A biography of Professor Thomas Sowell has just come out in the United States. It coincides with his 90th birthday and is a pedestrian, but he has a great life.
Sowell was born in a home that had no running water or electricity and was raised by a great-aunt in New York’s Harlem. He grated on poverty and enlisted in the Marine Corps. In his youth he could not sit at white tables in restaurants and he was a Marxist. He graduated from Harvard at age 28 and ten years later received his doctorate from the University of Chicago, under the wing of economists Milton Friedman and George Stigler. Both recommended him for a scholarship on the grounds that he was a socialist, “but too smart to stay that way for long.”
Right in the bull’s-eye. Sowell has become something of a Third Hour Dog of political and economic conservatism. It disputes the effectiveness of affirmative policies, from quotas to incentives to diversity. In his opinion, the election of Joe Biden could represent the beginning of the decay of the American Empire.
Sowell’s migration was twofold. In one was respect for numbers: “When you realize the importance of facts, the game is different”. In another, it was out of power. No wonder the biography is called “Maverick”, something like “dissident” in a neutral translation, or “mad fuck” in an evil version. After all, a black out of poverty shouldn’t be conservative, much less intransigent.
Milton Friedman was brave enough to say that “the word ‘genius’ has been so squandered that it has lost its meaning, but I think Tom Sowell is close to being one of them.”
With 36 published books and hundreds of articles, Sowell is renowned for the clarity of his reasoning. An example, taken from his analysis of the collapse of the economies of the late socialist world: “The system had an inherent knowledge problem. In a nutshell: those who had power had no knowledge and those who had knowledge had no power.”
This diagnosis is valid for the environment where Paulo Guedes got into.
LINK PRESENT: Did you like this column? Subscriber can release five free hits of any link per day. Just click on the blue F below.