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

Stop The Bleeding

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 17, 2015

There was a painful irony when France's immediate response to the terrorist attacks in Paris was to close the borders. If they had closed the borders decades ago, they might have avoided this attack.

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The Ben Carson Flaps

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Dr. Ben Carson's whole life has been very unusual, so perhaps we should not be surprised to see the latest twist — the media going ballistic over discrepancies in a few things he said.

Analysis and Commentary

Ignoring The Obvious

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, November 2, 2015

A recent, widely publicized incident in which a policeman was called to a school classroom to deal with a disruptive student has provoked all sorts of comments on whether the policeman used "excessive force."

Analysis and Commentary

Hillary 2.0

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Many people may share Senator Bernie Sanders' complaint that he was tired of hearing about Hillary Clinton's e-mails. But the controversy is about issues far bigger than e-mails. One issue is the utter disaster created by the Obama administration's foreign policy in Libya, carried out by Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.

Analysis and Commentary

Open Season On The Police

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In recent months there have been a series of cases reported in the media, where some teenage thug — white, black or Hispanic in different cases — has been stopped by a policeman for some routine violation of the law and, instead of complying with lawful instructions, such as "show me...

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Politicians' Words

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

At the recent televised debate among candidates for the Democrats' nomination for president, Hillary Clinton declared that "the wealthy pay too little" in taxes and "the middle class pays too much." Some people might wish to argue about whether that is true or not, but no rational argument can b...

Analysis and Commentary

The 'Gun Control' Farce

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

President Obama's intrusion into the mourning community of Roseburg, Oregon, in order to promote his political crusade for stronger gun control laws, is part of a pattern of his using various other sites of shooting rampages in the past to promote this long-standing crusade of the political left.

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The 'Gun Control' Farce: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The grand illusion of zealots for laws preventing ordinary, law-abiding people from having guns is that "gun control" laws actually control guns. In a country with many millions of guns, not all of them registered, this is a fantasy and a farce.

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Charlatans And Sheep

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

One of the many painful signs of the mindlessness of our times was a recent section of the Wall Street Journal, built around the theme "What's Holding Women Back in the Workplace?"

Analysis and Commentary

Charlatans And Sheep: Part II

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Tuesday, October 6, 2015

One of the secrets of successful magicians on stage is directing the audience's attention to something that is attractive or distracting, but irrelevant to what is actually being done. That is also the secret of successful political charlatans.

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