Thomas Sowell is one of America’s leading voices on matters of race and ethnicity. In his book, Inside American Education, he surveyed the ills of American education from the primary grades to graduate school with “an impressive range of knowledge and acuity of observation”, according to the Wall Street Journal. Now, in his book Race and Culture, he asks the question: “What is it that allows certain groups to get ahead?” and the answer will undoubtedly create debates for years to come.
The thesis of Race and Culture is that productive skills are the key to understanding the economic advancement of particular racial or ethnic groups, as well as countries and civilizations - and that the spread of those skills, whether through migration or conquest, explains much of the advancement of the human race. Whether this body of skills, aptitudes, and disciplines is called “culture” or “human capital”, it explains far more than politics, prejudice, or genetics. Rather than draw on the experience of one country or one era of history, Race and Culture encompasses dozens of racial and ethnic groups, living in scores of countries around the world, over a period of centuries. Due to its breadth and scope, this study is able to test alternative theories empirically on a vast canvas in space and time. Its conclusions refute much, if not most, of what is currently believed about race and about cultures.
Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst, and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has been published in both academic journals and such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine, and Fortune, and he writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.
“For the better part of the last decade, Mr. Sowell’s books on race, economics, and markets have constituted a rare repository of insights on some of the most pressing social-science concerns of our times.” (
The Wall Street Journal)
“Sowell…draws on a worldwide range of examples and more than a decade of research in this intriguing exploration of the role of cultural attributes on group advancement…He tackles a host of issues: the costs and benefits of residential segregation; how affirmative action primarily helps better-off members of preferred groups; how prominent political leaders are not crucial to group success; how low-scoring groups on intelligence tests do their worst on abstract questions devoid of ‘cultural bias.’” ( Publishers Weekly)
“Thomas Sowell is a unique national resource. Almost alone among academic economists, he fulfills the true calling of the intellectual, which is to explain the world so that we can know how to save what we cherish—so that we have no excuse for ignorance.” ( Washington Times)
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