Thomas Sowel Quotes

The powerful incentives created by a profit-and-loss economy depend on the profits being private property. -- P. 245

Some countries have had disastrous famines, not from a lack of food, but from a lack of distribution of food. People have literally died from starvation in the interior while food supplies rotted on the docks in port cities. In other economies, both production and consumption suffer from a lack of credit. More to the point, mass expulsions of supposedly 'parasitic' middleman minorities have created shortages, higher prices, and rising interest rates, in a number of countries and in a number of periods in history. -- P. 83

A 'fair fight' is one in which both combatants observe the rules, regardless of whether that leads to a draw or a one sided battle. -- P. 9

correcting this injustice imposes another arbitrary cost on another innocent person, is that also an injustice? -- P. 28

Contrary to theories of 'exploitation,' most multinational corporations focus the bulk of their operations in countries where pay scales are high rather than in countries where pay scales are low. -- P. 42

Once again, the mundane reality is that productivity creates wealth, so that trade with and investment in more productive countries is a far more important source of wealth than 'exploitation' of the Third World, however elusive the term might be defined. -- P. 333

It is one thing to be bitter because one cannot feed one‘s children and something very different to be resentful because one cannot afford designer jeans or expensive watches that keep no better time than cheap watches. -- P. 27

For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not the distilled experiences of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before. -- P. 118

A slave in the United States in the mid-nineteenth century cost thirty times what he cost on the coast of Africa. American slave-owners were very reluctant to lose this kind of investment- so much so that they often hired Irish immigrants to do work considered too dangerous for slaves. -- P. 160

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

In a country without property rights, or with the food being owned 'by the people,' there was no given individual with sufficient incentives to ensure that this food did not spoil needlessly before it reached the consumers. -- P. 243

Contrary to the notion that deficits have resulted from tax receipts by the federal government, those receipts in fact reached new record highs during the Reagan administration...By the last year of the Reagan administration in1988, the federal government collected over $391 billion more than during any year of the Carter administration-in percentage terms, the government took in 76 percent more that year than it had ever collected in any year of any other administration. -- P. 83

Yet nothing has been more common in history than for victims to become oppressors when they gain power. -- P. 250

Innumerable subsequent studies of the self-esteem of black youngsters in integrated school settings have shown no general pattern of higher self-esteem. Some studies show less self-esteem, some show more, and other studies show mixed results. -- P. 64

The knowledge of how to build replacements is far more important than the physical things in which that knowledge is embodied at a given moment. So long as the human capital is not destroyed, the physical destruction can always be repaired or replaced. -- P. 336

Widespread personification of ‘society’ is another verbal tactic that evades issues of personal responsibility. Such use of the term ‘society’ is a more sophisticated version of the notion that ‘the devil made me do it.’ Like much of the rest of the special vocabulary of the anointed, it is used as a magic word to make choice, behavior, and performance vanish into thin air. — P. 199

One of the most heartening lesson of history is that poor and primitive peoples have, more than once, not only caught up with those more fortunate, but have even advanced to the forefront of human achievement. -- P. 334

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

Perfect students with perfect parents in a perfect society cannot learn things that they are not being taught- and that includes an increasing number of basic things in our public schools. -- P. 217

People sort themselves out residentially around the world, not only by race and ethnicity but also by income, education, lifestyle, and other characteristics. . . Observers who presuppose that a random distribution of people is desirable often see residential sorting as a 'problem' to be 'solved,' usually by governmental action. Often this view is accompanied by an assumption that housing segregation is irrational or can be an expression of prejudice or animosity toward another group. -- P. 104