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Knowledge And Decisions Paperback – October 4, 1996
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''In a wholly original manner [Sowell] succeeds in translating abstract and theoretical argument into a highly concrete and realistic discussion of the central problems of contemporary economic policy.'' --F. A. Hayek --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes the most important decision to be made is WHO is to make a decision. The further away from the knowledge on which the decision must be based the "decider" is, the less informaiton he has and he is more likely to make an incorrect decision. This explains the folly of most regulation: generally speaking, regulators cannot know what it is they are regulating. Shocking as this might be, but it takes sometimes years - maybe decades - for one person to gain knowledge in some areas of patient treatment, but yet people in the FDA regulate the medical industry anyway with the total impossibility of them ever knowing even a fraction of a percentage of what they are regulating! Of course, this is not unique to the medical field, but applies to all fields - regulators are too far away from the correct KNOWLEDGE to make some types of decisions. This fact of knowledge is inescapable, permanent, and nobody can change it.
Sowell also shows the effects of insurgent movements on social policy and how the movements still exist long after they have outlived their usefulness - beyond their point of diminishing returns. He also shows how the courts really screwed up the judicial system by crusading for social causes instead of interpreting the constitution.Read more ›
Kudos to Sowell for using the very accurate idea of *social behavior* as a basis for explaining intergroup difference (rather than something so tenuous as IQ), and the separation of the actions of specific agencies from "society." Most writers do not bother to clearly delimit their operational terms and working notions. Also particularly clever was his observation of how institutions work as a matter of *self-interest* and create problems because it is in their best interest to have these problems.
The book must be read LINE by LINE. When he uses some of his very abstract statements to characterize a social process it is often NOT filled in with details. A theme that appears in many of his books is: "If it has happened once, it will happen again independent of settings." While you go through and read some of his statments, you will have to think back through your experiences of life and see if you have seen the same situation. And THAT is what makes this book take such a long time to read--expect it to take a month if read properly.
The index is excellent and I found it particularly useful for referencing subjects like black IQ research and things like that. Well researched if nothing else, and it goes a LONG way in explaining current situations by extrapolations of things in the book itself.
Perhaps it could have been made just a bit easier to read. Again: this is NOT light reading, and while it is chock full of information, it is WAY over the heads of most people.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thomas Sowell is always brilliant and this is one of his best and most in-depth works.Published 2 months ago by john cox
This came in pretty good condition. There was a sticker that was half removed that shows where this book was purchased and at which price it was purchased, which kind of made me... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Diana
Written with a little more complexity than I have previously experienced from Dr. Sowell, this is not a "basic" book. Read morePublished 6 months ago by William Reed
Sowell's vocabulary and his ideas are tremendous, but this book is mainly a cure for insomnia.
I found that at least one of his more recent works is more readable. Read more
An amazing book. It clarifies many confusing elements of life in modern society. It changed my perceptions of conservative vs liberal philosophies.Published 22 months ago by David Stewart
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to understand the reason stated political and social intentions somehow never come to pass. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Amazon Customer
Thomas Sowell is extremely polished and intellectual reading runs smoothly, enjoyable, and understandable. I look forward to reading more Sowell...Published 23 months ago by J. Parker