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

Flickering Signs

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Saturday, December 2, 2006

Despite years of getting a steady diet of "non-judgmental" attitudes from our educational system and the media, we have not yet lost all sense of right and wrong...

Analysis and Commentary

Who Really Cares?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 28, 2006

More frightening than any particular beliefs or policies is an utter lack of any sense of a need to test those beliefs and policies against hard evidence...

Analysis and Commentary

Life Under the Dems

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Usually this would be too early to tell what the political alignment will be like when the new Congress convenes in January, with both Houses under the control of the Democrats...

Analysis and Commentary

The Washington Meat Grinder

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld faded away more quickly and more quietly than almost anyone who has been so prominent and so controversial for so many years...

Analysis and Commentary

Freedom Man

by Thomas Sowellvia Wall Street Journal
Friday, November 17, 2006

Milton Friedman was one of the very few intellectuals with both genius and common sense...

Analysis and Commentary

Things Just Got Worse

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 14, 2006

In just two short years, Republicans have gone from being champs to being chumps...

Analysis and Commentary

Saddam death protests reflect decline of the West

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Saturday, November 11, 2006

European nations protesting Saddam Hussein's death sentence, as they protested against forcing secrets out of captured terrorists, should tell us all we need to know about the internal degeneration of Western society, where so many confuse squeamishness with morality...

Ever Wonder Why? And Other Controversial Essays
Books

Ever Wonder Why? and Other Controversial Essays

by Thomas Sowellvia Hoover Institution Press
Thursday, November 9, 2006

Thomas Sowell takes on a range of legal, social, racial, educational, and economic issues—along with "the culture wars"—in this latest collection of his controversial, never boring, always thought-provoking essays. From "gun control myths" to "mealy mouth media" to "free lunch medicine," Sowell gets to the heart of the matters we all care about with his characteristically unswerving candor.

Analysis and Commentary

Where Is The West?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Wednesday, November 8, 2006

European nations protesting Saddam Hussein's death sentence -- as they protested against forcing secrets out of captured terrorists -- should tell us all we need to know about the internal degeneration of western society, where so many confuse squeamishness with morality...

Analysis and Commentary

A New Voter Fraud

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 7, 2006

There is no real question that Democrats are more skilled at politics than the Republicans are...

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