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

In the News

Monday Morning Links

quoting Thomas Sowellvia AEI
Monday, March 25, 2019

Chart of the Day I (above) has been featured before on CD and is worth a re-post. It shows that America’s middle class is disappearing but it’s because they are moving into higher income groups not moving into lower income groups. Between 1969 and 2017, the share of US households making $100,000 or more (in constant 2017 dollars) has more than tripled from 9% to 29.2%, while the share of households making $35,000 to $100,000 decreased from 53.8% to 41.3%. 

In the News

A Huge Problem For Progs: Minority Students In Elite NYC Examination High Schools Were Well Represented In Earlier Generations

quoting Thomas Sowellvia American Thinker
Sunday, March 24, 2019

According to Progressives like Bill de Blasio and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the Asian-heritage children of New York City who study hard and pass the entrance examinations for the high quality and very demanding Bronx High School of Science and Stuyvesant High School are a problem. They must be punished with fewer slots at the exam schools, so that more blacks and Hispanics, who can’t score as highly on the exams can attend the schools. 

Thomas Sowell in front of a black background with an Uncommon Knowledge mug
In the News

Thomas Sowell Is Right To Predict A Socialist America

quoting Thomas Sowellvia American Thinker
Saturday, March 23, 2019

Recently, Thomas Sowell appeared on the Fox Business Network. The host, David Asman, asked Sowell whether America will go down the dark and dangerous road of socialism: The future of America — do you think that we are destined to go through a period of socialism, a period where these ideas that have not worked wherever they have been tried and will not work here, will be tried here, and could bring down our country?

In the News

Why Did Bar AOC Used To Work At Shut Down? Because Of $15 Minimum Wage She Supports

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The New American
Friday, March 22, 2019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (shown) had been accused of stealing tips from a coworker at a bar where she once waitressed. Yet she also could perhaps be accused of helping steal the jobs, in a manner of speaking, from workers at its sister establishment, in which she also waitressed. 

Interviews

Thomas Sowell: "No Hard Evidence" That Trump Is A Racist

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Real Clear Politics
Friday, March 22, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell notes that he has not seen "hard evidence" that President Trump is a racist. Sowell also commented on the fascination young people have with socialism. He said people "no longer look at the facts" yet are cheering on Bernie Sanders and his policies.

In the News

If $15 Minimum Wage Is Such A Good Idea, Why Did AOC's Bar Close Down?

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Townhall
Thursday, March 21, 2019

The brilliant Thomas Sowell, when in college, considered himself a Marxist. Asked what changed him, Sowell said, "Evidence."

Interviews

Economist Thomas Sowell Warns Of The Dangers Of The Left's 'Social Justice'

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell says just because there are biases does not mean the biases cause disparities. And, Sowell notes that facts in the world of reality raise the crucial question as to whether the redistribution of income or wealth can actually be done.

In the News

Thomas Sowell Makes A Clear Point About Medicare-For-All

quoting Thomas Sowellvia NOQ Report
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How was the left able to take heat away from their Medicare-for-All proposal, and more specifically the estimated $32 trillion price tag over a decade? They tripled down with the Green New Deal, which some estimate would cost upwards near $100 trillion.

In the News

Sorry, Sandy, Capitalism Needs No Redemption

quoting Thomas Sowellvia American Thinker
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Addressing an audience at Austin’s South by Southwest conference, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called capitalism an “irredeemable system.” “Capitalism is the ideology of capital,” she says. “The most important thing is the concentration of capital and to seek and maximize profit.” 

Featured

The Dangers Of The 'Social Justice' Vision

by Thomas Sowellvia Fox News
Saturday, March 16, 2019

“Despite how persuasive the words of John Rawls and other ‘social justice’ advocates may be in the world of words, demonstrated facts in the world of reality raise the crucial question as to whether the redistribution of income or wealth can actually be done, in any comprehensive and sustainable sense. Where, instead, there is simply a humanitarian desire to see the less fortunate have better prospects for a better life, the ‘social justice’ argument is both unnecessary and an impediment to joining forces toward that end with others who do not happen to share the implicit assumption of that particular social vision.

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