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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

An interview with Thomas Sowell

John Hawkins has a great interview up with economist Thomas Sowell about Sowell's new book, Economic Facts and Fallacies. Here are a couple of examples:
We've frequently heard, and will hear much more I am sure if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, that women make 76 cents for every dollar a man makes. Can you give us a basic rundown of why that discrepancy exists?

There are lots of reasons. Men and women do not work the same number of hours. They do not work in the same occupations. They do not work continuously the same, and so on.

You know, if it was really true that you could hire a woman for three quarters of what you could hire a man with exactly the same qualifications, then employers would be crazy not to hire all women. It would be insane to hire men. Not only would it be insane, it would probably put them out of the business because the ones that were smart enough to hire women would have such a cost advantage that it would be really hard for the others to compete.

There are lots of gross differences between men and women and other groups and some of them shocked me when I first started doing the research. For example, I found that young, male doctors make considerably more than young, female doctors. But, when I dug into it a little deeper, I discovered that young, male doctors work an average of 500 hours a year more than young, female doctors. Obviously, a doctor that works 500 extra hours is going to make more money than the other doctor.

....Another point you made in the book was that slavery doesn't adequately account for the break up for the black family and black-on-black crime. Can you tell us why that's the case?

Oh yes, because the studies have been done showing that in fact, most black children were raised in two parent families even under slavery itself. In fact, all the way through, until the middle of the twentieth century.

So, I think there's no greater indictment of the welfare state than the fact that the black family held together through centuries of slavery and discrimination, but fell apart in the liberal welfare state.
Read the rest. I think a lot of politicians would benefit from getting a tutorial from Thomas Sowell.

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