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

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Featured Commentary

Supreme Court Disasters

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Many people are looking at the recent Supreme Court decisions about ObamaCare and same-sex marriage in terms of whether they think these are good or bad policies. That is certainly a legitimate concern, for both those who favor those policies and those who oppose them.

Featured Commentary

Hillary And History

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 23, 2015

There are no sure things in politics, but Hillary Clinton is the closest thing to a sure thing to become the Democrats' candidate for president in 2016.

The Honesty Gap

by Thomas Sowellvia Hoover Digest
Friday, June 19, 2015

The clamor over male-female pay disparities persists not because the clamor accomplishes anything but because it’s politically useful.

Featured Commentary

Micro-Totalitarianism

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The political left has come up with a new buzzword: "micro-aggression." Professors at the University of California at Berkeley have been officially warned against saying such things as "America is the land of opportunity." Why?

Featured Commentary

Who Lost Iraq?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Baltimore is now paying the price for irresponsible words and actions, not only by young thugs in the streets, but also by its mayor and the state prosecutor, both of whom threw the police to the wolves, in order to curry favor with local voters.

Featured Commentary

Paying The Price

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Baltimore is now paying the price for irresponsible words and actions, not only by young thugs in the streets, but also by its mayor and the state prosecutor, both of whom threw the police to the wolves, in order to curry favor with local voters.

Featured Commentary

Graduation Gifts

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 26, 2015

This is the season of college graduations, and many people may be wondering what kinds of gifts would be most appropriate for young people leaving the world of academia and heading out to face the challenges and opportunities of adulthood in the real world.

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Featured Commentary

'Just Asking'

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The fact that most of the rhetorical ploys used by Barack Obama and other redistributionists will not stand up under scrutiny means very little politically. After all, how many people who come out of our schools and colleges today are capable of critical scrutiny?

Featured Commentary

Race, Politics, And Lies

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Among the many painful ironies in the current racial turmoil is that communities scattered across the country were disrupted by riots and looting because of the demonstrable lie that Michael Brown was shot in the back by a white policeman in Missouri — but there was not nearly as much turmoil created by the demonstrable fact that a fleeing black man was shot dead by a white policeman in South Carolina.

Featured Commentary

Anti-Trust Law And Lawlessness

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The European Union's commissioner for competition explained the basis for the complaint against Google: "We have a focus on a certain conduct, a certain behavior which, if our doubts are going to be proven, we would like to change because we believe that it hampers competition."

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