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Economic Facts and Fallacies Hardcover – January 1, 2008

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About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at a number of colleges and universities, including Cornell, University of California Los Angeles, and Amherst. He has published both scholarly and popular articles and books on economics, and is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Basic Books; First Edition edition (January 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0465003494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465003495
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (226 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thomas Sowell has taught economics at Cornell, UCLA, Amherst and other academic institutions, and his Basic Economics has been translated into six languages. He is currently a scholar in residence at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has published in both academic journals in such popular media as the Wall Street Journal, Forbes magazine and Fortune, and writes a syndicated column that appears in newspapers across the country.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

263 of 284 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Dean on January 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I got this book to check out Sowell's take on the "Vanishing Middle Class." In just a few paragraphs he is able to completely turn that notion on its head... and show why the oft repeated claim is jibberish. I now know this book will be an excellent resource for fighting commonly held economic fallacies. Yesterday I read the chapter on Men vs. Women pay. The commonly held belief is that women don't make as much as a man because of discrimination. While keeping an open minded view that discrimination could come in to play, Sowell delivers an extremely convincing alternative argument for the discrepancy in pay. This book really is an eye opener.
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300 of 332 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Chapin on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Economic Fallacies is the third book by Thomas Sowell I've read this year and it continues to illustrate why he is one of the most important conservatives in America today. His writing beams with scholarship and clarity. There are no wasted words and the work is an arsenal of information. These chapters should be read and reread as they thoroughly refute the positions of those who irrationally regard America as being a racist, sexist and corrupt state.

Sowell debunks the myth of female oppression by highlighting the way that statistics are jiggled in the hopes of morphing the USA into a patriarchy. Indeed, in my opinion, our nation is closer to being a matriarchy than it is anything else. The old 74 cent to the dollar feminist canard is refuted after he teases out the example of unmarried, childless women. They oftentimes are anything but oppressed. Indeed, in many cases they make even more money than their male age-mate peers. Much of the difference between the sexes, in terms of wage, is a result of personal choice. Women work fewer hours and are more likely to choose stability over cash when deciding on a career. Women also select less dangerous jobs than do men as indicated by the statistic he cites showing that 92 percent of those who die in job-related accidents are male.

In terms of class, all of us who ever have tried to debate the left comprehend the error in their perceptions--as does Sowell who eliminates their positions with ease. Unfortunately, it's a serious challenge to ever get them to come around as they would feel contaminated should they ever try to examine world events through the eyes of a conservative.
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Format: Hardcover
There is no end to the exposure of crackpot left-wing theorists in the media. Happening upon an appearance of a conservative economist like Thomas Sowell in the media, however, is extraordinary, which is the nation's loss.

Sowell is a prolific writer, but I doubt he reaches a fraction of the audience of a crank like Paul Krugman.

In this slim volume, Sowell exposes, refutes and debunks six of the major economic fallacies of our time:

1. Urban Facts and Fallacies
2. Male-Female Facts and Fallacies
3. Academic Facts and Fallacies
4. Income Facts and Fallacies
5. Racial Facts and Fallacies
6. Third World Facts and Fallacies

As you've probably noticed, these are six of the major flashpoint issues of our times - and Sowell knocks down the myths and lies the left-wing has worked so hard to spread.

For example, Sowell shows how elitists have made the most desirable areas of California unaffordable for all but the very rich through restrictive policies. This results in various hypocrisies, such as driving out poor blacks from places like San Francisco and also contributes to the fallacy of a lack of "affordable housing". The latter is not the fault of evil conservatives, but of very selfish left-wingers.

Sowell applies his truly formidable knowledge and scalpel-like logic to each of these six fallacies, slicing away the untruths and revealing that the United States is not a nation of massive inequalities, but is in fact still the land of opportunity.

As Sowell puts it so well, "[s]ome things are believed because they are demonstrably true. But many things are believed because they are consistent with a widely held vision of the world - and this vision is accepted as a substitute for facts." For those willing to learn, Sowell demolishes six major myths here. Would that there were more like Sowell - and those willing to learn from him.

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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Steven Shank on February 28, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Thomas Sowell sees people's world views as coming from some conceptual constructs which are often based on faulty premises and faulty thinking. He not only smashes lots of common notions, but tries to expose the ideas which lead people to accept those false ideas.

He does this in a fair and to a large part objective manner. So, for example, if he is looking at how discrimination factors into earnings differences between men and women, or blacks and whites he will examine many factors which contribute to those differences. Reasoning that if we can identify 3 or 4 other causes of earnings differences, and those factors account for some of the difference, then discrimination and other unidentified factors could only account for what is left.

He also exposes factors which make some the the statistics we normally see misleading. So, for example, if the average age of one group of people is 30 and another is 35 and a third is 43, then we would expect that their incomes would also be different, with the older groups making more money. This is what we see with Blacks (30), all Americans (35) and Japanese Americans (43). So at least some of the income differences are explained by age.

The book examines:
- Urban Facts and Fallacies where interesting facts about city planning come to light
- Male-Female Facts and Fallacies
- Academic
- Income
- Race
- Third World poverty

The book is jam packed with information, and insights. You are bound to have ideas you held to be true shown clearly to have overlooked important variables.

After reading this book, you will have a better understanding of the reality of these topics and the statistics used to support various views.
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