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

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.

Analysis and Commentary

Random Thoughts

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Random thoughts on the passing scene: One of the problems with being a pessimist is that you can never celebrate when you are proven right.

Featured

Conservatives For Trump?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The sudden appearance of Donald Trump on the political horizon last year may have been surprising, but not nearly as surprising as seeing some conservatives supporting him.

Analysis and Commentary

Winners Or Whiners?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, April 19, 2016

If there is one pattern that is emerging from this year's political campaigns, it is that rhetoric beats reality — in both parties. The biggest surprise among the Democrats is Bernie Sanders, and among the Republicans is Donald Trump.

Analysis and Commentary

Campaign Lies

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

If you took all the lies out of political rhetoric, how much would be left? Apparently even less than usual this year. The latest, and perhaps biggest, lie — thus far — is that Donald Trump was cheated out of delegates in Colorado because the voters did not select the delegates.

Featured

The 'Voice Of The People' Fallacy

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, April 12, 2016

We hear many fallacies in election years. The fallacy that seems to be most popular this year is that, if Donald Trump comes close to getting the 1,237 delegates required to become the Republican nominee, and that nomination goes instead to someone else, then the convention will have ignored "the voice of the people."

Analysis and Commentary

Notable And Quotable: Thomas Sowell

by Thomas Sowellvia The Wall Street Journal
Friday, April 8, 2016

[Subscription required] Just as we can better understand the economic role of prices in general when we see what happens when prices are not allowed to function, so we can better understand the economic role of workers’ pay by seeing what happens when that pay is not allowed to vary with the supply and demand for labor.

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