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 Thomas Sowell Quotes
101 Famous Quotes by Thomas Sowell
6/30/1930 - (Present)
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About Thomas Sowell

What is history but the story of how politicians have squandered the blood and treasure of the human race.

Politics / government Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The first lesson of economics is scarcity: There is never enough of anything to satisfy all those who want it.The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics.

Politics / government Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Neither "property" nor the value of property is a physical thing. Property is a set of defined options...It is that set of options which has economic value...It is the options, and not the physical things, which are the "property" - economically as well as legally...But because the public tends to think of property as tangible, physical things, this opens the way politically for government confiscation of property by forcibly taking away options while leaving the physical objects untouched.

Politics / government Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The desire of businessmen for profits is what drives prices down unless forcibly prevented from engaging in price competition, usually by governmental activity.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Price fixing does not represent simply windfall gains and losses to particular groups according to whether the price happens to be set higher or lower than it would be otherwise. It represents a net lose to the economy as a whole to the extent that many transactions do not take place at all, because the mutually acceptable possibilities have been reduced.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Since man does not create physical matter, those who handle material objects in the production process are not producers in that sense. Economic benefits result from the transformation of matter in form, location, or availability (intellectually or temporally). It is these transformations that create economic benefits valued by consumers, and whoever arranges such transformations contributes to the value of things, whether his hands actually come into contact with physical objects or not.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Perhaps the most widespread misunderstanding of economics is that it applies solely to financial transactions. Frequently this leads to statements that "there are noneconomic values" to consider. There are, of course, noneconomic values. Indeed, there are only noneconomic values. Economics is not a value itself but merely a method of trading off one value against another.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The principles applied in economic processes are general social principles.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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American prosperity and American free enterprise are both highly unusual in the world, and we should not overlook the possibility that the two are connected.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The growing complexity of science, technology, and organization does not imply either a growing knowledge or a growing need for knowledge in the general population. On the contrary, the increasingly complex processes tend to lead to increasingly simple and easily understood products. The genius of mass production is precisely in its making more products more accessible, both economically and intellectually to more people.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Prices are important not because money is considered paramount but because prices are a fast and effective conveyor of information through a vast society in which fragmented knowledge must be coordinated.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Many of the products which create a modern standard of living are only the physical incorporations of ideas- not only the ideas of an Edison or a Ford but the ideas of innumerable anonymous people who figure out the design of supermarkets, the location of gasoline stations, and the million mundane things on which our material well-being depends. Societies which have more people carrying out physical acts and fewer people supplying ideas do not have higher standards of living. Quite the contrary.

Finance and economics Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The more adaptability exists for a given kind of decision, the less risky it is to make plans for the future, and therefore the more likely it is that more people will make more plans in such areas.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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We should listen first and foremost to our own experience...We should stop looking for saviors... Society has not existed for thousands of years because it had a succession of saviors. It's existed because it has institutions and processes through which people can realize their own goals.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Ideas are everywhere, but knowledge is rare.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Ideas, as the raw material from which knowledge is produced, exist in superabundance, but that makes the production of knowledge more difficult rather than easier. Many ideas- probably most- will have to be discarded somewhere in the process of producing authenticated knowledge. Authentication is as important as the raw information itself, and the manner and speed of the authentication process can be crucial...

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Physicists have determined that even the most solid and heavy mass of matter we see is mostly empty space. But at the submicroscopic level, specks of matter scattered through a vast emptiness have such incredible density and weight, and are linked to one another by such powerful forces, that together they produce all the properties of concrete, cast iron and solid rock. In much the same way, specks of knowledge are scattered through a vast emptiness of ignorance, and everything depends upon how solid the individual specks of knowledge are, and on how powerfully linked and coordinated they are with one another.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Considering the enormous range of human knowledge, from intimate personal knowledge of specific individuals to the complexities of organizations and the subtleties of feelings, it is remarkable that one speck in this firmament should be the sole determinant of whether someone is considered knowledgeable or ignorant in general. Yet it is a fact of life that an unlettered person is considered ignorant, however much he may know about nature and man, and a Ph.D. is never considered ignorant, however barren his mind might be outside his narrow specialty and however little he grasps about human feeling or social complexities.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Civilization is an enormous device for economizing knowledge,.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The stricter standards and independent, often conclusive, evidence in the physical sciences cannot be generalized to intellectual activity as a whole, even though the aura of scientific processes and results is often appropriated by other intellectuals.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Knowledge can be enormously costly, and is often scattered in widely uneven fragments, too small to be individually usable in decision making. The communication and coordination of these scattered fragments of knowledge is one of the basic problems- perhaps the basic problem- of any society.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Social values in general are incrementally variable: neither safety, diversity, rational articulation, nor morality is categorically a "good thing" to have more of, without limits. All are subject to diminishing returns, and ultimately negative returns.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Implicit in the activist conception of government is the assumption that you can take the good things in a complex system for granted, and just improve the things that are not so good. What is lacking in this conception is any sense that a society, an institution, or even a single human being, is an intricate system of fragile inter-relationships, whose complexities are little understood and easily destabilized.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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Informal relationships are not mere minor interstitial supplements to the major institutions of society. These informal relationships not only include important decision-making processes, such as the family, but also produce much of the background social capital without which the other major institutions of society could not function nearly as effectively as they do.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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The most basic inherent constraint is that neither time nor wisdom are free goods available in unlimited quantity. This means that in social processes, as in economic processes, it is not only impossible to attain perfection but irrational to seek perfection- or even to seek the "best possible" result in each separate instance.

Psychological subjects Quotes, by Thomas Sowell

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