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Economic Facts and Fallacies Hardcover – January 1, 2008

4.6 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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 (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #145,364 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book by Thomas Sowell that I read, and overall, I wasn't disappointed. However, although a decent read, I found a few of Sowell's facts to be dubious. In Chapter 5, Sowell discusses the common fallacy that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. And that, in general, the middle class in the U.S. is getting smaller and smaller. Most of Sowell's arguments in this chapter are rather compelling, however, some arguments are very questionable. For example, Sowell states that, "Another inflationary bias to the consumer price index is that it counts only those things that most people are likely to buy. Reasonable as that might seem, what people will buy obviously depends on the price...". In other words, Sowell argues that the CPI overstates inflation, and therefore, real income should be higher. There are a few flaws with his reasoning. First, the most common inflation price index is core inflation, which excludes food and energy. Thus, since energy and food are a vital part of everyone's daily life, price increases (such as is happening these days) can greatly reduce the quality of life of people since a larger part of their income will be spent on food and energy.

Second, since the government changed the CPI's methodology during the years, it's highly problematic to compare the current CPI to the CPI that was used before the 1980's. Moreover, if applying the older method of the CPI to measure current inflation, inflation would be much higher. Therefore, one can argue that real income should be lower than what Sowell claims it is.
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