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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

Recorded on November 15, 2018

Thomas Sowell discusses economic inequality, racial inequality, and the myths that have continued to falsely describe the system of poverty among different racial and economic classes. He explains the economic theories behind these pervasive myths and proposes fact-based solutions for seemingly intractable situations.

Sowell discusses his early life as a high school dropout and his first full-time job as a Western Union messenger delivering telegrams. He admits to flirting with Marxism in his early twenties as he first tried to grapple with the housing inequality he saw across the neighborhoods of New York City. Marxism, he says, was the only explanation he could find at the time. He went on to serve in the Marine Corps before continuing his education in economics at Harvard and earning a master’s at Columbia and a PhD at the University of Chicago.

Sowell’s first job after his receiving his PhD in economics was working for the Department of Labor, and he says it was there that he realized Marxism was not the answer. He argues that the government has its own institutional interests in inequality that cannot be explained through Marxism. He began to be discouraged by Marxism and the government in general and began searching for better economic ideas and solutions (the free market).

Robinson and Sowell discuss Sowell’s written works, his ideas of racial and economic inequality, the state of the United States today, and much more.

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Economist Thomas Sowell on the income inequality debate

Economist Thomas Sowell on some of the common economic myths and fallacies and the potential long-term economic impact of the rising popularity of socialism. Thomas Sowell said of the U.S. economy, I do have a great fear that in the long run we may not make it.

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Thomas Sowell - Gender Bias and Income Disparity: A Myth?

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Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Thomas Sowell argues that economic differences between working men and women are not generally due to employer discrimination, as is widely alleged.

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Peter Robinson speaks with Thomas Sowell about his new book Economic Facts and Fallacies in which Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues.

Sowell takes on the conventional thinking on a wide swath of America's economic life, from male-female economic differences to income stagnation, executive pay, and social mobility to economics of higher education. In all cases he demonstrates how economics relates to the social issues that deeply affect our country - Hoover Institution

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science.

Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits Hoover's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, Uncommon Knowledge.
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Thomas Sowell on the Origins of Economic Disparities

Recorded on April 1, 2019

Is discrimination the reason behind economic inequality in the United States? Thomas Sowell dismisses that question with a newly revised edition of his book Discrimination and Disparities. He sits down with Peter Robinson to discuss the long history of disparities among humans around the world and throughout time. He argues that discrimination has significantly less of a role to play in inequality than contemporary politicians give it credit for, and that something as incontrovertible as birth order of children has a more significant and statistically higher impact on success than discrimination. He discusses why parental attention is the most important aspect of a child’s intellectual development.

Sowell goes on to break down different minority groups around the world who went on to have more economic and political success than their majority counterparts, such as the Indians in East Africa, Jewish people in Eastern Europe, Cubans in the United States, and the Chinese in Malaysia. He argues that there is an underlying assumption that if discrimination was absent equality would prevail, which historically has been proven wrong.

Sowell goes on to discuss changes in crime rates and poverty since the expansion of US welfare programs in the 1960s and how this has had a huge impact on the success of African Americans. He talks about his own experience growing up in New York, how housing projects used to be considered a positive place to live, and his experience as the first member of his family to enter the seventh grade. Robinson asks Sowell his thoughts on the case for reparations currently being made in Congress, and Sowell presents an argument about why a plan for reparations is not only illogical but also impossible to implement, with so many US citizens’ ancestors arriving long after the Civil War. He also explains that slavery was common throughout the known world for thousands of years and that abolition movements didn’t begin anywhere in the world until the late 18th century. He reminds us that the United States was not the only country guilty of participating in slavery and yet is the only country debating reparations.

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Thomas Sowell - Income Inequality

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Thomas Sowell - Race and Economics

In excerpts from Tony Brown’s Journal (1984), Dr. Sowell shares timeless insights from his research on the economics of race and culture.

Discrimination and Disparities with Thomas Sowell

Recorded March 14, 2018

Rich or poor, most people agree that wealth disparities exist. Thomas Sowell discusses the origins and impacts of those wealth disparities in his new book, Discrimination and Disparities in this episode of Uncommon Knowledge.

Sowell explains his issues with the relatively new legal standard of “disparate impact” and how it disregards the American legal principle of “burden of proof.” Sowell and Robinson discuss how economic outcomes vary greatly across individuals and groups and that concepts like “disparate impact” fail to take into account these variations.

They chat about the impact of nuclear families on the IQs of individuals, as studies have not only shown that children raised by two parents tend to have higher levels of intelligence but also that first-born and single children have even higher intelligence levels than those of younger siblings, indicating that the time and attention given by parents to their children greatly impacts the child’s future more than factors like race, environment, or genetics. Sowell talks about his book in which he wrote extensively about National Merit Scholarship finalists who more often than not were the first-born or only child in a family.

Sowell and Robinson go on to discuss historical instances of discrimination and how those instances affected economic and social issues within families, including discrimination created by housing laws in the Bay Area. They discuss unemployment rates, violence, the welfare state in regards to African American communities, and more.

Related Resources:

• Discrimination and Disparities (
• Wealth, Poverty, and Politics (
• Thomas Sowell Brings the World into Focus through an Economic Lens (
• Thomas Sowell discusses his newest book, Intellectuals and Race (
• Thomas Sowell discusses his essay “‘Trickle Down’ Theory and ‘Tax Cuts for the Rich.’” (
• Thomas Sowell on the second edition of Intellectuals and Society (

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Thomas Sowell - Race And Gender Gaps

Professor Sowell explains why income disparities exist regarding race and gender.

Thomas Sowell: The Income Gap Myth

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Thomas Sowell - Disparities in Income

Thomas Sowell destroys common misconceptions about income inequality.
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Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

Sowell discusses his early life as a high school dropout and his first full-time job as a Western Union messenger delivering telegrams. He admits to flirting with Marxism in his early twenties as he first tried to grapple with the housing inequality he saw across the neighborhoods of New York City. Marxism, he says, was the only explanation he could find at the time. He went on to serve in the Marine Corps before continuing his education in economics at Harvard and earning a master’s at Columbia and a PhD at the University of Chicago.

Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality.

Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality.

Watch this interview at-



HooverInstitution

Recorded on November 15, 2018 Thomas Sowell discusses economic inequality, racial inequality, and the myths that have continued to falsely describe the system of poverty among different racial and economic classes. He explains the economic theories behind these pervasive myths and proposes fact-based solutions for seemingly intractable situations. Sowell discusses his early life as a high school dropout and his first full-time job as a Western Union messenger delivering telegrams. He admits to flirting with Marxism in his early twenties as he first tried to grapple with the housing inequality he saw across the neighborhoods of New York City. Marxism, he says, was the only explanation he could find at the time. He went on to serve in the Marine Corps before continuing his education in economics at Harvard and earning a master’s at Columbia and a PhD at the University of Chicago. Sowell’s first job after his receiving his PhD in economics was working for the Department of Labor, and he says it was there that he realized Marxism was not the answer. He argues that the government has its own institutional interests in inequality that cannot be explained through Marxism. He began to be discouraged by Marxism and the government in general and began searching for better economic ideas and solutions (the free market). Robinson and Sowell discuss Sowell’s written works, his ideas of racial and economic inequality, the state of the United States today, and much more.

Interested in exclusive Uncommon Knowledge content? Check out Uncommon Knowledge on social media! Facebook: Twitter: Instagram:

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Thomas Sowell - Is Income Stagnation an Economic Myth?

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Hoover Institution Senior Fellow Thomas Sowell argues that reports of stagnation among American incomes over the last several decades are economic and political myths.

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Peter Robinson speaks with Thomas Sowell about his new book Economic Facts and Fallacies in which Sowell exposes some of the most popular fallacies about economic issues.

Sowell takes on the conventional thinking on a wide swath of America's economic life, from male-female economic differences to income stagnation, executive pay, and social mobility to economics of higher education. In all cases he demonstrates how economics relates to the social issues that deeply affect our country - Hoover Institution

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, political writer, and commentator. He is currently a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. In 1990, he won the Francis Boyer Award, presented by the American Enterprise Institute. In 2002 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for prolific scholarship melding history, economics, and political science.

Peter M. Robinson is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, where he writes about business and politics, edits Hoover's quarterly journal, the Hoover Digest, and hosts Hoover's television program, Uncommon Knowledge.

Thomas Sowell - Wealth Disparity

Professor Sowell is interviewed about income inequality.

Thomas Sowell: The Wealth Gap Myth

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Facts and Fallacies with Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell outlines common misconceptions about economics, race, and racism.

Thomas Sowell Economic Inequality Myths Debunked

Thomas Sowell is an American economist and social theorist and is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. Sowell was born in North Carolina but grew up in Harlem, New York. He dropped out of Stuyvesant High School and served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War.

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Author Thomas Sowell Talks About Feminism and Income Inequality

Thomas Sowell - Production, Inequality and Human Capital

From Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson, Economist Thomas Sowell shares wisdom and insight from his newly-revised classic work, “Wealth, Poverty and Politics.”

Thomas Sowell Speaks on the Relationship Between Lifestyle Choices and Affirmative Action

From a Hoover Institute interview, entitled: Thomas Sowell on the Myths of Economic Inequality

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