An empirical examination of how economic and other disparities arise
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.
Discrimination and Disparities gathers a wide array of empirical evidence from to challenge the idea that different economic outcomes can be explained by any one factor, be it discrimination, exploitation or genetics.
It is readable enough for people with no prior knowledge of economics. Yet the empirical evidence with which it backs up its analysis spans the globe and challenges beliefs across the ideological spectrum.
The point of Discrimination and Disparities is not to recommend some particular policy "fix" at the end, but to clarify why so many policy fixes have turned out to be counterproductive, and to expose some seemingly invincible fallacies--behind many counterproductive policies.
The vignettes of the people and places that made an impression on Thomas Sowell at various stages of his life range from the poor and the powerless to the mighty and the wealthy, from a home for homeless boys to the White House, as well as ranging across the United States and around the world. It also includes Sowell's startling discovery of his own origins during his teenage years.
If the child is father to the man, this memoir shows the characteristics that have become familiar in the public figure known as Thomas Sowell already present in an obscure little boy born in poverty in the Jim Crow South during the Great Depression and growing up in Harlem. His marching to his own drummer, his disregard of what others say or think, even his battles with editors who attempt to change what he has written, are all there in childhood.
More than a story of the life of Sowell himself, this is also a story of the people who gave him their help, their support, and their loyalty, as well as those who demonized him and knifed him in the back. It is a story not just of one life, but of life in general, with all its exhilaration and pain.
Now completely revised in paperback, The Housing Boom and Bust is designed to unravel the tangled threads of that story. It also attempts to determine whether what is being done to deal with the problem is more likely to make things better or worse.
Whether these essays (originally published as syndicated newspaper columns) are individually about financial bailouts, illegal immigrants, gay marriage, national security, or the Duke University rape case, the underlying concern is about what these very different kinds of things say about the general direction of American society.
This larger and longer-lasting question is whether the particular issues discussed reflect a degeneration or dismantling of the America that we once knew and expected to pass on to our children and grandchildren. There are people determined that this country's values, history, laws, traditions and role in the world are fundamentally wrong and must be changed. Such people will not stop dismantling America unless they get stopped—and the next election may be the last time to stop them, before they take the country beyond the point of no return.