Wealth, Poverty and Politics

Wealth, Poverty and Politics

by Thomas Sowell

Hardcover(Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged Edition)

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A revised and enlarged edition of Thomas Sowell's essential examination of differences of wealth and income between nations and within nations

Wealth, Poverty and Politics challenges the assumptions, the definitions, the evidence and the reasoning of most of what is said about differences of income and wealth by people in the media, in academia and in politics. After an extensive examination of factors behind the economic differences between nations and within nations — including geographic, demographic, cultural and political factors — the last section of the book is a searching critique of leading income redistributionists, from John Rawls to Thomas Piketty and Nobel laureates in economics Paul Krugman, Angus Deaton and Joseph Stiglitz.

Among the more heartening findings from history are the individuals, groups and nations that have risen from poverty and backwardness to prosperity and achievements on the frontiers of human progress. Among the more painful findings are counterproductive creeds and policies that have needlessly prolonged poverty and dependency among lagging groups in countries around the world, and whipped up resentments — and sometimes violence — against more productive and successful minorities in many places and times.

Although Wealth, Poverty and Politics offers many new analyses and insights, it is essentially a fact-based study which subjects many beliefs, from various parts of the ideological spectrum, to the ultimate test of empirical evidence. These challenged beliefs about the causes of economic differences range from genetic determinism to exploitation and discrimination. In each case, the analysis follows where the facts lead, whether that is verification, refutation or some combination of the two. Its guiding principle is expressed in a quotation from the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan that opens the final section of the book: "You're entitled to your own opinions, but you're not entitled to your own facts."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780465096763
Publisher: Basic Books
Publication date: 09/06/2016
Edition description: Second Edition, Revised and Enlarged Edition
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 183,880
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.30(h) x 2.00(d)

About the Author

Thomas Sowell is a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is the author of dozens of books and the recipient of various awards, including the National Humanities Medal, presented by the President of the United States in 2003.

Table of Contents

1. Issues
2. Geographic Factors
3. Cultural Factors
4. Social Factors
5. Political Factors
6. Implications and Prospects

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Wealth, Poverty, and Politics 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
jmgallen 29 days ago
I decided to take a break from my usual history and biography so I delved into “Wealth, Poverty and Politics”. I was familiar with Sowell’s writing from other books so I gave this one a try. I am very pleased that I did. In this work Sowell examines why some places and peoples have economic success and others failure and draws conclusions as to the reasons. He dissects explanations proposed by economists, social scientists and activists. He goes through location, soil, available transportation, genetics, social attitudes and expectations and interaction among peoples to name a few. I found some of his observations to be interesting. He found that the claim that diversity is crucial to success is flawed and, in fact, some of the most diverse organizations and communities are among the most strife-torn and unsuccessful. He explores why immigrant groups often out perform native populations who have as much or more going for them. He blames the “ghetto culture” for the decline of black communities in recent decades. Sowell draws on data and facts to support his conclusions. The writing is a little dry, as is almost required with economic treatises but the author inserts enough thought and conclusions to keep the reader from getting bogged down. This tome will encourage readers to rethink policy recommendations that they have frequently heard and reassess stereotypes that often stand in the way of clear understandings of societies.