Thomas Sowell

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

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 book, Discrimination and Disparities (2018), gathers a wide array of empirical evidence to challenge the idea that different economic outcomes can be explained by any one factor, be it discrimination, exploitation or genetics. His 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), The Vision of the Anointed (1995), Barbarians Inside the Gates (1999), and The Quest for Cosmic Justice (1999). On the history of ideas he has written Marxism (1985) and Conflict of Vision (1987). 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 in 1989. 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 in 2006.

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

In the News

Thomas Sowell Warns: America May Not Resist Socialism

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Rush Limbaugh Show
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Thomas Sowell was interviewed by David Asman, who is at Fox News. He was filling in for Neil Cavuto, was guest hosting Cavuto’s show Coast to Coast on the Fox Business Network. He asked him, “You yourself as a student were drawn towards socialist ideas. You wrote a book on Marx. What turned you against” the Marxists theory?

In the News

Thomas Sowell Warns America: ‘In The Long Run, We May Not Make It’

quoting Thomas Sowellvia NOQ Report
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Conservative commentator Thomas Sowell has made a career out of being intelligent, fair, and truthful. His appearance on Fox Business yesterday was more of the same that we’ve come to expect from one of the greatest conservative thinkers of the modern era.

In the News

Full-Blown Socialism Likely Coming To U.S., Warns Famed Economist

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The New American
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

President Trump vowed at his State of the Union address “that America will never be a socialist country.” But legendary economist Dr. Thomas Sowell sounded a more pessimistic note this week, saying that as far as avoiding a dystopian socialist future goes, “I wouldn’t bet on it.”


Sowell: Politicians Using Race As Their Ticket To Whatever Racket They're Running

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell weighs in on Democrats' use of race to push their agenda. Sowell notes that like in football the Democrats will run the play (racism because it gets them votes) until someone figures out a way to stop it.

In the News

Thomas Sowell On Rise Of Socialism: Educational System, Media Aren’t Encouraging People To Test Ideas Against Facts

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Breitbart
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Tuesday on Fox Business Network’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast,” economist and Hoover Institution senior fellow Thomas Sowell offered his thoughts on what appears to a comeback for the popularity of socialism in the United States. Sowell explained that some of the blame could be put on the media and educational institutions in the country for not doing a better job of putting socialism to the test.

In the News

Gutfeld On Thomas Sowell's Predictions On Socialism

featuring Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Economist warns the U.S. 'may not make it' if the country turns socialist; reaction and analysis on 'The Five.'

In the News

Thomas Sowell Warns U.S. May Not Resist Siren Song Of Socialism: 'I Wouldn't Bet On It'

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The Washington Times
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Thomas Sowell, a living legend in the field of economics, says he fears the U.S. may eventually succumb to the siren song of socialism.

In the News

Inequality Does Not Mean Inequity

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The Standard
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

The world is full of inequalities. I dare say I cannot think of a single human endeavor that has ever been equal by any important measurement. Yet, we are told by politicians and school administrators that inequality is bad and something to be fought. But is this really logical? And what kind of equality is important? Before I answer these questions, let me elaborate on what those who strive for equality of outcome want.


Economist Thomas Sowell On The Income Inequality Debate

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Fox Business
Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses some of the common economic myths and fallacies, as well as the potential long-term economic impact of the rising popularity of socialism.

In the News

Quote Of The Day – The Government’s Role

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Ricochet
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

It is amazing how many people think that the government’s role is to give them what they want by overriding what other people want. – Thomas Sowell