Thomas Sowell

Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy
Awards and Honors:
American Philosophical Society
National Academy of Education

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

In the News

Cory Booker Introduces Slavery Reparations Bill To Senate

quoting Thomas Sowellvia The Daily Wire
Monday, April 8, 2019

In an effort to differentiate himself from the pack by moving as far to the left as he can on the political spectrum, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) has now introduced a bill to the Senate that would study the payment of slavery reparations, reports Fox News.

In the News

Quote Of The Day: Helping People

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Ricochet
Sunday, April 7, 2019

“When you want to help people, you tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. People with careers as ethnic leaders usually tell their followers what they want to hear.” – Thomas Sowell

In the News

New Poll: America Is Morally Divided Over Socialism

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Townhall
Thursday, April 4, 2019

In his 2019 State of the Union address, President Trump drew cheers from mainstream America with his clear and compelling statement that America was founded on liberty and will never become a socialist country. But not everyone cheered, and it is telling that an American president even felt compelled to make such a statement. As the Democrats have become increasingly radicalized and openly supportive of socialism, President Trump saw the need to name the threat out loud and to rally freedom-loving Americans to defend their birthright.

In the News

Disparities Don’t Always Equal Discrimination

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Albany Student Press
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

In today’s milieu, we are used to the concept of fairness and equality. Our politicians use it in their campaign platforms, we hear it on the news, we hear it in our classrooms and there are even people walking around in t-shirts that succinctly show the word “equality” on them. But, no matter the implications of such social displays, many of us seldom understand the facts and statistics behind inequality.

In the News

Our Rights Depend On An Election You Haven't Even Heard Of

quoting Thomas Sowellvia National Post
Tuesday, April 2, 2019

No genuine rule of law can exist without independent lawyers, who are no less essential than independent courts.

In the News

The Commonality Of The 21st Century: Record Debt, Hyperinflation & Bitcoin

quoting Thomas Sowellvia Bitcoin Exchange Guide
Sunday, March 31, 2019

The grand total of US debt has reached $222 trillion dollar, 300% of the GDP which is rising at the rate f $1 trillion every year. But nobody seems to care with ‘printing’ available as a solution. But with this money creation out of thin air has already turned the currencies into dust with hyperinflation, will Bitcoin emerge as the salvation.


Thomas Sowell On The Ricochet Podcast: Sweet Sowell Music (7:48)

interview with Thomas Sowellvia Ricochet
Friday, March 29, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses the reissue of his classic book Discrimination and Disparities  as well as the rise of socialism, reparations, and more. 


Mueller Report Reaction And Special Guest Thomas Sowell (24:50)

interview with Thomas Sowellvia The All New Dennis Miller Option
Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Thomas Sowell discusses his latest book, a revised and enlarged edition of Discrimination and Disparities.

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.