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

Featured

Fact-Free Politics

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Thursday, January 17, 2019

In this era when there has been more information available to more people than at any time in the past, it is also true that there has been more misinformation from more different sources than ever. We are not talking about differences of opinion or inadequate verification, but about statements and catchwords in utter defiance of facts.

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Thomas Sowell On The Myths Of Economic Inequality

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, December 3, 2018

What are the myths of economic inequality, and why is socialism often posed as the solution?

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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, November 26, 2018

AUDIO ONLY

What are the myths of economic inequality, and why is socialism often posed as the solution?

Featured

Moral Bankruptcy

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, November 19, 2018

People who follow politics, even casually, learn not to expect high moral standards from politicians. But there are some outrages that show a new low, even for politicians. Among the consequences of Democrats' recent election victories, especially at the state and local levels, is the election of officials who have publicly announced their opposition to charter schools, and their determination to restrict or roll back the growth of those schools.

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Discrimination And Disparities With Thomas Sowell

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Hoover Institution’s Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow Thomas Sowell discusses his new book, Discrimination and Disparities.

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Discrimination and Disparities with Thomas Sowell

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Uncommon Knowledge
Wednesday, May 2, 2018

AUDIO ONLY

Hoover Institution’s Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow Thomas Sowell discusses his new book, Discrimination and Disparities.

Thomas Sowell discusses Intellectuals and Society on Uncommon Knowledge.
Featured

Thomas Sowell: Debunking Systemic Racism And Having Common Decency (Pt. 2)

interview with Thomas Sowellvia The Rubin Report
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell talks about the role of government, the problem with minimum wage laws, his experience as a black conservative, debunking systemic racism, the importance of common decency, and his new book Discrimination and Disparities.

Interviews

Thomas Sowell On Facts And Free Speech

interview with Thomas Sowellvia The Rubin Report
Monday, April 16, 2018

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell talks about his upbringing and Marxist past, free speech on college campuses, distinguishing between classical liberalism and libertarianism, and his new book Discrimination and Disparities.

Discrimination and Disparities

by Thomas Sowellvia Books by Hoover Fellows
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Economic and other outcomes differ vastly among individuals, groups, and nations. Many explanations have been offered for the differences. Some believe that those with less fortunate outcomes are victims of genetics. Others believe that those who are less fortunate are victims of the more fortunate.

Featured

'Tax Cuts For The Rich'?

by Thomas Sowellvia Creators Syndicate
Monday, May 1, 2017

One of the painful realities of our times is how long a political lie can survive, even after having been disproved years ago, or even generations ago. A classic example is the phrase "tax cuts for the rich," which is loudly proclaimed by opponents, whenever there is a proposal to reduce tax rates. The current proposal to reduce federal tax rates has revived this phrase, which was disproved by facts, as far back as the 1920s — and by now should be called "tax lies for the gullible."

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