and was a key leader of the Chicago School of Economics, along with his close friend Milton Friedman....

 (who would later receive the Nobel Prize in Economics
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences
The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, commonly referred to as the Nobel Prize in Economics, but officially the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel , is an award for outstanding contributions to the field of economics, generally regarded as one of the...

). When he learned that Stigler had moved to the University of Chicago, he followed him there.

Sowell has taught economics at Howard University
Howard University
Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

, Rutgers
Rutgers University
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

, Cornell
Cornell University
Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

, Brandeis University
Brandeis University
Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

, Amherst College
Amherst College
Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009...

, and UCLA. Since 1980 he has been a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution
Hoover Institution
The Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace is a public policy think tank and library founded in 1919 by then future U.S. president, Herbert Hoover, an early alumnus of Stanford....

 at Stanford University
Stanford University
The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

, where he holds a fellowship named after Rose
Rose Friedman
Rose Director Friedman , also known as Rose D. Friedman and Rose Director was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School. She was the wife of Milton Friedman , the winner of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Economics, and sister of Aaron Director...

 and Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman
Milton Friedman was an American economist, statistician, academic, and author who taught at the University of Chicago for more than three decades...

, his mentor.

In 1987, Sowell testified in favor of federal appeals court judge Robert Bork
Robert Bork
Robert Heron Bork is an American legal scholar who has advocated the judicial philosophy of originalism. Bork formerly served as Solicitor General, Acting Attorney General, and judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit...

 during the hearings for Bork's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court
Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination
The Robert Bork Supreme Court nomination refers to the 1987 nomination by President Ronald Reagan of Judge Robert Bork to serve as an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate rejected his nomination.-Nomination:...

. In his testimony, Sowell said that Bork was "the most highly qualified nominee of this generation" and that judicial activism
Judicial activism
Judicial activism describes judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. The definition of judicial activism, and which specific decisions are activist, is a controversial...

, a concept that Bork opposed, "has not been beneficial to minorities."

Sowell has stated that he was a Marxist “during the decade of my 20s"; one of his earliest professional publications was a sympathetic examination of Marxist thought vs. Marxist-Leninist practice. His experience working as a federal government intern during the summer of 1960 caused him to reject Marxian economics in favor of free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 economic theory. During his work, Sowell discovered a correlation between the rise of mandated minimum wages for workers in the sugar industry of Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico , officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico , is an unincorporated territory of the United States, located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of both the United States Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.Puerto Rico comprises an...

 and the rise of unemployment
Unemployment
Unemployment , as defined by the International Labour Organization, occurs when people are without jobs and they have actively sought work within the past four weeks...

 in that industry. Studying the patterns led Sowell to theorize that the government employees who administered the minimum wage law cared more about their own jobs than the plight of the poor.

Writings


Sowell is both a syndicated
Print syndication
Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights....

 columnist
Columnist
A columnist is a journalist who writes for publication in a series, creating an article that usually offers commentary and opinions. Columns appear in newspapers, magazines and other publications, including blogs....

 and an academic economist.

Besides scholarly writing, Sowell has written books, articles, and syndicated
Print syndication
Print syndication distributes news articles, columns, comic strips and other features to newspapers, magazines and websites. They offer reprint rights and grant permissions to other parties for republishing content of which they own/represent copyrights....

 columns for a general audience in such publications as Forbes Magazine, The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal
The Wall Street Journal is an American English-language international daily newspaper. It is published in New York City by Dow Jones & Company, a division of News Corporation, along with the Asian and European editions of the Journal....

, and major newspapers. He is a regular contributor to GOPUSA, a conservative web and email newsletter run by Endeavor Media Group, LLC. He primarily writes on economic subjects, generally advocating a free market approach to capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

. Sowell, whose autobiography describes his serious study of Karl Marx, opposes Marxism
Marxism
Marxism is an economic and sociopolitical worldview and method of socioeconomic inquiry that centers upon a materialist interpretation of history, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis and critique of the development of capitalism. Marxism was pioneered in the early to mid 19th...

, providing a critique in his book Marxism: Philosophy and Economics.

Sowell also writes on racial topics and is a critic of affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

 and race based quotas. While often described as a black conservative
Black conservatism in the United States
Black conservatism in the United States is a political and social movement rooted in communities of African descent that aligns largely with the American conservative movement...

, he prefers not to be labeled, and considers himself more libertarian
Libertarianism
Libertarianism, in the strictest sense, is the political philosophy that holds individual liberty as the basic moral principle of society. In the broadest sense, it is any political philosophy which approximates this view...

 than conservative.

In another departure from economics, Sowell wrote The Einstein Syndrome
Einstein syndrome
Einstein Syndrome is a term Thomas Sowell used to describe exceptionally bright people who experience a delay in development of speech. The name is derived from physicist Albert Einstein, the author of the theory of relativity and the father of modern physics, whose speech was delayed till age...

: Bright Children Who Talk Late
, a follow-up to his Late-Talking Children. This book investigates the phenomenon of late-talking children, frequently misdiagnosed with autism
Autism
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. These signs all begin before a child is three years old. Autism affects information processing in the brain by altering how nerve cells and their...

 or pervasive developmental disorder
Pervasive developmental disorder
Pervasive developmental disorders is a diagnostic category refers to a group of disorders characterized by delays or impairments in communication, social behaviors, and cognitive development.Pervasive developmental disorders include Autism, Asperger's syndrome, Rett's syndrome, Childhood...

. He includes the research of—among others—Professor Stephen Camarata, Ph.D., of Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University
Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

 and Professor Steven Pinker
Steven Pinker
Steven Arthur Pinker is a Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist, linguist and popular science author...

, Ph.D., of Harvard University
Harvard University
Harvard University is a private Ivy League university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, established in 1636 by the Massachusetts legislature. Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the first corporation chartered in the country...

 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
Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

, Edward Teller
Edward Teller
Edward Teller was a Hungarian-American theoretical physicist, known colloquially as "the father of the hydrogen bomb," even though he did not care for the title. Teller made numerous contributions to nuclear and molecular physics, spectroscopy , and surface physics...

 and Richard Feynman
Richard Feynman
Richard Phillips Feynman was an American physicist known for his work in the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics, the theory of quantum electrodynamics and the physics of the superfluidity of supercooled liquid helium, as well as in particle physics...

; mathematician Julia Robinson
Julia Robinson
Julia Hall Bowman Robinson was an American mathematician best known for her work on decision problems and Hilbert's Tenth Problem.-Background and education:...

; and musicians Arthur Rubenstein and Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann
Clara Schumann was a German musician and composer, considered one of the most distinguished pianists of the Romantic era...

. 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
Brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

. This may temporarily “rob resources” from neighboring functions such as language development. The book contradicts Simon Baron-Cohen
Simon Baron-Cohen
Simon Baron-Cohen FBA is professor of Developmental Psychopathology in the Departments of Psychiatry and Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. He is the Director of the University's Autism Research Centre, and a Fellow of Trinity College...

’s speculation that Einstein may have had Asperger syndrome
Asperger syndrome
Asperger's syndrome that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development...

 (see also people speculated to have been autistic
People speculated to have been autistic
Famous historical people have been speculated to have had autism or other autism spectrum disorders such as Asperger syndrome by journalists, academics and autism professionals. Such speculation is controversial and little of it is undisputed...

).

Themes of Sowell’s writing 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.

In Intelligence and Ethnicity, Sowell argues that IQ gaps are hardly startling or unusual between, or within, ethnic groups. He notes that the roughly 15-point gap in contemporary black–white IQ scores is similar to that between the national average and the scores of particular ethnic white groups in years past.

Sowell has also written a trilogy of books on ideologies and political positions, including A Conflict of Visions
A Conflict of Visions
A Conflict of Visions is a book by Thomas Sowell. It was originally published in 1987; a revised edition appeared in 2007.Sowell's opening chapter attempts to answer the question of whythe same people tend to be political adversaries in issue after issue,...

where he speaks about the origins of political strife, The Vision of the Anointed
The Vision of the Anointed
The Vision of the Anointed is a book by economist and political columnist Thomas Sowell challenging people Sowell calls "Teflon prophets," who predict that there will be future social, economic, or environmental problems in the absence of government intervention .Sowell claims that these thinkers,...

, where he compares the conservative/libertarian and liberal/progressive worldviews,The Quest for Cosmic Justice, where, like in many of his other writings, he outlines the his thesis of the need for intellectuals, politicians and leaders to fix and perfect the world in utopian, and ultimately he posits, disastrous fashions. Separate from the trilogy, but also in discussion of the subject,he wrote Intellectuals and Society
Intellectuals and Society
Intellectuals and Society is a book by Thomas Sowell. It examines the influence of intellectuals in society. Intellectuals are defined as "idea workers" that exercise profound influence on policy makers and public opinion, but too often are not accountable for results...

, where he discusses what he argues to be the blind hubris and follies of intellectuals in a variety of areas, building on his earlier work.

Sowell takes strong issue with the notion of government as a helper or savior of minorities, arguing that the historical record shows quite the opposite.

Sowell also challenges the notion that black progress is due to progressive government programs or policies, in The Economics and Politics of Race, (1983), Ethnic America (1981), Affirmative Action
Affirmative Action Around the World
Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study is a 2004 nonfiction work by economist Thomas Sowell.-Summary:Already known as a critic of affirmative action or race-based hiring and promotion, Sowell, himself African-American, analyzes the specific effects of such policies on India,...

 (2004), and other books.
He claims that many problems identified with blacks in modern society are hardly unique in terms of American ethnic groups, nor in terms of a rural proletariat swept by disruption as it became urbanized, discussed in his book, Black Rednecks and White Liberals.

In Affirmative Action Around the World
Affirmative Action Around the World
Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study is a 2004 nonfiction work by economist Thomas Sowell.-Summary:Already known as a critic of affirmative action or race-based hiring and promotion, Sowell, himself African-American, analyzes the specific effects of such policies on India,...

Sowell holds that affirmative action covers most of the American population, particularly women, and has long since ceased to be directed towards blacks.

Columns


Sowell has a nationally syndicated column distributed by Creators Syndicate
Creators Syndicate
Creators Syndicate is an independent distributor of comic strips and syndicated columns for daily newspapers. It was founded in 1987 by Richard S. Newcombe, and is based in Los Angeles. Creators was one of the first syndicates to allow its clients to maintain creative control of their material...

 that appears in various newspapers, as well as online on websites such as Townhall
Townhall.com
Townhall.com is a web-based publication primarily dedicated to conservative United States politics. It was previously operated by the Heritage Foundation, but is now owned and operated by Salem Communications...

, WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily
WorldNetDaily is an American web site that publishes news and associated content from a U.S. conservative perspective. It was founded in May 1997 by Joseph Farah with the stated intent of "exposing wrongdoing, corruption and abuse of power" and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.-History:In...

, OneNewsNow
American Family Association
The American Family Association is a 501 non-profit organization that promotes conservative Christian values, such as opposition to same-sex marriage, pornography, and abortion, as well as other public policy goals such as deregulation of the oil industry and lobbying against the Employee Free...

 and the Jewish World Review
Jewish World Review
Jewish World Review is a free, online magazine updated Monday through Friday , which seeks to appeal to "people of faith and those interested in learning more about contemporary Judaism from Jews who take their religion seriously."It carries informational articles related to Judaism, dozens of...

.

Sowell comments on issues he considers to be problematic in modern-day society, which include liberal media bias; judicial activism
Judicial activism
Judicial activism describes judicial ruling suspected of being based on personal or political considerations rather than on existing law. It is sometimes used as an antonym of judicial restraint. The definition of judicial activism, and which specific decisions are activist, is a controversial...

 (while staunchly defending originalism
Originalism
In the context of United States constitutional interpretation, originalism is a principle of interpretation that tries to discover the original meaning or intent of the constitution. It is based on the principle that the judiciary is not supposed to create, amend or repeal laws but only to uphold...

); partial birth abortion; the minimum wage
Minimum wage
A minimum wage is the lowest hourly, daily or monthly remuneration that employers may legally pay to workers. Equivalently, it is the lowest wage at which workers may sell their labour. Although minimum wage laws are in effect in a great many jurisdictions, there are differences of opinion about...

; socializing health care
Socialized medicine
Socialized medicine is a term used to describe a system for providing medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health services and subsidies derived from taxation. It is used primarily and usually pejoratively in United States political debates...

; government undermining of familial autonomy; affirmative action
Affirmative action
Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

; government bureaucracy
Bureaucracy
A bureaucracy is an organization of non-elected officials of a governmental or organization who implement the rules, laws, and functions of their institution, and are occasionally characterized by officialism and red tape.-Weberian bureaucracy:...

; militancy in U.S. foreign policy; the U.S. war on drugs
War on Drugs
The War on Drugs is a campaign of prohibition and foreign military aid and military intervention being undertaken by the United States government, with the assistance of participating countries, intended to both define and reduce the illegal drug trade...

, and multiculturalism
Multiculturalism
Multiculturalism is the appreciation, acceptance or promotion of multiple cultures, applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, usually at the organizational level, e.g...

.

Sowell supports free market and pro-growth
Economic growth
In economics, economic growth is defined as the increasing capacity of the economy to satisfy the wants of goods and services of the members of society. Economic growth is enabled by increases in productivity, which lowers the inputs for a given amount of output. Lowered costs increase demand...

 economics. In one column he criticized as socialism for the rich certain policies which he describes as benefiting the wealthy at the expense of the poor.

Sowell in a Townhall editorial, "The Bush Legacy," assessed President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

, deeming him "a mixed bag," but "an honorable man."

Sowell also favors decriminalization
Decriminalization
Decriminalization or Decriminalisation is the abolition of criminal penalties in relation to certain acts, perhaps retroactively, though perhaps regulated permits or fines might still apply . The reverse process is criminalization.Decriminalization reflects changing social and moral views...

 of all drugs.

In November, 2011, a column fiercely critical of "Obama's America" and falsely attributed to Sowell was circulated on the Internet.

Awards


In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award
Francis Boyer Award
The Francis Boyer Award was once the highest honor conferred by the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. It was named for Francis Boyer, a chief executive at Smith, Kline & French in the mid-twentieth century and a strong supporter of AEI who died in 1972. The Boyer Award was...

, presented by the American Enterprise Institute
American Enterprise Institute
The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research is a conservative think tank founded in 1943. Its stated mission is "to defend the principles and improve the institutions of American freedom and democratic capitalism—limited government, private enterprise, individual liberty and...

. In 2002, Sowell was awarded the National Humanities Medal
National Humanities Medal
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.The award, given by the...

 for prolific scholarship melding history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

, economics
Economics
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...

, and political science
Political science
Political Science is a social science discipline concerned with the study of the state, government and politics. Aristotle defined it as the study of the state. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics, and the analysis of political systems and political behavior...

. In 2003, he was awarded the Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement. In 2008, getAbstract
GetAbstract
getAbstract is a Swiss- and US-based corporation that is best known for creating abstracts of business books . getAbstract delivers Abstracts of books -- currently more than 7000 titles. Many companies offer their employees full access to getAbstract's library...

 awarded his book Economic Facts and Fallacies with its International Book Award.

Political views


Sowell has been criticized for various remarks such as a comparison he made between President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 and Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 in an editorial for Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily
Investor's Business Daily is a national newspaper in the United States, published Monday through Friday, that covers international business, finance, and the global economy...

after the creation of a relief fund for the BP oil spill. This has been criticized by liberal groups such as Media Matters
Media Matters for America
Media Matters for America is a politically progressive media watchdog group which says it is "dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media." Set up as a 501 non-profit organization, MMfA was founded in 2004 by journalist and...

 and the Democratic National Committee
Democratic National Committee
The Democratic National Committee is the principal organization governing the United States Democratic Party on a day to day basis. While it is responsible for overseeing the process of writing a platform every four years, the DNC's central focus is on campaign and political activity in support...

. However, Republicans such as Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

 and Representative Louie Gohmert
Louie Gohmert
Louis Buller Gohmert, Jr. is an American politician and current Republican U.S. Representative from Texas's 1st congressional district.-Life and career:...

 have endorsed Sowell's comparison. Sowell was also criticized for an editorial in which he stated that the Democratic Party played the Race card
Race card
Playing the race card is an idiomatic phrase that refers to exploitation of either racist or anti-racist attitudes to gain a personal advantage, typically by falsely accusing others of racism against oneself.-Usage:...

, instigating ethnic divisions and separatism, and argued that a similar situation occurred between the Tutsis and the Hutus
Rwandan Genocide
The Rwandan Genocide was the 1994 mass murder of an estimated 800,000 people in the small East African nation of Rwanda. Over the course of approximately 100 days through mid-July, over 500,000 people were killed, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate...

 in Rwanda.

Economics


The Economist
The Economist
The Economist is an English-language weekly news and international affairs publication owned by The Economist Newspaper Ltd. and edited in offices in the City of Westminster, London, England. Continuous publication began under founder James Wilson in September 1843...

magazine praised Sowell's books Affirmative Action Around the World
Affirmative Action Around the World
Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study is a 2004 nonfiction work by economist Thomas Sowell.-Summary:Already known as a critic of affirmative action or race-based hiring and promotion, Sowell, himself African-American, analyzes the specific effects of such policies on India,...

as "terse, well argued and utterly convincing" and "crammed with striking anecdotes and statistics" and Economic Facts and Fallacies: "Mr Sowell marshals his arguments with admirable clarity and authority. There is not a chapter in which he does not produce a statistic that both surprises and overturns received wisdom."

The Nobel Prize winning economist Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen
Amartya Sen, CH is an Indian economist who was awarded the 1998 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions to welfare economics and social choice theory, and for his interest in the problems of society's poorest members...

 reached conclusions inconsistent with Sowell's research of price gouging
Price gouging
Price gouging is a pejorative term referring to a situation in which a seller prices goods or commodities much higher than is considered reasonable or fair. In precise, legal usage, it is the name of a crime that applies in some of the United States during civil emergencies...

.

Reviewing Sowell's 1984 book Civil Rights: Rhetoric or Reality?, University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

 sociologist William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson
William Julius Wilson is an American sociologist. He worked at the University of Chicago 1972-1996 before moving to Harvard....

 said that Sowell did not explore "reasonable alternative explanations and hypotheses" in his critiques of affirmative action. For instance, regarding Sowell's theory that women are underrepresented in fields like law and engineering because of the heavy responsibilities of marriage such as childrearing and other household work: "A plausible alternative to Mr. Sowell's hypothesis on women's pay differentials and occupational segregation is that women are virtually excluded from many desirable positions and therefore crowd into obtainable occupations." Sowell since then has written on affirmative action in an international context to address such criticisms in two books (Preferential Policies, Affirmative Action Around the World) and has written about pay differentials and occupational segregation in Economic Facts and Fallacies.

Career highlights

  • Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
    Stanford University
    The Leland Stanford Junior University, commonly referred to as Stanford University or Stanford, is a private research university on an campus located near Palo Alto, California. It is situated in the northwestern Santa Clara Valley on the San Francisco Peninsula, approximately northwest of San...

    , September 1980–present
  • Professor of Economics, UCLA
    University of California, Los Angeles
    The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

    , July 1974–June 1980
  • Visiting Professor of Economics, Amherst College
    Amherst College
    Amherst College is a private liberal arts college located in Amherst, Massachusetts, United States. Amherst is an exclusively undergraduate four-year institution and enrolled 1,744 students in the fall of 2009...

    , September–December 1977
  • Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, April–August 1977
  • Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
    Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences
    The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences is an American interdisciplinary research body in Stanford, California focusing on the social sciences and humanities . Fellows are elected in a closed process, to spend a period of residence at the Center, released from other duties...

    , July 1976–March 1977
  • Project Director, The Urban Institute
    Urban Institute
    The Urban Institute is a Washington, D.C.-based think tank that carries out nonpartisan economic and social policy research, collects data, evaluates social programs, educates the public on key domestic issues, and provides advice and technical assistance to developing governments abroad...

    , August 1972–July 1974
  • Associate Professor of Economics, UCLA
    University of California, Los Angeles
    The University of California, Los Angeles is a public research university located in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, USA. It was founded in 1919 as the "Southern Branch" of the University of California and is the second oldest of the ten campuses...

    , September 1970–June 1972
  • Associate Professor of Economics, Brandeis University
    Brandeis University
    Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

    , September 1969–June 1970
  • Assistant Professor of Economics, Cornell University
    Cornell University
    Cornell University is an Ivy League university located in Ithaca, New York, United States. It is a private land-grant university, receiving annual funding from the State of New York for certain educational missions...

    , September 1965–June 1969
  • Economic Analyst, American Telephone & Telegraph
    American Telephone & Telegraph
    AT&T Corp., originally American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is an American telecommunications company that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government agencies. AT&T is the oldest telecommunications company...

     Co., June 1964–August 1965
  • Lecturer in Economics, Howard University
    Howard University
    Howard University is a federally chartered, non-profit, private, coeducational, nonsectarian, historically black university located in Washington, D.C., United States...

    , September 1963–June 1964
  • Instructor in Economics, Douglass College, Rutgers University
    Rutgers University
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey , is the largest institution for higher education in New Jersey, United States. It was originally chartered as Queen's College in 1766. It is the eighth-oldest college in the United States and one of the nine Colonial colleges founded before the American...

    , September 1962–June 1963
  • Labor Economist, U.S. Department of Labor
    United States Department of Labor
    The United States Department of Labor is a Cabinet department of the United States government responsible for occupational safety, wage and hour standards, unemployment insurance benefits, re-employment services, and some economic statistics. Many U.S. states also have such departments. The...

    , June 1961–August 1962

Books by Sowell

  • 2011.
  • 2011.
  • 2010.
  • 2010.
  • 2009.
  • 2008.
  • 2007.
  • 2007.
    • 2007.
    • 2006.
    • 2006.
    • 2005.
    • 2004.
    • 2004. Basic Economics: A Citizen’s Guide to the Economy, revised and expanded ed. Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08145-2 (1st ed. 2000)
    • 2003. Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
      Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
      Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One is a 2003 nonfiction work by economist Thomas Sowell.Sowell discuss how basic economics is generally misapplied because politicians think only in Stage One. Stage One is the immediate result of an action, without determining what happens then...

      , ISBN 0-465-08143-6
    • 2002. The Einstein Syndrome: Bright Children Who Talk Late, ISBN 0-465-08141-X
    • 2002. Controversial Essays, ISBN 0-8179-2992-4
    • 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 OCLC 41748039
    • 1996. The Vision of the Anointed
      The Vision of the Anointed
      The Vision of the Anointed is a book by economist and political columnist Thomas Sowell challenging people Sowell calls "Teflon prophets," who predict that there will be future social, economic, or environmental problems in the absence of government intervention .Sowell claims that these thinkers,...

      : Self-Congratulation As a Basis for Social Policy
      . Basic Books, ISBN 0-465-08995-X
    • 1995. Race and Culture: A World View. Description & chapter previews. ISBN 0-465-06796-4
    • 1993. Inside American Education, ISBN 0-7432-5408-2
    • 1987. A Conflict of Visions
      A Conflict of Visions
      A Conflict of Visions is a book by Thomas Sowell. It was originally published in 1987; a revised edition appeared in 2007.Sowell's opening chapter attempts to answer the question of whythe same people tend to be political adversaries in issue after issue,...

      : Ideological Origins of Political Struggles
      . William Morrow, ISBN 0-688-06912-6
    • 1987. Compassion Versus Guilt and Other Essays. William Morrow, ISBN 0688-07114-7
    • 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. The 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
      Knowledge and Decisions
      Knowledge and Decisions is a non-fiction book by American economist Thomas Sowell. Sowell explicates social and economic knowledge and how it is transmitted through the many facets of society, and how that transmission affects decisions made. The book's central theme is drawn from F.A...

      . Basic Books.
    • 1975. Race and Economics
      Race and Economics
      Race and Economics is a book by Thomas Sowell that analyzes the relationship between race and wealth in the United States, specifically, that of blacks....

      . David McKay Company Inc, ISBN 0-679-30262-X
    • 1972. Say's Law
      Say's law
      Say's law, or the law of market, is an economic principle of classical economics named after the French businessman and economist Jean-Baptiste Say , who stated that "products are paid for with products" and "a glut can take place only when there are too many means of production applied to one kind...

      , An Historical Analysis
      . Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-04166-0

    External links



    Articles and interviews