Wealth, Poverty and Politics: A Discussion with Dr. Thomas Sowell

One of the problems we face in the public square is that “argument” consists largely of assertions without regard to facts, evidence, or logic. It is commonly assumed, for instance, that differences in outcomes result from unequal treatment, and that were it not for unequal treatment differentiation in outcomes would be essentially non-existent. Things like taste, interest, ability, discipline, industriousness and even biology are mere social constructs that reflect the preferences of an oppressive class hierarchy. 

There is a further underlying assumption that were it not for this oppressive class system, otherwise known as capitalism, poverty could be eliminated and the wants and needs of people could be fulfilled. (Note: material poverty has been largely eliminated in the West by…capitalism).  

The common thread in all this is the assumption that wealth and income derive from external resources rather than from the development of human capital; that wealth should be distributed rather than created and earned. Most importantly, it assumes that wealth is the default position of mankind.

It isn’t. The default position of mankind is existence under conditions of poverty and scarcity. The reason why the West lives in abundance is because over the centuries it has created institutions that protect property rights, individual agency and the rule of law, all of which are necessary preconditions for liberal market capitalism. 

Dr. Thomas Sowell, a pre-eminent economist with the Hoover Institution, discusses wealth, poverty and politics in a wide ranging interview with Peter Robinson in the video below. 

JFB

Dr. Thomas Sowell

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Joe Benning