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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Thomas Sowell Returns

By: Thomas Winslow Hazlett
Reason


One of America's top social scientists on what has changed since he sat down with Reason 38 years ago.

Thirty-eight years ago, Reason contributor Thomas Hazlett and Senior Editor Manny Klausner sat down with University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) economist and social scientist Thomas Sowell for a sprawling interview about race, gender, poverty, economics, and what he viewed as the government's many failed and misguided attempts to lift up poor minorities. Sowell talked about his history as a Marxist, his frustrations with working in government, and why he rejects the label "libertarian," preferring instead to describe himself as "a person who dissents from the current liberal orthodoxy."

That interview occurred not long after the publication of one of Sowell's most influential and widely read books, Knowledge and Decisions, which resulted in The New York Times labeling him "America's most distinguished black social scientist."

In the years since, his fame and influence have only expanded. He has written dozens of books, including the much-lauded Basic Economics: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy; served as a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution; and been presented with the Francis Boyer Award by the American Enterprise Institute, the Sidney Hook Award by the National Association of Scholars, and, in 2002, the National Humanities Award for his work in economics and political science. He remains one of America's most distinguished social scientists, period.

In July, Sowell once again sat down with Hazlett to discuss his life and career, the consequences of fame, the surprising similarities between Presidents Trump and Obama, how Reason helped inspire his work, and why—despite the generally positive trajectory of the world over the last four decades—he remains somewhat pessimistic about its current state.

Read more at Reason.

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