cover image Economic Facts and Fallacies

Economic Facts and Fallacies

Thomas Sowell, . . Basic, $26 (262pp) ISBN 978-0-465-00349-5

The heart of the matter for Thomas Sowell (Basic Economics ) is to ask, “What are the facts?” In his latest book, economist Sowell examines numerous misconceptions about life and economics. Sowell writes like an exacting scholar, but his arguments, which rely on economic analyses primarily, may suffer from oversimplification. Sowell argues that zoning restrictions and rent-control policies hurt those whom they’re meant to help; intones that women earn less than men because they are far less likely than men to choose occupations that require very long hours; believes tenure helps neither students nor professors; demonstrates that even the poor have successfully moved up economically; tackles fallacies about race in America; and aims to convince that “there is nothing baffling or morally wrong about the fact that different nations have different per capita incomes.” He falters in his chapter on the academy, when he becomes an advocate rather than an observer, and oddly neglects the individual choice available to students. Sowell’s purpose is to teach readers to “examine [their] beliefs more closely and more analytically,” and the conclusions he draws are certain to inspire rigorous debate. This readable volume is a useful primer exposing how economics relates to the social issues that affect our country. (Jan.)