website statistics Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective - PDF Books Online
Hot Best Seller

Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective

Availability: Ready to download

In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of i In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus exclusively on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture. Sowell contends that liberals have a particular interest in misreading the data and chastises them for using income inequality as an argument for the welfare state. Refuting Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman, and others on the left, Sowell draws on accurate empirical data to show that the inequality is not nearly as extreme or sensational as we have been led to believe. Transcending partisanship through a careful examination of data, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics reveals the truth about the most explosive political issue of our time.


Compare

In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of i In Wealth, Poverty, and Politics, Thomas Sowell, one of the foremost conservative public intellectuals in this country, argues that political and ideological struggles have led to dangerous confusion about income inequality in America. Pundits and politically motivated economists trumpet ambiguous statistics and sensational theories while ignoring the true determinant of income inequality: the production of wealth. We cannot properly understand inequality if we focus exclusively on the distribution of wealth and ignore wealth production factors such as geography, demography, and culture. Sowell contends that liberals have a particular interest in misreading the data and chastises them for using income inequality as an argument for the welfare state. Refuting Thomas Piketty, Paul Krugman, and others on the left, Sowell draws on accurate empirical data to show that the inequality is not nearly as extreme or sensational as we have been led to believe. Transcending partisanship through a careful examination of data, Wealth, Poverty, and Politics reveals the truth about the most explosive political issue of our time.

30 review for Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective

  1. 5 out of 5

    L.A. Starks

    Dr. Sowell cuts through hype with bracing and all-too-rarely-heard observations about the importance of human capital and productivity--that is, making something that saves thousands or millions of lives, or relieves the toil of living vs. the over-discussed (and unproven) hypothesis about victimhood and equality of outcomes. Great examples about ageism, the perils of isolation, and the fluctuations of cultures across time.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elisa

    Originally when I started this book, I was hoping it was going to have great analysis of non-anecdotal or surveyed data. But, for weeks, I'd stop, look at the source of the 'data' he used and looked at the papers that only a few actually refer to. Luckily my lab has access to those resources because like a lot of Harvard Business Review and The Economist papers, you have to pay for access....moving along.. Here's where I really had problems, even some of his own graduate economics papers contradi Originally when I started this book, I was hoping it was going to have great analysis of non-anecdotal or surveyed data. But, for weeks, I'd stop, look at the source of the 'data' he used and looked at the papers that only a few actually refer to. Luckily my lab has access to those resources because like a lot of Harvard Business Review and The Economist papers, you have to pay for access....moving along.. Here's where I really had problems, even some of his own graduate economics papers contradict the views he's pedaling in this book. My graduate professors told me that unless I wanted to be a broke scientist, I'd have to occasionally write things for the buyer and not the scientist. It seems that's what Sowell did. Example: The papers in which it refers to how many books are found in a black home -even the wealthy black home vs white homes was actually surveyed data that had been revisited more than once in the 70s, 90s, and then again this past 15 years. Every single time, the actual paper gives you the correlation test numbers, which are really low - .21 in one paper, and .16 in the one Sowell refers to (which I REALLY had to dig for as he references an article that references the peer review of the paper). For those not in the know, Even a randomly generated number base usually scores higher than .13, and those are RANDOMLY generated. But conservatives often overlook this. Also, libraries. During the Reagan era, there was a huge funding push for major city libraries. The checkout-rates skyrocketed in the poorest homes. So, those books are not owned by the families in that study, which is mentioned slightly, but pointed out in detail in the paper the article forgets to mention. The thing is, he's a conservative. I get that. But, the bias is glaring here and the format is one that has been used at Harvard and Princeton both: make enough references to papers that are paid access or hard to find, and no one will question the results. Well, I did. Another thing I couldn't help but run over were the references to self-referencing papers. I actually work with another Data Scientist that does this. Every new paper they published is just a tweaked self-referencing paper. This is annoying to me since there is usually benign and uninteresting phenomena involved - nothing revealing. After two months of reading his book and checking the sources, I found only a few that were un-biased. Funny, they're also located in the chapter that is the most conversational and anecdotal, also the longest. I'll never get this time back. I did, however, learn that most of the abstracts for the papers all start out with a simplification explanation/definition to base the paper on, since these issues are more than tertiary in complexity. A quote from his one paper, "Since it is impossible to define a justified access level to education in the vacuum of religion, we take the CEV model-approach to variations in the surveying process...", "We could not include males from two of the population samples....". In other words, a lot of the essays and articles were references to justify one stochastic volatility model, while focusing one problem so as not to take up too many resources during the simulations: !!! This does not mean you can come to some of the conclusions that people often come to when reading the Economist's "academic" versions of the articles. !!! This book is simply a disappointment in Science of Economics and Social research. It's simply a prescribed, scientific-looking propaganda book for people to defend policies that do not improve the very gaps he is referencing. There is also the overall tone that a lot of people take when they are ashamed of their roots and pool poverty into a problem too large to solve. But, it really isn't.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Todd

    Apart from the fact that this book is basically apologist for the status quo, it lacks any real strengths. The basic claim is that the development of an economy precedes down a path identical to, and unwavering from the path our economy took historically in its development. for some reason this justifies the way things are, and can be used to explain away the giant disparity in wealth. if you want to read one book that goes deep into the development of an economy, let me recommend a book by Jare Apart from the fact that this book is basically apologist for the status quo, it lacks any real strengths. The basic claim is that the development of an economy precedes down a path identical to, and unwavering from the path our economy took historically in its development. for some reason this justifies the way things are, and can be used to explain away the giant disparity in wealth. if you want to read one book that goes deep into the development of an economy, let me recommend a book by Jared Diamond. Matt Taibbi has recently written a very good book about the disparity in fair treatment by the justice system between the wealthy, and the poor, and there are any number of recently written books treating the topic of the wealth gap, which don't just explain it away. Robert Reich is a very notable voice on this topic. This author paints the notion of the wealth gap being detrimental to our national health as a liberal conceit. He discounts the idea as silly, that greed has any bearing on the mechanism at work in our world today. He suggests, as so many do who are carefully sticking to approved talking points, that the men and women who hold the greatest portion of our nation's wealth have gotten it by their hard work, and by their superior understanding. It should be natural, this argument goes, that people of this caliber will accrue much greater wealth. I'm not impressed by this argument, and I assert that greed is a primary and elemental factor influencing the growth of great fortunes. the day is coming in the next few months, when the 1% holds more wealth than the 99%. There's nothing natural about this, when all aspects of our culture have been subverted to make it easier for the wealthy to profit. The government, press and media, legal system, labour market, education system, and penal system all have New features the break in favor of the wealthy, those with influence, and those who seek a profit, and always at the expense of those with no influence, power, or resources. For my part, I declaim this author as a lap dog. The Economist equivalent of a scientist who denies climate change for money. What he says is patently wrong, but it's right to somebody. Somebody with cash to pay for the book to be written, and we can see this writer has written a number of them. I would say, if you wish to be well well-informed, to look elsewhere than with this author's writings.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    Common sense revisited. The bigger picture on wealth that does not contain redefined terms for closed agenda whole piece world views. I was especially interested in the chapters upon geographic determination for production and transport. And the many facts and world wide research details upon isolated mountain poverty. The story of a 12 year old who never saw an orange OR an olive in the countries that produce them, really ran home true for my ancestry. But the crux is held here, although it isn' Common sense revisited. The bigger picture on wealth that does not contain redefined terms for closed agenda whole piece world views. I was especially interested in the chapters upon geographic determination for production and transport. And the many facts and world wide research details upon isolated mountain poverty. The story of a 12 year old who never saw an orange OR an olive in the countries that produce them, really ran home true for my ancestry. But the crux is held here, although it isn't advertised much within the application or the epilogue portions- that the real wealth is formed from production, and never comes to fruition by governments printing paper to represent it or to transfer its worth. In fact, like Spain in its American empire years- that wealth is for growth, little more than a miasma. The cultural section held some priceless sports and particular business successes by social groups from the combinations of specific input circumstances. That part was much appreciated and interesting indeed to read, as well. This author is not closed minded to a linear theory. Nor does he redefine for one. Nor does he blame. And the factors of difference cited are so many and so differing for wealth or cultural association towards its production! What if China did not hold strong politico by the Emperor to close all out-going ships and contact in the 15th century? Lots to think about after reading this one. And the re-introduction to a context of common sense re the vast differences in 1000's of factors to "wealth" stability too. So refreshing in 2015!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Charles Haywood

    Thomas Sowell’s latest book is the usual tour-de-force. It’s not so much that there’s anything startlingly new (although there are some interesting new statistics and several new lines of thought), but that Sowell has a unique ability to clearly and concisely bring together an analysis. In this case, that analysis is of “why are outcomes different for different people?” Sowell writes in opposition to the current vogue for equating differential outcomes with differential justice resulting from “m Thomas Sowell’s latest book is the usual tour-de-force. It’s not so much that there’s anything startlingly new (although there are some interesting new statistics and several new lines of thought), but that Sowell has a unique ability to clearly and concisely bring together an analysis. In this case, that analysis is of “why are outcomes different for different people?” Sowell writes in opposition to the current vogue for equating differential outcomes with differential justice resulting from “malign actions by others,” with negative nods to Thomas Piketty, John Rawls and a wide range of similar social justice warriors. Sowell is a truth seeker. His main objection is not to those who think it’s “unfair” that some people have more than others, although he thinks that’s demonstrably false, and demonstrates it. His main philosophical objection is to people who won’t think, because they’re afraid of the truth. And his main accomplishment in the book is ruthlessly reasoning to a conclusion, peeling back extraneous layers and illogical reasoning to bring out a clear, defensible, and essentially irrefutable conclusion. This is a skill all but lost in these days of third-rate arguments, especially on platforms like Facebook, where most people have no idea what a syllogism is, and believe that depth of feeling has any relevance to reasoning. Sowell’s book works on two levels. His basic arguments are fairly well-trodden ground (including being trodden by him), but pithy and exquisitely expressed, and therefore ideal for “beginners.” At the same time, he expands those arguments in ways that aren’t always obvious, and the clarity of his language and thought makes his arguments seem simple and inevitable. So, for example, Sowell discusses that some ethnic groups place heavy emphasis on education, and therefore their children have better educational outcomes. This is not controversial to anyone but true ideologues. But Sowell points out something fairly obvious that I had never considered, nor seen anyone else consider—that it’s not just the quantity, but the quality. The same groups that educate more quantitatively also educate qualitatively differently, with the goal of providing real value to the student (and therefore to society). They choose hard, real subjects—engineering rather than social work; medicine rather than Latino Studies; computer science rather than Gender & Sexuality. The result is they gain more, both absolutely and relatively (and they contribute more to society). Sowell is, of course, an economist by profession, and this book’s basic point is an economic one—namely, as Sowell quotes Henry Hazlitt: “The real problem of poverty is not a problem of ‘distribution’ but of production. The poor are poor not because something is withheld from them but because, for whatever reason, they are not producing enough.” This seems entirely obvious—that if you produce inadequate amounts of output valuable to others, you may be happy, but you will be poor, and you will deserve to be poor. Yet this truth is everywhere denied or ignored. Sowell drags it back to center focus. Ultimately, productivity is the only possible concrete measure of human achievement and progress, and it explains why there are “haves” and “have-nots.” This does not imply a perfect linear relationship—as Sowell frequently notes, sometimes people get more because they steal, not because they produce, and this can result in inequality. But that cannot explain more than a fraction of unequal outcomes, and cannot explain outcomes far removed in time from the theft (as Sowell notes, the Spanish stole an awful lot from people in South America, yet quickly reverted to being towards the bottom in prosperity). So the key question for Sowell is, why are some more people more productive than others? Sowell begins with observing what we all know—that there is a huge range of human achievement, both for societies and for individuals. Sowell evaluates possible drivers for these differences in achievement, dividing them into geographical, cultural, social and political. As far as geography, the simplest analysis, Sowell points out that geography is not egalitarian, but it is not deterministic, either. His basic belief, for which he argues cogently, is that isolation from other human communities is the most deleterious effect of “bad” geography—it’s from interaction with others that people “gain the knowledge to turn natural resources into wealth.” Other problems, from poor soil to poor transport, to (less obviously) lack of seasons resulting in a lack of urgency about time, also contribute. None of this is startlingly new (see Jared Diamond) but it’s valuable to reiterate the objective, largely unalterable character of this source of inequality. Sowell emphasizes, however, that geography is merely the starting point—many societies and individuals have managed to be highly productive even beginning from a bad geographic position. Sowell then addresses culture. He points out the success of some frequently transplanted cultures (Germans, Chinese, Lebanese) and the ability of some cultures to successfully change to adapt new ideas (Japan), and the fact that some cultures have failed by rejecting change and regressing (Japan again, but earlier; China in the 1400s). He is unfailingly polite, though he points out that, for example, Arab culture today “lacks cultural receptivity,” as shown by that every year Spain translates more books into Spanish than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic in the past thousand years. And since cultural receptivity and flexibility is, for Sowell, the touchstone of the ability to flourish in productivity (it is the opposite of cultural isolation), that spells bad things for the Arabs. Other cultures, such as the old American South, come in for similar criticism, and are knocked for laziness and lack of productivity. Related to the benefit of cultural flexibility is one manifestation of the reverse: the frequent hostility of majorities to productive minorities, which Sowell points out is (rationally) encouraged by majority political leaders for their own benefit. This is where Sowell again addresses education, pointing out that while some cultures value education, and this can be valuable, not all education increases human capital—“some education develops little or no human capital when it produces few, if any, marketable skills—and some education even produces negative human capital, in the form of attitudes, expectations and aversions that negatively impact the economy.” Sowell hammers this point repeatedly: “People who have acquired academic degrees, without acquiring many economically meaningful skills, not only face personal disappointment and disaffection with society, but also have often become negative factors in the economy and even sources of danger, especially when they lash out at economically successful minorities and ethnically polarize the whole society they live in. . . . . In many places and times, soft-subject students and intellectuals have inflamed hostility, and sometimes violence, against many other successful groups.” Sowell’s next topic is social factors. By this he means characteristics of a group as a whole, as opposed to individual behaviors that create culture. Here is where social (and geographic) mobility becomes important, and Piketty comes into play. Sowell in this section particularly shows his knack for digging deeper than most writers. For example, crucially, he points out that even when mobility is possible, movement may or may not occur. Therefore, measuring mobility by actual movement is inadequate, since cultural or other barriers may result in people choosing not to move up the social scale. And here Sowell again drives home a point that he has hammered many times before—measuring income inequality by pretending there are two groups, “the rich” and “the poor,” by percentiles, is stupid, because the composition of those groups changes continuously, and many actual people who are “poor” at one point in their lives are “rich” later. Where actual movement occurs, this is even more true, and therefore a key indicator of social factor success is both theoretical mobility and actual movement, where a high percentage of the population spends part of its lifetime in the upper brackets of income. (Sowell also here rejects the idea that overpopulation causes poverty, reasoning along the same lines as Angus Deaton did, at greater length and with more moral outrage, in “The Great Escape.”) This section is where Sowell addresses a topic about which he frequently speaks—the argument that black people’s modern collective (but not individual) inability to compete on standardized test scores and educational attainment shows lower IQ. He does not reject that possibility (as I say, he is all about thinking, not rejecting arguments for ideological reasons), but he points out that prior to the modern post-1960s deterioration of black culture, black students scored much higher test and IQ scores than today (and other students from deficient cultures, like whites from Appalachia, scored lower IQ scores than black students). One prime example is Stuyvesant High School in New York, where entry is purely meritocratic—in 1979, black students were 12.9%; now they are 1.2%. Sowell points out “None of the usual explanations of racial disparities—genetics, racism, poverty or a ‘legacy of slavery’—can explain this retrogression over time.” He attributes it to “ghetto culture, essentially an offshoot of the dysfunctional redneck culture of the South.” (He also explicitly rejects slavery and later discrimination as an explanation for black failures; it’d be interesting to see Sowell feed Ta-Nehisi Coates into his intellectual meat grinder.) This ghetto culture is not confined to black people, of course—there are white subcultures (e.g., Appalachia) with similar bad culture and bad scores, and not just here in the US—Sowell discusses the similar vices and failings of the modern British white lower classes as well. As part of this, Sowell rejects the currently fashionable attempt to ascribe success to (poorly-defined) “privilege.” Sowell believes in personal responsibility, which may be made harder or easier by the culture one comes from, but that does not excuse failure or prevent achievement. “Slippery use of the word ‘privilege’ is part of a vogue of calling achievements ‘privileges’—a vogue which extends far beyond educational issues, spreading a total confusion in many other aspects of life.” So much for “white privilege,” surely one of the stupidest neologisms of the decade, the use of which merely serves to show the ignorance and mendacity of anyone who uses the phrase without laughing hysterically. Sowell then addresses political factors. Here, he essentially distinguishes between good and bad political choices, though he repeats his point that political choices that are good for individual politicians are often bad for the societies they lead. For example, he correctly trashes diversity as an inherent good: “Few words have been repeated so often or so insistently as ‘diversity,” without a speck of evidence being offered or asked for to substantiate its claims of economic or social benefits. And the evidence to the contrary is huge.” He points out that if diversity is so great, India should be a paradise and Japan a hell, when the reverse is true. But Sowell’s (related) main point is that political polarization is a huge barrier to national success, as he shows with examples ranging from the Ottoman Empire to modern Malaysia. Sowell attacks the “welfare state vision,” the idea that people who lack success are merely victims of bad luck and will thrive if given handouts or legal changes in their favor such as increased minimum wages, as an example of unreasoned political polarization. He points out the stupidity of attributing lack of morality to those opposed to the welfare state vision, and that American poor are nearly all not poor by any historical standards (e.g., “Americans living below the official poverty level today have more housing space per person than the average European—not poor Europeans, but the average European.” Of course, “This is not to say that Americans living in official poverty have no problems. They have serious and often catastrophic social problems, but these are seldom the result of material deprivation—and are far more often the result of social degeneration, much of it representing social retrogressions during the era of the rising welfare state and the pervasive, non-judgmental welfare state ideology.” And Sowell repeatedly points out that identity group politics don’t correlate with improvements for that group, but rather for benefits for grievance leaders. So, in the US, Latinos agitate and stagnate; Vietnamese work and get ahead. Sowell’s book is in part an analysis of the Great Divergence (why some human societies have reached escape velocity from the poverty that has universally characterized human society until the Industrial Revolution—and others haven’t). Unlike recent authors like Greg Clark and Nicholas Wade, who basically think that the humans in more successful societies have genetically evolved superior traits, Sowell is skeptical of the evolution explanation. It’s not that he rejects it out of hand—he’s open to the possibility that evidence could show, for example, that one group of humans consistently has a higher IQ, though as mentioned above he largely rejects it for black people in America. And, in fact, although he only mentions it in passing, Sowell actually in part rejects the concept of the Great Divergence, noting that “Economic inequalities among nations did not begin with the industrial revolution, and the international inequalities of ancient times were by no means necessarily less than the inequalities of today.” Greg Clark might disagree, and exploring this point might actually be a fascinating follow-up book by Sowell. While discussing cultural differences, Sowell makes a point that I had made to myself, but had not seen before in print. A few years ago, the book “Why Nations Fail,” by Acemoglu and Robinson, received wide attention. It’s about the Great Divergence, and among other things attributes modern differentials among nations to their political systems, finding “extractive” ones inferior in results. But I, at least, quit reading the book a few chapters in, when the authors addressed cultural differences among nations, and wholly rejected that cultural differences could explain any differences among national results, with their WHOLE AND ONLY argument being that “Canada and the United States were English colonies, but so were Sierra Leone and Nigeria. The variation in prosperity within former English colonies is as great as that in the entire world. The English legacy is not the reason for the success of North America.” Sowell punctures this PC-based approach with the obvious point that regardless of colonial status, the actual culture of Sierra Leone and Nigeria was in no way made English, and in fact their cultures are almost certainly the main driver of their differences today. He also notes that Barbados, with a mostly sub-Saharan ancestry but an absorbed British culture, is much richer than Argentina, which once was rich but threw it all away with a degenerating culture. Sowell finally addresses “Implications and Prospects.” Here, speaking of income inequality, he has pithy rebuttals of Thomas Piketty: “To say, as Piketty does . . . that ‘the upper decile is truly a world unto itself’ is to fly in the face of the fact that most American households—56 percent—are in the top decile at some point in their lives, usually in their older years. . . . This is not even “class warfare,” but confusion between social classes and age cohorts. . . . . Even the vaunted ‘top one percent,’ so often discussed in the media, is a level reached by 12 percent of Americans at some point in their lives.” And even then the statistics mis-state the level of inequality, for the differences are calculated pre-tax and without including “massive transfers of in-king benefits.” Finally, of course, true persistent income differences are not necessarily bad—they typically result from the higher productivity of those paid more, who also benefit others (which is why they’re paid more). Sowell also eviscerates the bell-bottom-flavored philosopher John Rawls in four pages: “To say, as Rawls does, that morally nothing should be done to benefit the rest of society if it does not also help those at the bottom can amount to enshrining a veto on progress, on behalf of those with a counterproductive lifestyle.” And, of course, “By pushing the production process off into the background, redistributionists [such as Rawls] avoid confronting the question whether income inequalities might be matched by corresponding inequalities in economic productivity.” The book does contain the usual Sowell tics, which some readers may find distracting. Nearly every cited authority is called “distinguished,” which is Sowell’s way of complimenting them. But it seems odd after a while, and a reader who’s not overly familiar with Sowell might think it was being used defensively. And Sowell does tend to seem repetitive in places. He’s not, actually—in almost all cases, he’s drawing a somewhat different conclusion but pointing to the same base material, hammering the point home. But again, to a casual reader this can seem repetitive. Neither of these are a big deal, of course, but if I had any criticism of the book, this would be it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Chad

    I think my problem with Sowell's book is that it's so transparently ideological. He starts with the premise that the only way to create widespread and sustained prosperity is by offering incentives for people and business concerns to 'create wealth.' And, then he seeks out examples that seem to prove his point, without seriously considering any counter-points. If he weren't so consumed with his own confirmation bias, Sowell might also consider the merits of targeted 'wealth redistribution' progr I think my problem with Sowell's book is that it's so transparently ideological. He starts with the premise that the only way to create widespread and sustained prosperity is by offering incentives for people and business concerns to 'create wealth.' And, then he seeks out examples that seem to prove his point, without seriously considering any counter-points. If he weren't so consumed with his own confirmation bias, Sowell might also consider the merits of targeted 'wealth redistribution' programs on sustaining, and even growing, a society's wealth. Is it possible, when seriously looking at the economic data, that 'redistributive' wealth programs in specific areas like education (e.g. universal pre-K, public schools), health care (e.g. Medicare, Medicaid, COBRA), and social security (e.g. disability insurance, welfare-to-work programs, paid parental leave) might actually also increase overall productivity and wealth over the long run? I just wished Sowell had a more intellectually honest approach to what is a serious and complex policy question.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diego

    I knew I would love this book and Dr. Thomas Sowell. In basic, this is an incredible logical sweep of demographic, political and cultural impacts on economics and income in-equality. Also incorporates personal stories of hardship as a child that makes for some great memoirs that are applicable to his message. So many books you read about economics are very quantitative with statistics galore, but Dr. Sowell discusses the fragile human psyche and the many cultures on what impacts human wealth and I knew I would love this book and Dr. Thomas Sowell. In basic, this is an incredible logical sweep of demographic, political and cultural impacts on economics and income in-equality. Also incorporates personal stories of hardship as a child that makes for some great memoirs that are applicable to his message. So many books you read about economics are very quantitative with statistics galore, but Dr. Sowell discusses the fragile human psyche and the many cultures on what impacts human wealth and prosperity. Society so wants to point the finger at anything that seems different, but really we should be pointing the thumb. Also a major point is that isolation results in backwardness. When people locate themselves to more advanced countries, no matter who they are or where they came from, can be just as successful as anyone else. Which can create resentment among society, because they are different. So many great quotes------- Ideas have consequences, even when they have no validity. What is truly reprehensible are attempts to pull down those who have achieved more, instead of facilitating the rise of those less fortunate who seek to rise through their own achievements. Isolation is a major handicap, creating or perpetuating poverty and backwardness. When you want to help people, tell them the truth. When you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear. David Hume You're entitled to your own opinion, but you're not entitled to your own facts. Daniel Patrick Moynihan Civilization is a continuous process.

  8. 4 out of 5

    George Slade

    If you've read Sowell before, then this one will not be anything strikingly new to you; however, it is still a current and relevant look into the grossly backward logic of the welfare state enthusiasts. Extreme partisans from either side need not read this, as their opinions will not be swayed either way, but if you are a middle ground moderate open to reason and logical arguments, then this book will be very interesting, enlightening, and entertaining for you. This story is full of useful histor If you've read Sowell before, then this one will not be anything strikingly new to you; however, it is still a current and relevant look into the grossly backward logic of the welfare state enthusiasts. Extreme partisans from either side need not read this, as their opinions will not be swayed either way, but if you are a middle ground moderate open to reason and logical arguments, then this book will be very interesting, enlightening, and entertaining for you. This story is full of useful historical facts and trends, but the one thing that stood out the most to me was the assertion that the welfare state today makes it more enticing to stay on government subsidies than to work your way into an income bracket that does not qualify for subsidies. Such an economic ascension would actually result in a net loss of real financial benefits. This is scholarly confirmation of a narrative that I have heard repeated over and over again from my peers all the way from growing up a poor child in the country in the 80's, to my middle class career over the last few years.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tosin Adeoti

    This evening, I finished Thomas Sowell's "Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective". This well-researched book deals with the subject of factors responsible for the progress of some groups and why others lag. As usual, Sowell's main accomplishment in the book is ruthlessly reasoning to a conclusion, peeling back extraneous layers and illogical reasoning to bring out a clear, defensible, and essentially irrefutable conclusion. It broke down factors responsible for the success (or This evening, I finished Thomas Sowell's "Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective". This well-researched book deals with the subject of factors responsible for the progress of some groups and why others lag. As usual, Sowell's main accomplishment in the book is ruthlessly reasoning to a conclusion, peeling back extraneous layers and illogical reasoning to bring out a clear, defensible, and essentially irrefutable conclusion. It broke down factors responsible for the success (or lack of) into Geographic, Cultural, Social and Political factors. In the discussion about geography, you get to learn that a country may be endowed with natural resources, yet not know because it is isolated due to 'bad' geography and thus cannot access the knowledge it needs to know it has abundant resources, not to talk of exploiting them. Some groups like the Chinese used favourable geography to race ahead of the rest. However, geography is not deterministic. While it might be the starting point and give societies a head-start, several other groups like the Japanese have managed to be highly productive even beginning from a bad geographic position. And some of the best ways for countries to achieve upward mobility is via a change in culture. Using solid evidence, it explains how being receptive to education (not just in quantity but in quality) has enabled minority groups like Jews and overseas Germans outpace others in development. It also mentioned the ability of some cultures to successfully change to adapt new ideas (Japan), and the fact that some cultures have failed by rejecting change and regressing (Japan again, but earlier; China in the 1400s). Touching on social factors, he shredded Thomas Piketty assertions about inequality. Here, he took his time to explain why measuring income inequality by pretending there are two groups, “the rich” and “the poor,” by percentiles, is not smart, because the composition of those groups changes continuously, and many actual people who are “poor” at one point in their lives are “rich” later. In fact, 95% of working class people never remain at the bottom, and a lot of people who used to be at top leave in less than a decade. As someone passionate about the plight of Black Americans, Sowell was particularly vocal about how political choices spearheaded by black politicians have led to incidences of high unemployment, high crime rate and an overall reduced income mobility for the group. Programs like affirmative actions and welfare programs have achieved the opposite of what was desired. While politicians have used these programs to achieve political success, the group has regressed economically due to these bad choices. It's an example of how individuals tell the group what they want to hear instead of what will improve their lives. Sowell rejects the currently fashionable attempt to ascribe success to (poorly-defined) “privilege.” Sowell believes in personal responsibility, which may be made harder or easier by the culture one comes from, but which does not excuse failure or prevent achievement. While some may not agree with Thomas Sowell's conclusions, they must first deal with the comprehensive historical and current facts, evidence, and sheer logic he presents in a convincing manner. I have often said that Thomas Sowell packs more in a paragraph than some manage to pack into a book, and I had to read the book again immediately after finishing it, because some of the arguments were just so compelling. Sowell does tend to seem repetitive in places. But he's not. In almost all cases, he’s drawing a somewhat different conclusion but pointing to the same base material, hammering the point home. But again, to a casual reader this can seem repetitive. Neither of these are a big deal, of course, but if I had any criticism of the book, this would be it. The book is another reminder why Thomas Sowell is my favorite economist. In each of his books he takes on conventional wisdom and tears it to shreds. This book was no exemption.

  10. 4 out of 5

    bartosz

    Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective is yet another book by Thomas Sowell which I can add to my personal hoard of great books. The most important lesson I took from the book is that wealth, equality or other measures of prosperity of a nation should never be considered the default. Assuming that poverty or inequality are something sinister and something that should be explained goes against the fact they were the natural state for most of humanity's history. Demanding an exp Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective is yet another book by Thomas Sowell which I can add to my personal hoard of great books. The most important lesson I took from the book is that wealth, equality or other measures of prosperity of a nation should never be considered the default. Assuming that poverty or inequality are something sinister and something that should be explained goes against the fact they were the natural state for most of humanity's history. Demanding an explanation of poverty shifts the burden of proof where it doesn't belong: wealth and prosperity are something remarkable and we should explain what factors combined to create it. One of the most important factors through history was geography. Paraphrasing Richard Dawkins "nature is neither kind or cruel but indifferent" - some nations prospered while others remained poor "through no fault of their own". The amount of navigable water ways, access to the sea and the coastline, the quality of soil, various natural resources and access to animals that could be used as beasts of burden are some of the factors that could influence the wealth of a nation. Usually it is not a single factor that makes or breaks a nation but a combination of them. Fortunately or not there is no such thing as geographical determinism and nations that by all evidence should be poor - such as Switzerland isolated by mountains or Japan poor in natural resources are very prosperous, while Nigeria or other countries of Africa while rich in natural resources remain poor. Other factors: cultural, political and social also conspire to create prosperity or retain poverty. Those three factors are described in detail in their own chapters. The author diligently gives statistics and historical data to back up his claims. The theme repeated throughout the book is that isolation - either physical or cultural is a major force in introducing poverty. While prosperity can bloom even in the most unlikely circumstances, given the right environment. The book gives numerous examples of minorities becoming the leading produces or wealth in a particular country (like the Germans or Japanese in Brazil), due to having a set of values such as valuing education, or hard work. The book is awesome and as every other book by Sowell I feel great for reading it. The examples given in the book are very entertaining, although some of the points made are repeated almost verbatim from other books by Thomas Sowell - mostly pertaining to affirmative action or wealth redistribution. All in all, a very illuminating book on a very controversial topic.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laila Kanon

    * I will reread this book. I heard of Thomas Sowell somewhere and watched some of his interviews on the telly and quite impressed by what he got to say and this book is the first book I ever read written by him and this is also the first economics book I've ever read. It's not as daunting and dense as I imagined it would be. What I admired about him is he made his conclusion based on facts and truth. I'm particularly impressed by the support he received from his research assistants, Na Liu and El * I will reread this book. I heard of Thomas Sowell somewhere and watched some of his interviews on the telly and quite impressed by what he got to say and this book is the first book I ever read written by him and this is also the first economics book I've ever read. It's not as daunting and dense as I imagined it would be. What I admired about him is he made his conclusion based on facts and truth. I'm particularly impressed by the support he received from his research assistants, Na Liu and Elizabeth Costa, The thoroughness of data collected were impressive. Bravo I was born and raised in Malaysia and I can vouch for the sentiment that the Malays have towards the Chinese and (the Indian too). But the non-Malay with their human capital and wealth now have the option to simply immigrate elsewhere when the Malay-led government makes thing harder for them to live and work there which in the long run, Malaysia ends up the biggest loser. Yet I don't think the current political climate will address this to stop this human capital bleeding anytime soon. About twenty years ago while I was holidaying in the Philippines, I met a Chinese businessman and he told me the horror stories of the kidnapping of Chinese businessmen for ransom (one of them was his own family member); in hindsight, I now realized as to the why. For the first time in my life, I also saw an extreme poverty that I've never witnessed before. People living in the slum areas that they call home, literally a cubicle with a small window that house a family of 3 or 4 with communal bathroom and kitchen. In fact, this friend of mine was living in one of these places. She was a single mother, living with her elderly mother and her two children (from two different fathers with no financial support). I didn't think she gets any financial support from the government. To support her family she worked in a cruise ship which require her to sail for 6/8 months on ends and 2 months off; that was tough. Back then, it did occur to me, how can one get out of this slum and what would it takes to have a better life for oneself and one's family? What I would like to ask Thomas Sowell if I get the chance is this: As much as this is an international perspective on wealth, poverty and politics, you don't exactly included the Middle East countries in the equation such as Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Oman, Jordan, etc. I'm particularly curious as how the lack of woman participation in labor force in countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran due to their religious restrictions affects their respective GDP, productivity, poverty and class mobility?

  12. 5 out of 5

    Tadas Talaikis

    So, this is from fascist "science" "proven" theories :-D Book's author is even more fascist, not seeing the real problems behind the inequality, than Henry Ford was (see below). Author blames blacks and Hispanics for not earning enough, when 1/2 of America, majority white, are earning less than 30k/year. Unbelievable. And, it doesn't matter what contributes to inequality score, because higher inequality will lead to less trust in gov. institutions anyway, because it shows that gov. doesn't fulfil So, this is from fascist "science" "proven" theories :-D Book's author is even more fascist, not seeing the real problems behind the inequality, than Henry Ford was (see below). Author blames blacks and Hispanics for not earning enough, when 1/2 of America, majority white, are earning less than 30k/year. Unbelievable. And, it doesn't matter what contributes to inequality score, because higher inequality will lead to less trust in gov. institutions anyway, because it shows that gov. doesn't fulfill its main objective - to protect most vulnerable groups. If gov. doesn't fulfill its function, then you don't have democracy, you have feudal society where such authors make "analysis" of what they don't have a clue. When, Henry Ford, on other hand: "Our country is rapidly becoming less a capitalist society and more a feudal society. Unless our policies change dramatically, the middle class will disappear, and we will be back to late 18th-century France. Before the revolution. The model for us rich guys here should be Henry Ford, who realized that all his autoworkers in Michigan weren’t only cheap labor to be exploited; they were consumers, too. Ford figured that if he raised their wages, to a then-exorbitant $5 a day, they’d be able to afford his Model Ts. What a great idea. My suggestion to you is: Let’s do it all over again. We’ve got to try something. These idiotic trickle-down policies are destroying my customer base. And yours too." Pitchforks are coming for us plutocrats

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mit Sandru

    This book is informative, to the point, backed by ample statistics/data, and without PC truth distortion. In my opinion this book should be mandatory reading in every college, if not the senior year in High Schools. After reading this book any person will understand why certain countries are wealthy or poor, why certain people in a country, like USA, are wealthy or poor, and how politics and the governments screw everything up. You’ll be able to see clearly the demagoguery of politicians and how This book is informative, to the point, backed by ample statistics/data, and without PC truth distortion. In my opinion this book should be mandatory reading in every college, if not the senior year in High Schools. After reading this book any person will understand why certain countries are wealthy or poor, why certain people in a country, like USA, are wealthy or poor, and how politics and the governments screw everything up. You’ll be able to see clearly the demagoguery of politicians and how it is in their interest to keep the people down and poor by blaming others instead of teaching people how to acquire human capitol, the key to prosperity, and improve everyone’s financial status. This is an excellent book written by the brilliant, black scholar, Thomas Sowell, who is not afraid to talk about the elephant in the room. This is one book you must read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jack

    This was my second time through the book and I gained a lot more from it this time. Sowell, as he so often does, points out fallacies in public intellectuals' arguments and takes a very basic approach to examining the sources of wealth and the approaches that politicians and intellectuals use to obscure causal factors and to convince people that they are victims of their circumstances, the wealthy and society as a whole. He focuses on how wealth results less from merit and privilege than from pr This was my second time through the book and I gained a lot more from it this time. Sowell, as he so often does, points out fallacies in public intellectuals' arguments and takes a very basic approach to examining the sources of wealth and the approaches that politicians and intellectuals use to obscure causal factors and to convince people that they are victims of their circumstances, the wealthy and society as a whole. He focuses on how wealth results less from merit and privilege than from productivity. He does a pretty good job of pointing out the flaws in recent popular tomes that drive the victim agenda. I'm a fan.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    I don't think I can give a proper review of this book. Suffice to say it was incredible. As always, Thomas Sowell tackles complex ideas in a way that laymen can easily understand. He is a must read for anyone with interest in economics, and even more so a must read for anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders has some good ideas. If you read Thomas Pichetty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", this is a clear rebuttal. I don't think I can give a proper review of this book. Suffice to say it was incredible. As always, Thomas Sowell tackles complex ideas in a way that laymen can easily understand. He is a must read for anyone with interest in economics, and even more so a must read for anyone who thinks Bernie Sanders has some good ideas. If you read Thomas Pichetty's "Capital in the Twenty-First Century", this is a clear rebuttal.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Hauck

    This book is highly recommended for its scholarly aptitude, evenkeeled tone, and comprehensive overview. Sowell provides insightful observations after reviewing large amounts of data and resources. His analysis of assumptions, method, and empirical data is exemplary. His ability to connect patterns and trends in differing societies from differing time periods in differing geographies is remarkable in addition to explaining possible correlations and causes to such conditions. Sowell looks to answ This book is highly recommended for its scholarly aptitude, evenkeeled tone, and comprehensive overview. Sowell provides insightful observations after reviewing large amounts of data and resources. His analysis of assumptions, method, and empirical data is exemplary. His ability to connect patterns and trends in differing societies from differing time periods in differing geographies is remarkable in addition to explaining possible correlations and causes to such conditions. Sowell looks to answer the question about why some societies are successful when the majority are not. Sowell notes: It is not poverty that needs to be explained but what combinations of circumstances come together in particular places and times to enable economic progress to take place.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dean

    A very current answer on some causes and misperceptions on income inequality. There are 536 American billionaires. That is a good thing that our economy has help them achieve such wealth. Their wealth did not come to the disadvantage of others less fortunate. The creation of wealth is not a zero sum game. Some of these billionaires are Democrats and philanthropists. To blame the ills of the U.S. body politic on this "billionaire class" is a false narrative. At least Bernie has broadened his atta A very current answer on some causes and misperceptions on income inequality. There are 536 American billionaires. That is a good thing that our economy has help them achieve such wealth. Their wealth did not come to the disadvantage of others less fortunate. The creation of wealth is not a zero sum game. Some of these billionaires are Democrats and philanthropists. To blame the ills of the U.S. body politic on this "billionaire class" is a false narrative. At least Bernie has broadened his attack from just the Koch brothers to what he now calls the "billionaire class". Bernie, confiscating all the wealth of the 536 billionaires and redistributing would have little or no effect on income inequality or what ails the U.S. economy. Better to focus on what leads to better opportunities for those less fortunate.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    This brilliant tour de force could and should be the primary text for Economics 101. It examines in detail the factors that produce invention and wealth, and the factors that deter them. It looks at the political tenets and myths of our time, and checks out the facts behind them. There are 58 pages of notes that back up the author's statements. If I had the power, I'd require citizens to pass a test on the contents of this book before being allowed to vote. This brilliant tour de force could and should be the primary text for Economics 101. It examines in detail the factors that produce invention and wealth, and the factors that deter them. It looks at the political tenets and myths of our time, and checks out the facts behind them. There are 58 pages of notes that back up the author's statements. If I had the power, I'd require citizens to pass a test on the contents of this book before being allowed to vote.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Niko Khan

    Immediately ranks up there as one of my favourite books of all time. Brilliant work by Sowell. By the end of the book you'll have half of the book highlighted. Many interesting takeaways and all simplified for pretty much anyone to understand Immediately ranks up there as one of my favourite books of all time. Brilliant work by Sowell. By the end of the book you'll have half of the book highlighted. Many interesting takeaways and all simplified for pretty much anyone to understand

  20. 5 out of 5

    Shawn Ritenour

    Another tour de force by Sowell. There is so much good insight and puncturing of sophistic assertions with sound economic analysis in this book. Choice bits include his discussions of slavery, the importance of geography, economic isolation, the consequences of the welfare state, and his critique of social justice. My only wish is that he would have provided a little more detailed explanation of the link between productivity and income and wealth.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Drtaxsacto

    One of the things which brought me to Economics was a clear division among practitioners. In my junior year as an undergraduate, I took a course in developmental economic which in my opinion vacillated between technical jargon - which when one spent time trying to discern what the concept was trying to explain; and statistical manipulations - which often were conditioned on odd assumptions. In the end I dropped the course because it made no sense to me. Then I encountered Adam Smith and Frederic One of the things which brought me to Economics was a clear division among practitioners. In my junior year as an undergraduate, I took a course in developmental economic which in my opinion vacillated between technical jargon - which when one spent time trying to discern what the concept was trying to explain; and statistical manipulations - which often were conditioned on odd assumptions. In the end I dropped the course because it made no sense to me. Then I encountered Adam Smith and Frederich Hayek. Both of whom avoided, for the most part, jargon and made one think about broader questions. Thomas Sowell is clearly in the second tradition. His career of research has been a gift not just to the field of economics but to the broader field of social philosophy. In the late 1980s when I first began to read Sowell I was especially struck with two books - A Conflict of Visions (which argued that the fundamental meaning of key terms was different for liberals and conservatives) and Ethnic America (which gave a superb description of different ethnic groups in the US and how each survived and or prospered). The problem with this book is it presents a fire hose of information - his arguments about the relative influences of culture, geography and other factors on poverty are complex. Results are conditioned in all areas by a complex set of factors including geography, population, culture, timing and political discourse. He is especially passionate about the misuse of income data. Two stats from the book are worth repeating - if an economy doubled and the distribution of income stayed the same the least well off would still be better off than before. Income statistics often treat the subject as a static population and do not take into account variations in age and education. One number which stood out for me was that 56% of wage earners have at least a year in the top decile of incomes over their lifetimes. One of his crusades, which I think he does quite well, is to take on the assumptions in John Rawls, a Theory of Justice. Sowell points out the obvious flaws in Rawls' formulation of aid the least well off first when understanding whether something is just in society. Sowell's work here is not necessarily ground breaking but it offers a series of insights well worth the fire hose approach to the subjects he covers.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jean-luc

    Sowell misses a step in his argument – even if he’s correct about attributing the disparities in economic outcomes to non-governmental or policy factors, such as geography or social patterns, it doesn’t mean that government can’t take steps to redistribute wealth to close the gaps in those disparities, or otherwise invest in ways to specifically redress those disparities. Factors such as the educational attainment of races coalescing, but the income inequality remaining unchanged, suggest he’s w Sowell misses a step in his argument – even if he’s correct about attributing the disparities in economic outcomes to non-governmental or policy factors, such as geography or social patterns, it doesn’t mean that government can’t take steps to redistribute wealth to close the gaps in those disparities, or otherwise invest in ways to specifically redress those disparities. Factors such as the educational attainment of races coalescing, but the income inequality remaining unchanged, suggest he’s wrong on the merits of his own argument in any case. In his final chapter, he attempts to undermine Piketty’s work by suggesting income quintiles are not stable over lifetimes. Piketty, of course, has breakdowns by age that show changing inequality following particular cohorts; even if Sowell’s premise were true (unsurprisingly, it isn’t: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23371?utm...), the upper centiles and deciles (where the income inequality is concentrated) certainly are stable, and account for most of the top quintile disparity. A full THIRD of older adults in the U.S. are below the federal poverty limit – and have little to no chance of escaping. Sowell also entirely fails to address the wealth disparity, which is the greater of disparities anyways. Recent (summer 2017) Piketty data accounting for post-tax transfers obliterates whatever remains of Sowell’s argument here. Finally, Sowell seems perfectly content to attack inequality metrics on the basis that there is no ‘ideal state’ – even though most inequality critiques are tied to a reduction or elimination of poverty. Certainly on a global scale this is demonstrably beneficial, given the significant impact of existing wealth transfers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Xavier Shay

    There was enough interesting stuff in here for a 3, and the general thrust of "we need to actually look at data" and "different geographies/politics/cultures have different productivity" I agree with. Some stuff about affirmative action not being effective that I want to look into more. But he seemed to ignore his own charter to suit his main points. Apparently black crime/single parent familes/etc started increasing in the 60s, which he blames on the "welfare state". This read like bad sociology There was enough interesting stuff in here for a 3, and the general thrust of "we need to actually look at data" and "different geographies/politics/cultures have different productivity" I agree with. Some stuff about affirmative action not being effective that I want to look into more. But he seemed to ignore his own charter to suit his main points. Apparently black crime/single parent familes/etc started increasing in the 60s, which he blames on the "welfare state". This read like bad sociology - maybe true, but seems equally likely at face value that causation could flow the other way? At least should have been explored or referenced. He also points out that looking at quintile distributions doesn't make sense, since 50% of people start at the bottom and work their way to the top as they age and increase their income. Ok, maybe true, but what does that mean? Does it actually invalidate any points about inequality? Which ones? Women aren't paid as much men because they don't have as much continuous survey - quoting a single reference from the 70s - why would that be? Does the data seem suspect? Etc etc... I think I'm spoiled having just read some science books that are much more about "what do we know" rather than "here is why I'm right". It's probably accurate that we actually know very little about the things Sowell writes about, and a more useful book would acknowledge that.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Martynas Petkevičius

    I have mixed feelings about the book – it seems to support most of my preconceptions, but at the same time I'm unconvinced by Sowell's arguments for them. The book has numerous references, but some of them are just opinions of other social "scientists", other ones are statistics of 20 or so samples, yet another ones can be interpreted in different ways. However, Sowell takes a very strong and not intellectually honest stance on the culture being the most important, if not the sole factor determi I have mixed feelings about the book – it seems to support most of my preconceptions, but at the same time I'm unconvinced by Sowell's arguments for them. The book has numerous references, but some of them are just opinions of other social "scientists", other ones are statistics of 20 or so samples, yet another ones can be interpreted in different ways. However, Sowell takes a very strong and not intellectually honest stance on the culture being the most important, if not the sole factor determining prosperity of peoples and communities. Furthermore, the book is extremely verbose, making same examples multiple times in different chapters. I'm sure the same amount of information could easily fit in half the pages.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Henry

    This book, the table of contents aside, amounts to a roughly one hundred and fifty page prologue about the importance of various of geographic, cultural and social factors to the formation and outcome of various societies, followed by what I perceive to be the author's true purpose in writing the book in the first place. This being an attack on the welfare state as he perceives it, coupled with an attack on African American culture and progress, as well as the assertion that lasting poverty in b This book, the table of contents aside, amounts to a roughly one hundred and fifty page prologue about the importance of various of geographic, cultural and social factors to the formation and outcome of various societies, followed by what I perceive to be the author's true purpose in writing the book in the first place. This being an attack on the welfare state as he perceives it, coupled with an attack on African American culture and progress, as well as the assertion that lasting poverty in both the African American population in the United States and others is the result of social degeneration and retrogression.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Dylan Stephenson

    This book does a great job illustrating a host of factors leading up to economic disparities between countries. Thomas Sowell is clear, easy to understand and challenges common status quos of wealth and dynamics of groups trapped in poverty. However, near the end of the book particularly, he reveals a relatively strong bias without strong evidence to back it. He just sites several relatively seemingly random examples. Overall, a great book for those wanting to get into economic theory without di This book does a great job illustrating a host of factors leading up to economic disparities between countries. Thomas Sowell is clear, easy to understand and challenges common status quos of wealth and dynamics of groups trapped in poverty. However, near the end of the book particularly, he reveals a relatively strong bias without strong evidence to back it. He just sites several relatively seemingly random examples. Overall, a great book for those wanting to get into economic theory without diving too deep.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kent

    Thoroughly outstanding rebuttal to the political rhetoric of the other side. Dense with facts and the microeconomic view of the world. A debater's best reference. Thoroughly outstanding rebuttal to the political rhetoric of the other side. Dense with facts and the microeconomic view of the world. A debater's best reference.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Malin Friess

    I couldn't finish this high-end academic book...maybe if I had the discipline and it was required reading in college. But on my own I failed. I couldn't finish this high-end academic book...maybe if I had the discipline and it was required reading in college. But on my own I failed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Paul Conroy

    Another impressive work by Thomas Sowell, which dispels much of the “progressive” narrative, with a rebuttal based on economics, statistics and math.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brett Jeter

    Mandatory reading for our current moment. Very readable and informative on how wealth is created and how outcomes are more complicated than our current moment indicates.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.