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posted on 13 September 2016

Documentary Of The Week: Thomas Sowell On Basic Economics Without Math And Graphs

Written by John Lounsbury

In this Hoover Institution interview of the iconic economist, Thomas Sowell, the professor mixes a reasonable summary of economic history with a view of what happened based on his view of economic theory without use of readily available data.


This interview was recorded on 03 January 2011.

There are some blatantly incorrect numbers in the interview. One example: The interviewer refers to the population of China as 14x that of the U.S. Sowell doesn't react. This may be because he is a self-professed thinker who does not use equations or graphs. Apparently numbers that are off by a factor greater than 3 cause him no alarm. (The population of China is approximately 4x that of the U.S.) He is proud that his 627 page textbook "Basic Economics" contains no graphs or equations. We would like to presume there are tables of data? However, looking through all the sample pages (more than 100) availbale on we found no data tables at all - so maybe there are no tables.

Our suggestion is that Sowell's approach to economics is similar to accounting without bookkeeping ledgers: superficial and "unaccountable".

We suggest you take make a note of everything Prof. Sowell says in this interview which can be contradicted by historical data.

From the YouTube summary:

Thomas Sowell has studied and taught economics, intellectual history, and social policy at institutions that include Cornell University, UCLA, and Amherst College. Now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Sowell has published more than a dozen books, the latest of which is a revised and updated edition of his classic volume, Basic Economics.

"Through its various editions," Sowell writes, "the fundamental idea behind Basic Economics remains the same: Learning economics should be as uncomplicated as it is informative." Here, Sowell seeks to uncomplicate some of the economic issues confronting the country today, from the financial crisis and the role of the Fed to the economics of health care and trade imbalances.

Source: YouTube

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