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 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

Analysis and Commentary

Has Economics Failed?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

It is especially painful for me, as an economist, to see that two small cities in northern California — San Mateo and Burlingame — have rent control proposals on the ballot this election year.

Analysis and Commentary

Random Thoughts

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Random thoughts on the passing scene: There seem to be fewer bumper stickers this year than in previous presidential election years. People may decide to vote for one of these candidates, but apparently they are not proud of their choice.

Analysis and Commentary

The Left's Vision

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The political left keeps announcing, as if it is a new breakthrough discovery of theirs, that life is unfair. Have they never read Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," more than two and a half centuries ago? What about economic historian David S. Landes' statement: "The world has never been a level playing field"?

Featured

Immigration Controversies

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Despite controversies that rage over immigration, it is hard to see how anyone could be either for or against immigrants in general. First of all, there are no immigrants in general.

Analysis and Commentary

Turnout Time

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Some of us this election year don't even want to say the words "Clinton" or "Trump" — and with good reason. However, there is one word that we should keep in mind: "Turnout."

Featured

The Left And The Masses

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The greatest moral claim of the political left is that they are for the masses in general and the poor in particular. That is also their greatest fraud. It even fools many leftists themselves.

Analysis and Commentary

The Left And The Masses: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It is never easy to tell what people's motives are. But, when the political left proclaims their devotion to improving the lives of others in general, and of the poor in particular, we can at least get some clues from the way they go about it.

Analysis and Commentary

The Left And The Masses: Part III

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Claiming the role of champions of the masses is something the political left has been doing ever since there has been a political left — which is to say, ever since the late 18th century, when people with such views sat on the left side of the French National Assembly.

Intellections

Socialism’s Empty Promises

by Milton Friedman, David Davenport, Allan H. Meltzer, Thomas Sowellvia PolicyEd.org
Monday, October 17, 2016
Many Americans believe socialism to be a form of social kindness by the government. But true socialism isn’t a social safety net. It is when the government controls most prices, businesses, property, and other aspects of economic life. The historical record of socialism has been wrecked or stagnating economies and flagrant human rights violations. The truth borne of a hundred years of hard experience is that people do not prosper in socialist countries.
Featured

Words Versus Deeds

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Do you choose a president by talk — or by actions and consequences?

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