Thomas Sowel Quotes

Another major difference between private and governmental institutions is that, no matter how big and successful a private business is, it can always be forced out of business when it is no longer satisfying its customers — whether because of its own inadequacies or because competing firms or alternative technologies can satisfy the customers better. Government agencies, however, can continue on despite demonstrable failures, and the power of government can prevent rivals from arising. — P.13

World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, between them, gave the Ivory Coast 26 'structural adjustment loans' during the decades of the 1980s and 1990s, while per capita income declined and the country collapsed into civil war. -- P. 212

Phrases like 'the peace movement,' used to describe disarmament advocates, preempt the whole momentous question as to whether peace is more likely to be achieved through disarmament or through military deterrence. With untold millions of lives depending on the answer to that question, something more substantive than a presumption that some people like peace more than others might be expected. -- P. 184

-the cold fact is that income is not distributed: it is earned. -- P. 211

For businesses in general, whether large or small, the availability of other people‘s money is often crucial. Without property rights, lenders are reluctant to lend to people who do not have the cash to pay then back- and whose homes or other assets are not recognized as theirs by the legal system, and therefore cannot be used as collateral that can be foreclosed and transferred to the lender in case of default. -- P. 202

Often the character of a community includes a bucolic setting or expansive views of the surrounding area which those who live there cherish. But they did not buy those settings or those views or pay to have them guaranteed to remain the same in perpetuity. Other people with other preferences have had the same rights under the Constitution, at least until courts began to erode both property rights and the 'equal protection of the laws' prescribed by the Fourteenth Amendment. -- P. 35

History has also dealt unkindly with the notion that 'racial purity' produces people capable of higher achievements than those of mixed ancestry...While there may not be any absolutely pure races in the world today, some are less mixed than others. The purest of all are likely to be found in geographically isolated places, which are typically places poorer and less technologically or educationally advanced than others. -- P. 372

Despite the popularity of the phrase 'income distribution,' most income is earned- not distributed. -- P. 151

Where weak, corrupt and capricious indigenous governments have been supplanted by stronger and more dependable colonial governments, immigration has often increased, even when those who immigrated were never accorded the same rights as the imperial race or even the conquered native population. -- P. 17

As for the racism of whites as an explanation of black educational deficiencies, there are enough black-run schools, colleges, and universities where there would be dramatically better results than white-run institutions, if racism were the explanation. But no such dramatic differences are visible. -- P. 227

Africa itself used large numbers of slaves in all sorts of agricultural, domestic, military, and even commercial and governmental enterprises. -- P. 188

observers in both the American South an in those parts of Britain from which Southerners had come. -- P. 23 - 24

The judge‘s moral duty is to faithfully carry out the law he was sworn to uphold, not sincerely change the law to produce better results as he sees them. -- P. 59

-motor vehicle death rates per million passenger miles fell over the years from 17.9 in 1925 to 5.5 in 1965, the year Unsafe at Any Speed was published, and this trend continued at a rate of 4.9 five years later...In short, the era of corporate greed and the presumably ignorant and helpless consumer saw dramatic improvements in safety, before the anointed came to the rescue. -- P. 73

The story of how human beings treat other human beings when they have unbridled power over them is seldom a pretty story or even a decent story, regardless of the color of the people involved. -- P. 138

Just as primitive peoples have tended to attribute such things as the swaying of trees in the wind to some intentional action by an invisible spirit, rather than to such systemic causes as variations in atmospheric pressure, so there is a tendency toward intentional explanations of systemic events in the economy, when people are unaware of the basic principles. -- P. 39

Among Western Hemisphere nations, racial oppression was at its worst in the United States, especially in the former slave states of the South. Lynchings of Negroes peaked at 161 per year in 1892 in the United States. While this phenomenon remained unknown in Latin America and the Caribbean...Haitian blacks, having been the most independent of whites for more than two centuries, should be the most prosperous in the hemisphere and American blacks the poorest, if racial oppression accounts for poverty, but in fact their respective economic positions are directly the reverse- again suggesting that human capital has a greater effect than racial oppression. -- P. 168 - 169

Alternatives to a market economy may express nobler sentiments but the bottom line is whether this in fact leads to better behavior in terms of serving their fellow human being. -- P. 25

Implicit in much discussion of a need to rectify social inequities is the notion that some segments of society, through no fault of their own, lack things which others receive as windfalls gains, through no virtue of their own. True as this may be, the knowledge required to sort this out intellectually, much less rectify it politically, is staggering and superhuman. -- P. 13

In 2001, for example, there were more than 16,000 Asian American students who scored above 700 on the mathematics SAT, while fewer than 700 black students scored that high- even though blacks outnumbered Asian Americans several times over. This cannot be explained away by poverty, racism, or innate inferiority. -- P. 226