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

Immigration
Featured Commentary

Documented Irresponsibility

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 28, 2015

People who entered the United States illegally may be called "undocumented" in politically correct circles, but what is all too well documented is the utter irresponsibility of both political parties in dealing with immigration issues.

Featured Commentary

A Historic Catastrophe

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Distinguished scientist Freeman Dyson has called the 1433 decision of the emperor of China to discontinue his country's exploration of the outside world the "worst political blunder in the history of civilization."

Featured Commentary

The Fact-Free Left

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The outrage over another multiple murder of American military personnel on American soil by another Islamic extremist has been exacerbated by the fact that these military people had been ordered to be unarmed — and therefore sitting ducks.

Featured Commentary

Is The Civil War Over?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 14, 2015

In the wake of the recent murders in a South Carolina church, the killer's hope of igniting a race war produced the opposite effect. Blacks and whites in South Carolina came together to condemn his act and the race hate behind it.

Featured Commentary

A Legacy Of Cliches

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Discussions of racial problems almost invariably bring out the cliche of "a legacy of slavery."

Thomas Sowell
Featured Commentary

Looking Back

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, July 7, 2015

After my 85th birthday last week, I looked back over my life and was surprised to discover in how many different ways I had been lucky, in addition to some other ways in which I was unlucky.

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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?

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