Thomas Sowell

Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy
Awards and Honors:
American Philosophical Society
National Academy of Education
Biography: 

Thomas Sowell is the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover Institution.

He writes on economics, history, social policy, ethnicity, and the history of ideas. His most recent books on economics include Housing Boom and Bust (2009), Intellectuals and Society (2009), Applied Economics (2009), Economic Facts and Fallacies (2008), Basic Economics (2007), and Affirmative Action Around the World (2004). Other books on economics he has written include Classical Economics Reconsidered (1974), Say’s Law (1972), and Economics: Analysis and Issues (1971). On social policy he has written Knowledge and Decisions (1980), Preferential Policies (1989), Inside American Education (1993) and The Vision of the Anointed (1995). On the history of ideas he has written Marxism (1985) and Conflict of Vision (1987). His most recent books are Barbarians Inside the Gates (1999) and The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999). Sowell also wrote Late-Talking Children (1997). He has also written a monograph on law titled Judicial Activism Reconsidered, published by the Hoover Institution Press. His writings have also appeared in scholarly journals in economics, law, and other fields.

Sowell’s current research focuses on cultural history in a world perspective, a subject on which he began to write a trilogy in 1982. The trilogy includes Race and Culture (1994), Migrations and Cultures (1996), and Conquests and Cultures (1998).

Sowell's journalistic writings include a nationally syndicated column that appears in more than 150 newspapers from Boston to Honolulu. Some of these essays have been collected in book form, most recently in Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays published by the Hoover Institution Press.

Over the past three decades, Sowell has taught economics at various colleges and universities, including Cornell, Amherst, and the University of California at Los Angeles, as well as the history of ideas at Brandeis University. He has also been associated with three other research centers, in addition to the Hoover Institution. He was project director at the Urban Institute, 1972-1974, a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, 1976–77, and was an adjunct scholar of the American Enterprise Institute, 1975-76.

Sowell was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2002. In 2003, Sowell received the Bradley Prize for intellectual achievement. Sowell received his bachelor’s degree in economics (magna cum laude) from Harvard in 1958, his master’s degree in economics from Columbia University in 1959, and his PhD in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

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Recent Commentary

Featured

The Fraud Goes On

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Last week the Supreme Court of the United States voted that President Obama exceeded his authority when he granted exemptions from the immigration laws passed by Congress.

Featured

The Gun Control Farce

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Surely murder is a serious subject, which ought to be examined seriously. Instead, it is almost always examined politically in the context of gun control controversies, with stock arguments on both sides that have remained the same for decades. And most of those arguments are irrelevant to the central question: Do tighter gun control laws reduce the murder rate?

Featured

Will Orlando Change Anything?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

However great the shock of the massacre in Orlando, it is only a matter of time before we start hearing again the fact-free dogma that "diversity is our strength."

Featured

Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Among the many disturbing signs of our times are conservatives and libertarians of high intelligence and high principles who are advocating government programs that relieve people of the necessity of working to provide their own livelihoods.

Analysis and Commentary

Is Personal Responsibility Obsolete?: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Too many social problems are conceived of in terms of what "we" can do for "them." After decades of massive expansions of the welfare state, the answer seems to range from "not very much" to "making matters worse."

Featured

Socialism For The Uninformed

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Socialism sounds great. It has always sounded great. And it will probably always continue to sound great. It is only when you go beyond rhetoric, and start looking at hard facts, that socialism turns out to be a big disappointment, if not a disaster.

Analysis and Commentary

Commencement Season

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 24, 2016

This is the season of college Commencement speeches — an art form that has seldom been memorable, but has increasingly become toxic in recent times

Featured

Grim Choices

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 17, 2016

We must frankly face the fact that the front runners in both political parties represent a new low, at a time of domestic polarization and unprecedented nuclear dangers internationally. This year's general election will offer a choice between a thoroughly corrupt liar and an utterly irresponsible egomaniac.

Featured

Dry Rot In Academia

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Jason Riley has now joined the long and distinguished list of people invited — and then disinvited — to give a talk on a college campus, in this case Virginia Tech.

Featured

An Unmitigated Disaster

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, May 5, 2016

Republican party leaders may have worried that Donald Trump would not only lose the general election for the presidency, but would so poison the image of the party as to cause Republican candidates for Congress and for state and local offices to also lose. Now they seem to be trying to patch things up, in order to present an image of unity before the general elections this fall.

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