Thomas Sowell: The Economics And Politics Of Race

I saw the video below on  economicpolicyjournal.com, and it reminded that nobody writes more clearly about race and culture than Thomas Sowell. His book, The Economics and Politics of Race, was written in 1983. I read this book after I had read Race And Culture, Migration and Culture, and Conquests and Cultures, which make up his three book cultural trilogy which was written in 94, 96, and 98 respectively. As much as I liked the cultural trilogy, I think I liked The Economics and Politics Of Race better, although the fact that I read the other books first may have had something to do with it. What I took away from the book is that some cultures are superior to other cultures, in specific areas, at specific times in history. And even though past cultural tendencies seem to follow and influence ethnic groups over time, superiority and inferiority are always subject to change.

Here are some excerpts from the book.

“The human race has, throughout history, differed greatly in its component parts. At various periods of history, some groups have been far ahead of others in military power, scientific achievements, or organizational skills. But often those who were far behind in one era became far ahead in another era. The Chinese, for example, had a huge and complex empire thousands of years ago, when Nordic Europe was living a primitive, tribal existence. It has been only the past two or three centuries that their roles have been reversed…..The Arabs conquered parts of Europe in the Middle Ages but have suffered conquest by Europeans in more recent times.”

“Virtually every portion of the human species excels at something. From an economic point or view, this means the mutual benefits can result from cooperation among different racial and ethnic groups, whether through domestic markets, international trade, or the migration of peoples. From a Political point of view, however, it is very difficult to get acceptance of these intergroup differences and their beneficial economic consequences. The conflict between the economic consequences and the political consequences of these group differences is one that appears again and again…..”

In this video Thomas Sowell discusses his book, The Economics and Politics Of Race, on the TV show, Tony Brown’s Journal.

 

Here are some excerpts from the book.

“History is a treasure of experience, available without paying the high price often inflicted on those who lived through it. But history is not free, however. It conflicts painfully with many cherished beliefs and shatters many carefully built theories. At best it is untidy and complex, and often it is a battleground for those with differing visions of the world today. Yet history remains a massive fact and a massive influence on out lives: “We do not live in the past, but the past in us”.”

“To seek to look ahead into the future is to seek to understand the momentum of the past and the choices available to us in the present. We live in a world of options constrained by decisions already made and actions already taken – as well as constrained by mutually competitive and perhaps irreconcilable goals among contemporaries.”

“The history of racial and ethnic groups around the world is a story of the heights and depths of the human spirit – the glory of its perseverance in the face of every kind of adversity and the vileness of its brutality against the helpless. Whether the future brings great advancements or succumbs to wretched agonies, it will have ample precedents. How well we understand the past can be an important factor in decisions to shape that future.’

THOMAS SOWELL QUOTE“Each group tends to trail the long shadow of its own cultural history as well as reflecting the consequences of external influences”.

 

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