Stanford economist debunks in ‘Economic Facts’

Comment by Jim Campbell, Citizen Journalist

Ever wish you could have graduated from Harvard or Yale? Economist Thomas Sowell explains why that could be foolish and debunks dozens of other, often political fallacies about race, gender, academia, the third world and urban life.

By Dallin Kimble

What would you say if it was discovered your town’s rent control law actually created more homeless people? Or that income differences between men and women were almost never the result of discrimination. How would you react? How surprising would it be to learn your child has a better chance of getting a high-powered doctorate if he studied first at Cal Tech instead of Harvard?

Conservative economist and University of Stanford professor Thomas Sowell takes on these and other issues of race, gender, academia, income, the third world and urban life in the second edition of “Economic Facts and Fallicies.” Armed with historical facts, imperical economics, plain logic and lots of reputable statistics, Sowell attempts to “reveal fallacies that have had harmful effects on the well-being of millions of people in countries around the world.”

These revelations, according to Sowell’s vision for the book, could “open up many unsuspected opportunities for higher standards of living for whole nations.”

Whatever its ultimate destiny among the nations of the world, “Economic Facts and Fallicies” contains persuasive evidence that many commonly held beliefs, especially in modern politics, simply cannot withstand the scrutiny of hard facts. Though technical at times, Sowell successfully addresses the tough issues, like why lenders loan more money to white people and how to help the poor prosper, often with surprising, “Freakonomics”-like results. Most refreshing of all is discovering that for each widespread fallacy Sowell disproves, he carefully replaces them with economically sound solutions.

An excellent read for those with a basic understanding of statistics, those who learn to distinguish fact from fallacy in this book are sure to be more perceptive members of society and more enlightened citizens and voters. And who knows? Maybe one day “Economic Facts and Fallacies” will open opportunities for the nations of the world.

Dallin Kimble is a graduate student of public administration at Arizona State University. He lives with his wife and son in the Mesa, Ariz., area.

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